By Leah Ling
Video coverage and media appearances are powerful tools that athletes in every discipline leverage to gain publicity for their teams. Videos can provide fans with a unique behind-the-scenes experience to bring them closer to the athletes that they idolize. Media appearances help athletes market themselves and their teams beyond the playing field. During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, U.S. Soccer produced the Studio 90 Extra Time web series to chronicle the USWNT’s experience on and off the field . Through pre-game and post-game interviews with a couple of players at a time, the video series brought fans directly into the action and drama of the Olympics. The videos were a vital resource to keep fans engaged for the duration of the team’s journey in the Olympics, demonstrated by the average view count of 70,000 views.
Prior to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, Nike Soccer produced a Pressure Makes Us video series and released episodes during the tournament . This series differs from the Studio 90 Extra Time in that it mostly consists of footage from training sessions and post-training session player interviews. While the fact that Nike is a sponsor of U.S. Soccer cannot be overlooked, these videos had a high production value and garnered between 40,000-600,000 views per video.
Will there be a comparable web video series for the USWNT for the 2015 Women’s World Cup? The answer to the question is ultimately yes, although it is not clear if there will be a dedicated web series as there has been in past years. Fox Sports has signed on to broadcast all of the Women’s World Cup games between its different stations, and combine this coverage with “pregame, postgame, and complementary programming” . Bonus programming in addition to game broadcasts will result in there being six to seven hours of coverage for every day of the month long tournament. This will no doubt provide both women’s soccer and the USWNT with an unprecedented amount of screen time in the U.S. However, it is possible that the pregame and postgame coverage, along with complementary programming, will only take place on television and in studio. Hopefully Fox Sports will also create a web series, as it is a unique way of reaching more fans, not to mention a web series will provide fans with a way to share the team’s journey via social media platforms.
Members of the USWNT have been active in a number of media appearances in the months leading up to the Women’s World Cup this summer. Abby Wambach, Christine Rampone, and Kelley O’Hara were the honorary starters for this year’s Daytona 500 . This not only gave them exposure on a widely televised event, but it also introduced NASCAR fans to the USWNT.
Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe recently did a guest appearance on The Ultimate Fighter, a reality television series and mixed martial arts competition produced by Fox Sports 1 . During the brief segment, Leroux and Rapinoe discuss what it is like to be a professional female athlete with the UFC fighters, and then the UFC women give Leroux and Rapinoe a short MMA lesson.
 Studio 90 Extra Time: Tobin Heath. U.S. Soccer. July 20, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edeyex1Hkao
 Pressure Makes Us: Hope Solo. Nike Soccer. July 1, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc1rW8Wp4ks
 FOX Sports makes unprecedented broadcast commitment to FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015. FOX Soccer. December 16, 2014. http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/fox-sports-makes-unprecedented-broadcast-commitment-to-fifa-women-s-world-cup-2015-121614
 Wambach named Daytona 500 starter. ESPN. February 15, 2015. http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/12329609/abby-wambach-serve-honorary-starter-daytona-500
 Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe visit The Ultimate Fighter. The Ultimate Fighter. November 5, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci-apKIzssc
How to cite: “USWNT Videos and Appearances,” Written by Leah Ling (2015), World Cup 2015, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/world-cup-guides/world-cup-2015-guide/uswnt-videos-and-appearances/ (accessed on (date)).