Ok, US Soccer let’s have a chat. It seems you’re moderately excited about the upcoming Women’s National Team game this Sunday against China in Philadelphia. Sorry, but I really can’t in good faith, use a better adjective than “moderately” when describing your excitement level. If I’m wrong, please correct me. But furthermore, if I’m wrong; please prove it and act like it.
I am always willing to give an organization the benefit of the doubt when I know that there are many different aspects that I am unaware of. I don’t work for US Soccer, I’m just a comedy writer who is a well educated fan of the game who speaks bluntly and wants some freaking answers. (To be politically correct)
The upcoming WNT game vs China is not going to be televised. Fine. It’s a friendly, it’s not a current rivalry, it’s not on at 4am; which seems to be the only time of day ESPN likes to acknowledge that women’s soccer exists. As much as I would love for every game (no matter how important or unimportant) to be televised; I don’t live in an idealist’s fairy tale land where everything is fair and everything is made of candy. I understand it comes down to money. So that’s fine that it won’t be televised, for now. I still truly believe women’s soccer can one day be a major money maker in this country, but I also understand right now we are still growing.
So here is my question to US Soccer:
If we want the sport to grow and gain more viewers and sponsors…how exactly will we do that if there is no way to watch games half of the time?
Oh, I know! I’ll hop into that idealist’s world with trees made of candy and I’ll pull people who have never seen a game before out of thin air and turn them into sponsors and fans! Then while I’m at it: I’ll turn all mean people into bunnies and solve world peace by singing smooth adult contemporary songs about friendship to all warring nations!
Oh wait…you mean that all sounds farfetched and unrealistic?
After my exaggerated rant, all I am trying to ask is, “How is a sport expected to grow if no one can see it?” If it is too much money and they don’t think they will have the viewers and sponsors to get in on TV, then why no live stream? It’s cheaper and it’s easier. I know of at least a couple W League teams that are live streaming their regular season home games this year. If W League teams can afford it, how is US Soccer denying us of one? That’s like Taylor Swift saying something is too expensive while the transient who lives under the bridge swoops in and buys it instead. (Sorry, W League; I’m not trying to call you a bum. I love you. Please forgive me. xoxo, Amy)
If money is not the issue for a live stream and it has to do with something like copy writing issues or whatever it may be; at least tell us. Because now, instead of a large group of disappointed, but understanding fans; you have a large group of pissed off fans that are going to relentlessly hassle you and bash your good name out of anger. Everyone will either assume US Soccer is not willing to spend money on the women or they will draw their own mislead conclusions. Either way; they will be mad and most likely ill informed due to lack of information coming from the horse’s mouth.
I truly believe that US Soccer wants the women’s team to succeed. I am in no way saying they don’t support them or don’t want them to be televised and make money. Of course they want them to make money. But for some reason they still tend to neglect certain things on the women’s side which hinders their ability to grow. So prove us wrong, US Soccer. Show us you can be more than moderately excited about a women’s game, and not just men’s games. I love both teams; men and women. But have always been a much, much bigger women’s fan. It just blows my mind that the women can be ranked #1 in the world, be going to the Olympics this year and be coming off of a 2nd place finish in last year’s World Cup and they still cannot get half the attention of the men’s team. (Which is not even ranked in the top 25, is not going to the Olympics and didn’t place in their last World Cup.) I understand the competition levels are completely different, but it’s astonishing to me that we would not want to be proud of our women’s team for the superb record they have held for years and show them off a bit. If you got it, flaunt it, girl.
Women’s soccer has come a very, very long way in the US in the past 20 years. The strides that they have made are huge, and I am not unaware of that or ungrateful for that. But is it too much to ask for progress moving faster than a snail’s pace? Don’t we owe it to ground breaking legends in women’s soccer like Michelle Akers, Kristine Lilly and Mia Hamm to continue the legacy and keep building on the strides they made? We have a top ranked team which is extremely marketable. Hope Solo was on the list of the 50 Most Marketable Athletes of 2012. (Ummm, hello dumb dumbs. What more do you want?) Ask 100 people who Alex Morgan or Hope Solo is and I bet 90 of them could tell you. Then ask those 90 when their next game is, I bet 10 of them could tell you. If they know who these women are, but don’t know where or how to watch them; how are we ever supposed to expect more fans? If US Soccer is not even willing to stream all domestic games as a minimum for now, we can expect Snooki’s grand-kids to be gearing up for season 47 of Jersey Shore before we consistently see women’s games aired on TV.
These are just opinions from a fan. I just want answers at the end of the day. Why is a live stream not a given for all domestic games? Why are they not capitalizing on an Olympic year with a team filled with marketable players? Why does everyone and their mother’s dog know who Hope Solo is, but can’t watch her play? And do those dogs have a hard time watching soccer deciphering between red and yellow cards due to their color blindness?
All important questions…maybe some more than others.
I’d love answers, but even more I’d love to be able to watch the best team in the world of women’s soccer, play this Sunday.
PS to US Soccer: PLEASE stop talking and tweeting about the new uniforms which will be debuted at this Sunday’s game for “all” to see. All you’re doing is turning the knife that has already been jabbed into our stomachs.