Search

Ben_Slingerland

The Business of Sports

Tag

US Women’s National Team

The US Women’s World Cup Win

On Sunday the US Women’s National Soccer Team won it’s third FIFA World Cup emphatically over Japan by a score of 5-2. The game broke television records as it was the highest metered market rating ever for a soccer game in the United States on a single network (FOX). Sunday’s game averaged 26.7 million viewers, with 25.4 million watching the English telecast on Fox and another 1.3 million viewing the Spanish telecast airing on Telemundo. In fact, the audience was larger than that of every NBA Finals basketball game since 2010 as well as every World Series baseball game since 2004.

Morgan Brian #14, Carli Lloyd #13, and Alex Morgan #10 celebrate an early goal in the US' victory over Japan on Sunday.
Morgan Brian #14, Carli Lloyd #13, and Alex Morgan #10 celebrate an early goal in the US’ victory over Japan on Sunday.

The previous soccer television viewing high in the US was 18.2 million on ESPN last year for the United States-Portugal group stage Men’s World Cup contest. While, the previous high for women’s soccer in the States was 18 million set in 1999 for the World Cup final on ESPN between the US and China. Moreover, Sunday was a 77 percent jump from the 2011 final that also featured the US and Japan on ESPN. I’m not sure anyone truly expected the numbers to be as high as they were. However, given the holiday weekend, and without any major competing sporting events, the US Women did exactly that, and they delivered.

 

And while the US women receive an additional $2 million for winning the World Cup (a mere fraction of the $35 million the men are awarded), the players will receive supplemental earnings in endorsements. Players like Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Hope Solo will certainly capitalize on their sponsorship and endorsements deals with companies like Nike. Team apparel sales went up 3,000 percent on Sunday.

Jul 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; United States forward Alex Morgan at 2015 Womens World Cup champions celebration at Microsoft Square at L.A. Live.
Jul 7, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; United States forward Alex Morgan at 2015 Womens World Cup champions celebration at Microsoft Square at L.A. Live.

The US demographic tends to be a “big event” audience, as Americans tend to support their National teams in big international competitions. So the question remains will these shockingly high rating numbers transfer over to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). All but one of the women on the US World Cup team currently play in the NWSL which gives the league great exposure.

 

In the last 20 years, there have been four professional women’s soccer leagues: the W-League, the WUSA, the WPS, and now the NWSL. The first three folded after no more than three seasons due to poor league management and a general lack of interest. However, it seems like the NWSL is going to be here to stay this time around due to the significant investment US Soccer has made into the league. The timing of the 1994 Men’s World Cup being hosted in the States prior to the launch of the 1996 Major League Soccer on the men’s side is very reminiscent to the timing here with the NWSL. In aligning the sports largest event around the launching of the league helps build momentum for fan interest and ticket sales.

Carli Lloyd became an international hero overnight after scoring a hat-trick in the US' World Cup win.
Carli Lloyd became an international hero overnight after scoring a hat-trick in the US’ World Cup win.

There has already been a significant uptick in ticket sales, as the Houston Dash expect a record attendance of 15,000, as they only average 4,500. The Portland Thorn expect their first ever sell-out crowd of 21,000 next Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Seattle Reign host Western New York this weekend and expect to double their average attendance of 3,000 to 6,000. The question remains though, will the league be able to maintain these ticket sales through until the final week of the season in September.

 

Sunday proves that the United States is becoming more and more of a legitimate soccer nation. We will see if the Women’s luck on Sunday carries over to the Men’s side as they continue their Gold Cup run tonight against Haiti in Foxboro, MA. Meanwhile, the US Women will be celebrating in a parade four hours south in New York City.

US vs. Netherlands Points to a Bright Future for the Stars & Stripes

Sure it was just a friendly. Sure, the US roster had plenty of new names on it. Sure, the Netherlands held 62% possession and outshot the US 27-19. And yet Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States were able to overcome a 3-1 deficit to beat the Netherlands 4-3 for the very first time in history.

Not only had the US never won in the Netherlands before, but the US had never scored more than a single goal when playing in the Netherlands. Klinsmann put together a group of 22 players for this pair of friendlies against the Netherlands and Wednesday against Germany, that has a mixture of some older veterans and a healthy dose of younger up and coming players. It is a roster that lacks the regular names like Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, Alejandro Bedoya or Graham Zussi and was replaced by names like Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes, Danny Williams and Jordan Morris. The lack of National Team regulars further contributed to the improbability of the result this past Friday.

Jurgen Klinsmann has been under enormous pressure as the US Men's National Team Head Coach, and for the most part he has delivered.
Jurgen Klinsmann has been under enormous pressure as the US Men’s National Team Head Coach … for the most part he has delivered.

Since Klinsmann has taken over the reigns as the US Men’s National Team Head Coach in July of 2011, the team has gone 3-3-2 against teams in the world’s top-10, including wins at Italy, at Mexico and now the Netherlands. With the win, the team improves to 2-0-1 in their last three games, going into Wednesday’s matchup against Germany. Furthermore, this win against the Netherlands speaks to the progress in player development amongst some of the rising young stars in the US. With guys like Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones getting well into their 30’s, the performances from such emerging stars like Bobby Wood (22 years old), Gyasi Zardes (23 years old) and Jordan Morris (20 years old) all speak highly towards the future of US Soccer.

Zardes (left), hugs Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (right), scored his first international goal against the Netherlands, as did Bobby Wood and Danny Williams.
Gyasi Zardes (left) hugs Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (right) after scoring his first international goal against the Netherlands. Bobby Wood and Danny Williams also capitalized on their first international goals in the game.

The win over the Netherlands comes in the midst of a successful U20 FIFA World Cup for the Yanks. The US U20 squad has found themselves in the Round of 16, where they’ll take on Columbia on Wednesday after going 2-1 in the group stage. Moreover, the US Women’s National Team will begin play in the Women’s World Cup tonight against Australia. The US Women are among the favorites to win the whole thing. And lastly, the US Men’s National Team will close out an eventful summer for US Soccer with the Gold Cup, as they open up against Honduras on July 7th.

Paul Arriola has helped lead the US U20's to the Round of 16 in the U20 FIFA World Cup.
Paul Arriola has helped lead the US U20’s to the Round of 16 in the U20 FIFA World Cup.

While this US win over the Netherlands should not be blown out of proportion, as it was merely a friendly; it certainly does speak to the potential of the future given the personnel they used to get the result they did. This result further demonstrates US Soccer’s improvement towards achieving their goal of becoming one of game’s leading nations. With the Women’s World Cup, the U20 World Cup and the Gold Cup upon us, US Soccer has an incredible opportunity towards significantly chipping away at that goal.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑