The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Boston Celtics and the New York Giants are all popular sports teams we hear about on a regular basis; but can you think of the name of a professional women’s softball, basketball or soccer team off the top of your head? Probably not, and this is because women’s sports lack the coverage men’s sports receive daily in the media.
“If you love sports, but you’ve limited yourself to just men’s sports for whatever reason, you’re missing out on a lot,” said reporter Jessica Luther in a Huffington Post article.
This could not be truer. Women’s college and professional sports teams are equally deserving of a community and fan base.
It’s possible people aren’t as interested in women’s sports because there are less women working in the sports media outlets than men, and the men who dominate these outlets do not cover women’s sports enough.
The sports industry is male-dominated. According to the Boston Globe, 66 percent of coaches, umpires and other sports workers are male. The sports reporter in the newsroom is usually male, the sports commentator is usually male, the sports journalists are predominantly male and even the referees on the field are usually male. Why would an industry that is male alter its style for a community that is female?
In order for there to be a change in the media coverage of women’s sports, there needs to be a change in the media outlets that are covering them. Female athletes are just as skilled as men, and female sports commentators can be just as insightful in conversations on athletes and game coverage.
“It does help that there are now some sites dedicated to women’s sports, like The Equalizer, High Post Hoops, The Victory Press and, of course, espnW. Social media also gives people the ability to build networks that allow them to follow certain reporters and have conversations with other fans,” Luther said.
Maybe the media doesn’t cover women’s sports as much because the perceived lack of interest in watching women play compared with men means less money for the advertisers and companies televising the games. Each Super Bowl broadcast generates about $250 million through advertising, according to the How Stuff Works website.
Some people will simply claim that they are not interested in watching women’s sports at all. This is especially sad for the women’s sports teams that are way more successful than the men’s teams.
The United States women’s soccer team has won three world cups, while the men’s team has never won a world cup and did not even make it to compete in the World Cup held in Russia summer 2018. Even though the women’s team is three times better than the men’s team, as of 2016, the women get paid 40 percent of what the men do, Luther said.
Along with the U.S. women’s soccer team, another successful women’s team is our very own Regals volleyball team at California Lutheran University. The women’s volleyball team has won five NCAA Regional Championships and thirteen SCIAC Championships.
“As an athlete at a small school, we try to be there to support all other athletes on campus, but everyone understands the tough schedules and other priorities, so it can be tough to get a big turnout,” said Cal Lutheran junior outside hitter Daniella Villano.
Villano said her favorite part about playing on the volleyball team is “the social aspect about it. I love being able to talk to others about the games and it’s really awesome when we get a lot of students to come support and make the gym loud!”
The worst argument someone can make is that no matter how talented women athletes are, men will always be the best.
Sarah Spain is a successful espnW columnist, ESPN radio host and SportsCenter reporter.
“People always say, ‘We watch men’s sports because they’re the best at what they do and women aren’t the best.’ Well, neither are little leaguers. So that argument really doesn’t work,” Spain said in an article for The Nation.
So what’s the difference? The sports are the same, the rules are the same, the skills and strength are the same. Even the uniforms are almost the same. It’s not fair that women’s sports are not as popular. I hope the coverage of women’s sports can and will be as popular as men’s in the near future.