Excitement around U.S. Women’s World Cup Win Proves a Point

by Donna Orender



SoccerSports Illustrated writer Andy Benoit recently tweeted that “women’s sports weren’t worth watching.” It’s not something that I haven’t heard a multitude of times as an athlete and as a sports executive. What was particularly wonderful this time was the incredible response it generated, including  Amy Poehler and Seth Myers’ video that put Andy on the defensive.

It was so great to see the wide spread celebration and support for the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team who won the World Cup Championship in a dramatic and convincing fashion. The ticker tape parade for me was a dream that I wished could happen…it did! And, what puts Mr. Benoit even more in his place is that viewership peaked at nearly 27 million viewers as the match progressed. This was the most watched television soccer match in the history of the U.S.A. In context, the 6th game of this year’s NBA Finals, with the magic of Stephen Curry, drew 18.9 million viewers – and that was a record setter for ABC and the NBA. The conversation quickly turned to compensation and it adds fuel to the ongoing data that highlights the lack of gender pay equality across the board, but especially in sports. The U.S. Women’s soccer team will earn $2 million dollars from FIFA for its win. That is in sharp contrast to the German Men’s team, who were paid $33 million MORE for their championship performance.

The sports marketplace that purchases sponsorships and tickets and provides the revenue pool for these events has paid huge sums to be involved with the Men’s World Cup over a long period of time. Perhaps this year, with the numbers that the women were able to achieve both on and off the field, we will see stronger results to their sales pitch moving forward. I know I am certainly rooting for a big win in that game, a game we all get to influence by supporting our favorite female athletes and their efforts at every stage of their competitive lives. If we want to level the playing field, then let’s do so with our ability to be active fans, by buying tickets, watching on TV, and supporting the products that support fantastic, accomplished, strong and exciting women athletes. They are our daughters and our friends and our future leaders!

Hope everyone is having a great sumer…our golf event will be at the end of August…only qualification is the desire to have some fun!




image courtesy of Flickr CC/Jeremy Wilburn