Why don’t people care more about women’s sports? If you know a girl or woman who has played a sport, and you have followed their progress possibly into a college, semipro or professional career you are probably well versed on what social media platforms and what obscure cable networks to tune into to keep up to date. However, the average Jane or Joe hasn’t got a clue that 90% of the women’s sports clubs even exist let alone know that they could follow them, or even watch them on the boob tube! Here is the problem. Women’s sports don’t even get their schedules posted on local news networks, so it is a completely ignored market. Boys High School Prep Sports fill the gaps in air time between men’s league seasons, so women Pro teams don’t even get a shot when they play during the off seasons of mainstream men’s leagues.
“A 20-year study of network and cable by USC & Purdue sociologists find men take 96% of sports news in 2009. Even the ESPN Ticker gives women the short shrift – 96.4 percent of the information scrolling along the bottom of the screen was dedicated to only men’s sports.” The finding is part of a 20-year study of sports coverage released today by University of Southern California sociologist Mike Messner and Purdue University sociologist Cheryl Cooky.
In 2010, ESPN seemingly in response to the research mentioned above, thought they had a good answer… they launched espnW… a digital presence for women, where its all-women’s sports all the time. In theory it is a wonderful idea, and if it was only “the thought that counts” they would have won a trophy for their effort. Here is the problem, it keeps women’s sports out of the mainstream media, away from the mass public that are the primary consumers of sport. If the only ones that are going to look at your website are the ones that already know you are there your numbers are NEVER going to grow organically.
If women’s sports were given just a fraction of the airtime that men receive the difference it would make for women’s clubs would be phenomenal. Instead we not only have every men’s game imaginable available to us, all year round, we get talking heads analyzing every fart and jersey movement of every player on and off the field and how it is going to affect their multi-million-dollar deal. You have to do an extensive internet digging expedition to find highlights of the Women’s World Cup Soccer Match, but you can’t stop seeing every run, score, touchdown or goal from every men’s or boys’ game that happened be playing that night before.
Women play sports for the love of the game, not the money or the fame or the glory. (OBVIOUSLY!) We are just starting to see some progress when in comes too equal pay for women in sports since the USWNT sued US Soccer for gender discrimination beginning as far back as 2016 (which is still an ongoing court battle). However if you look at how many women and girls play sports at club, HS, college and even Pro levels and never see a dime in compensation for their commitment to the sport; when you compare that to the men… its decidedly lopsided and unfair.
Just as a point of interest Minnesota a a LEADER and Innovator in Women’s Sports. Out of the 4 Major Professional Women’s Sports Leagues Minnesota has a team in all but one and has been championship quality in all of those 3. Basketball there’s the WNBA ~ Minnesota Lynx, Hockey its the NWHL ~ Minnesota Whitecaps, Yes even 100% Full Contact Women’s Football there’s the WFA ~ Minnesota Vixen, and then if you like European football … or Soccer there is NWSL we don’t have a team here yet but with a brand new stadium and a strong soccer following for the Men’s team the MN United… I’ve got my fingers crossed!