If your house was anything like mine on Sunday night, you were sitting in front of the television at 7 p.m. watching the Women’s World Cup final. The FOX network averaged a stunning 25.4 million viewers, making it the most-viewed soccer match ever in the United States by a huge margin. The previously most-viewed soccer match in the U.S. came in June 2014 when 24.7 million combined viewers watched ESPN’s and Univision’s World Cup telecasts of the USA-Portugal men’s match. Wow! It would seem America loves the USA women’s national team. My family certainly does.
Monday afternoon, while listening to Sports Talk Radio, I was reminded that not everyone loves soccer, or women’s sports. I was appalled by the sports radio personality and by his callers bashing the sport of soccer and especially bashing women’s soccer. Clearly my family and I were not the target audience, and we quickly changed radio stations. I would however like to say a few things to the radio personality and his callers…
- SHAME on you all if any of you is a father (or stepfather, or uncle, or coach) to girls! What message are your words sending to those little ears in your life?
- National pride is not the only reason to watch the World Cup, but it is a damn good one (I really don’t understand why anyone felt this was a negative).
- Regardless of your feelings on the sport, the athletes competing in the World Cup are elite competitors. They are athletes representing our country.
- Yes, Game 7 of the 2014 World Series had more viewers than the Women’s World Cup Final, but the Women’s World Cup Final had more viewers than the 2015 NBA Finals (Game 6 had 15.9 viewers) and more than the Stanley Cup (averaged 7.6 million viewers).
- Just because you like baseball does not mean you can’t like soccer too.
The fact that the 2015 Women’s World Cup just became the most-watched soccer event in USA television history is a big “eff you” to the nay sayers who think they are in the majority broadcasting that America doesn’t care about either women’s sports or soccer. Many will continue to comment the ratings reflect only a one-off interest and do not indicate the soccer or women’s sport revolution. They might be correct, but I beg to differ. I don’t have girls. I have two boys – they play organized sports of baseball and basketball, they take golf lessons, they run 5K races, and yes, they play organized soccer. We watched the Women’s World Cup matches, we cheered during games, we recorded games so that the boys could watch them at a reasonable hour, and we celebrated the USA victory over Japan. We are proud Americans, and we are woman’s soccer fans. Don’t even try to tell my 8 year-old boy that he isn’t a fan of either. He’ll give you an earful to convince you that he most definitely is a rabid fan of both!
USA! USA! USA!