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SOCCER · a month ago

Growth Beyond the Goal: Taking Stock of Women’s Soccer After the FIFA World Cup



Growth Beyond the Goal: Taking Stock of Women’s Soccer After the FIFA World Cup

Despite the United States‘ unexpected early exit from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the world remained glued to their screens, with ratings that surpassed expectations.

In recent years, women’s soccer has not only captured the hearts of fans worldwide but also turned heads in the business sector. The recently concluded World Cup is a testament to the sport’s growing stature, both on and off the pitch.

The fans’ dedication was shown by those that caught various World Cup matches, including many U.S. viewers. Despite having to rise exceptionally early to see live broadcasts of crucial matches like the England vs. Australia semifinal, they were there. These games aired as early as 5 a.m. on the East Coast and a staggering 2 a.m. on the West Coast. The inevitable question arises: what might the ratings have looked like had these matches been scheduled during prime viewing hours?

Beyond the World Cup’s immediate aftermath, the broader conversation focuses on the future trajectory of women’s soccer. The sport’s exponential growth in recent years hints at a brighter tomorrow. Case in point: Bay FC, an expansion franchise for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) located in the San Francisco area, recently invested a staggering $40 million for their franchise rights. For context, Angel City, a Los Angeles-based franchise, paid a mere $2 million for similar rights just three years ago.

The hefty price tag attached to Bay FC isn’t only a sign of deep pockets but represents a firm belief in the profitable future of women’s soccer. As the tech executive who funded Bay FC boldly proclaimed, his investment wasn’t rooted in charity but stemmed from a conviction that it was smart business. In his view, there will come a time when people will reflect on this era and wonder why they didn’t capitalize on the sport’s upward trajectory.

Cindy Parlow Cohn, former U.S. National Team star and current president of U.S. Soccer, also holds an optimistic view of the sport’s future. Her confidence mirrors that of many in the industry. It points to a landscape where women’s soccer gains significant ground in established footballing nations like England and Spain and continues its rapid ascent in the U.S., especially in leagues like the NWSL.

All signs indicate that women’s soccer is not only here to stay but is poised to soar to even greater heights. With all its drama, excitement, and talent on display, the recent World Cup is just the beginning of a new era for the beautiful game.

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