Admit it, how many people enjoyed the women’s World Cup in the Summer?
I loved it, seeing players who were committed to the game, not diving around and faking injury to get the referee to give decisions. I too felt the heartbreak when, in the last minute of the game, Laura Bassett scored an own goal to hand Japan a place in the World Cup final.
It was not only a time of sadness, but a time of positivity. The women’s game was on the up, highlighted through the fact that, in America alone, 25.4 million people watched the United States beat Japan 5-2. More than the 18.2 million watched the USA men’s football team play in the 2014 World Cup against Portugal, which puts that all in to perspective.
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So it begs the question, should more people be watching women’s football?
Since that World Cup, where England finished third, there has been more interest in women’s football, with the FA quoting a 29% rise in attendances, 48% overall last year. The average league match jumped from 728 in 2014 to 1,076 in 2015, highlighting that the women’s game in this country is on the up.
This popularity is further illustrated through a record 2,710 people watching Chelsea win the Women’s Super League title. In what was an exciting season, Chelsea beat Manchester City by two points, emphasising that the women’s league is just as competitive as the men’s.
With football getting more and more expensive, more people are starting to attend women’s games to get their source of entertainment. Better television coverage means that it is easier to keep up with, and with the monthyl Woman’s Football Show on BBC , it helps keep fans updated.
This season, of course, stood out for gamers due to FIFA finally adding women’s international teams to the game. Yet should teams and television channels be doing more to promote women’s football? Although BT and BBC do give it a lot more coverage than ever before, should more be done to raise the profile of women’s football?
One thing you notice when looking into the Women’s Super League is the missing big teams. Though there are teams like Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and recently Manchester City, some big names which have made up the men’s Premier League for years haven’t jumped on the band waggon and don’t have women’s teams.
Teams like Manchester United do not have a women’s side, and you would feel that for one of the biggest teams in the world they really should. The commercial success a Manchester United ladies side could have is astonishing, and they are lacking behind other teams.
It highlights that there is still work to do in the women’s game. Yet if they continue to get more media attention, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be watching.
With Mark Sampson signing a new contract as manager of the women’s England side, the game’s future is in safe hands, and hopefully there will be more coverage in the new WSL season.