Megan Rapinoe’s interview at Drake University’s Knapp Center last night was pure inspiration. I completely agree that when our society has a fascination with celebrities and athletes, alike, there’s not just an opportunity to be an advocate for the issues you believe in, but there’s almost a responsibility to do so. She’s a champion on and off the pitch and the world needs more folks like her, simply put.
To that extent, we need several things to balance out the dramatic gap between men’s and women’s sports.
- Yes, men’s sports have benefited greatly from decades of excellent marketing, branding and exposure through TV, radio and streaming contracts.
- The NWSL needs a greater level of exposure too, to build their fan base. I mean, name me three NWSL teams right now without looking it up. I’ll be even the most diehard fan can’t do so. I love the NWSL and follow the USWNT and I’d top out at around three named teams.
- Exposure means the NWSL needs better coverage than being on the Yahoo sports app. When was the last time you used Yahoo for anything? Right?!?! There is a partnership with ESPN that will put more of the matches on ESPN2. I guess that’s a start.
- We need to fall in love with the teams. Soccer is one of the interesting sports where fans will often follow the team more than the players themselves. Players will come and go. Without a strong fan base built around the team, the NWSL will remain somewhat marginalized.
So, as I work on this blog, I’m going to try to focus on the women’s leagues too. For the next few months, until NWSL kicks their 2020 season off, it’ll mostly be international friendly competitions, but that’s ok. The USWNT rules and their recent track record has been second to none.