Woman’s soccer scores big views

Tomorrow’s draw for the 2023 Women’s World Cup will decide the tourney’s first-round matches, but what remains undecided is who’s going to broadcast them. 

What happened: FIFA has turned down deals to broadcast the tournament in Italy, Germany, France, and the UK after receiving (what they consider to be) total lowball offers. 

  • FIFA’s chief media officer said the case is a “testament to a lack of willingness of broadcasters to pay what the women’s [soccer] game deserves.”  

Why it’s happening: Women’s soccer is surging in global popularity right now—a trend reflected by the expansion of the number of teams playing in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

  • This year, the record for the most-attended woman’s soccer match was broken, and a record 3.6 million fans tuned into the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.

  • The 2019 Women’s World Cup had shattered previous records, with the final match drawing in 1.12 billion global viewers on all official broadcasting platforms. 

Zoom out: This is all happening at a time when women’s soccer is making its biggest push for equity, following the US women’s team securing equal pay contracts with the men’s team. 

  • In Canada, the women’s national team published an open letter in June that states it won’t accept a new agreement with Canada Soccer unless they’re guaranteed equal pay.

Yes, but: FIFA asking for more money is not some sort of stand for equity, but a recognition that it has a valuable product—which in itself, could be a sign that women’s sports will soon be taken more seriously as major revenue generators.