As celebrations from yet another success of the US Women’s Soccer team draw to a close, thoughts now turn to taking that momentum and continuing the growth and development of the women’s game in the US.
Taking Success Back Home
While there was an evident wave of momentum of their success in the 2015 World Cup, which saw large increases in average attendances, last season there was a noticeable dip.
For example, in the stadiums of Reign FC, the team of US Captain and starlet Megan Rapinoe, an average crowd of fewer than 4000 spectators per game were attracted—which pales in comparison to the average attendance of the last World Cup.
There is a feeling that to attract crowds, the general public needs a constant reminder of the quality of the women’s game, with the World Cup having been the ideal opportunity to showcase the best talent.
However, the challenge is about sustaining the momentum across the world: the better the standard and interest of a national league, the better the national side becomes.
Key to Boosting Standards and Interest is in Finance
Leading European nations such as Germany, England, France, and Sweden have been the best at securing corporate sponsors in recent years and return some of the leading women’s teams.
A great example of recent development is the Italian Women's League and the national team.
Since the 2015 World Cup, significant investments in the league and in teams such as Juventus, have seen a marked improvement in the quality of the women's game in the country, which can be seen in their World Cup run this year.
The European leagues seem to have leapfrogged the US in attracting major corporate sponsors in the last few years, but with the signature of Budweiser as the NWSL's core beer sponsor and a broadcast deal, there is optimism that the NWSL can have a better chance of sustaining the momentum from the success of the national side—while also increasing the prestige of winning the NWSL championship.
So, what’s waiting back home for the World Cup Stars? Yet another battle to fight.