In a capitalist society like ours, a good idea is to always follow the money. Broadcasting companies make money by selling airtime to advertisers. The more eyeballs that watch, the more money advertisers will be willing to pay and the more money the TV station will make (Arango). So the TV stations’ goal is to air whatever will attract the most viewers.
In the past, TV executives haven’t considered the Women’s World Cup to be captivating enough to put on television. Perhaps due to the slower pace of the game or perceived lower quality of football, networks and advertisers have apparently assumed that the Women’s World Cup would garner lower ratings which is why it has never been aired save for a select few games (Faulconer).
This year’s Women’s World Cup, however, is coinciding with a boom in sports coverage. Between the 2011 Women’s World Cup and today, several networks have introduced their own sports-only channel including CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports, and Fox Sports 1 (Finn). This rapid expansion has opened the door for sports that have historically been denied access to lucrative television deals. For the first time in the history of the tournament, all Women’s World Cup games will be broadcast on network television.
The lack of popularity is a classic chicken-and-egg paradox. Women’s soccer isn’t popular because there is very little of it in the media. But there is very little women’s soccer in the media because it isn’t popular. Success alone hasn’t been enough to break this cycle, but there is hope that one day soon the USWNT will be considered equal, at least in terms of watchability, as the USMNT. Fox Sports’ televising of every single Women’s World Cup game could be the necessary boost to show the world that the women of soccer deserve just as much attention, if not more, than the men.
Arango, Tim. “Broadcast TV Faces Struggle to Stay Viable.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 Feb. 2009. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.
Faulconer, Matt. “Women’s World Cup 2011: TV Ratings Are Huge Disappointment in United States.” Bleacher Report. N.p., 10 July 2011. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.
Finn, Chad. “NBC, CBS Cable Sports Networks Try to Cut into ESPN’s Audience – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com. N.p., 28 Dec. 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.
Written by: Jake Toffler