First, congratulations to the United States women’s national soccer team on their success in the Women’s World Cup. Their performance throughout the entire tournament, and especially in the Final, were truly historic. President Obama said it best when he stated that the team took the suspense out of the final match with their early domination.
The win captivated much of the United States, with viewership numbers similar to the numbers from the first two College Football Playoff games. Also, the final match was the most watched soccer game in United States history. It truly is astonishing how the United States can rally behind a team competing to be labeled world champions.
But that support is often short lived. Despite their success and popularity during the World Cup, many of the women on the national team will not be heard from again until the next World Cup.
Prior to the Women’s World Cup, I did not know that there was a professional women’s soccer league in the United States. The league began in 2013 and currently has nine teams throughout the country. It is never mentioned on any media outlet, and is not highly promoted. Will the popularity that many young American soccer players gained during the World Cup result in an increase in popularity for the National Women’s Soccer League? The league may experience a short-term spike in support in the next few weeks, but they should not count on an increase in long-term support.
FOX Sports, the station that covered most of the Women’s World Cup, announced that it had reached an agreement with the NWSL to televise ten matches during this season. Three regular season games, the three playoff games, and four additional games only through the FOX Sports GO app. This is a step towards becoming relevant for the NWSL, but it is a far-cry from being considered a big deal.
As many Americans discovered during the Women’s World Cup, a large portion of viewers in the United States do not currently have Fox Sports. It is unlikely that a large number of fans will go so far as to expand their television coverage to include FOX Sports, just to watch ten NWSL games.
The NWSL should take advantage of the United States’ victory in the Women’s World Cup in any way possible to gain exposure. The league needs the stars from the national team to become advocates for the newly-established league.