Women's pro soccer has a tough time, and then there's this recession ...

Posted at 1:00 PM Mar 04, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Last week I was waiting in line to buy a couple of textbooks at my local university co-op, which is endowed with fancy things like flat screen televisions thanks, in no small part, to our badass athletics program. (Hey, did you guys hear Texas beat Oklahoma? Never forget.) It was, I think, mid-afternoon and a women's basketball game played on the screen. Dude behind me could not abide it: "What the fuck are they playing this shit for? Nobody cares." He says this to his buddy, who grunts. I thought about the kind of argument I would have with a dude who describes women's sports as "this shit," and I decided I'd just pay for my books and leave.

Attitudes like this--from apparent sports fans, nonetheless--will make it hard enough to launch Women's Professional Soccer, a new pro league that hopes not to suffer the same fate as the Women's United Soccer Association, which died a swift death in three seasons. But then there's also this teeny tiny recession thing going on, where even big pro leagues and teams are suffering. Today's Washington Post article about the WPS' struggles kicks off (YSWIDT?) the discussion:

"If you look at the marketplace -- for everyone, not just the women's league -- it is really strained right now," said David Carter, who runs the University of Southern California's Sports Business Institute. "It's incredibly unfortunate [for WPS] because it looks as though they have corrected their business model, and you just hope they can take it for a credible spin. It's just bad timing."

Obviously this economy is more than terrible and unpredictable, but the WPS biz model sounds pretty reasonable: players have six-month contracts and work other soccer-related jobs for the other half of the year. Smaller venues are being booked and conservative spending might mean more longevity. What, you mean throwing tons of money at something that may not be profitable isn't a good idea? Gosh, where did we learn that recently ... hrm.


Patty said:

Since when it just a mans right to do something that they throughly enjoy and can earn a living at... I wish the women all the luck in the world and hope it becomes the World of Women League (WOW...)To just go out and have fun in this trying time of our world events and show their Moxey of believing in themselves and a better Global World says alot about the characters forming this league! They represent the attitude of truly believing that things are on the upside of what is ahead for us all... Good Times! Go Girls!!

David said:

The dude could not abide?


Andrea said:

Haha, I didn't even mean to do that. Thanks for catching it. ;)

David said:

Ahhh....now that you've responded I'm reading my comment and thinking, "Wow. What a bonehead."

I probably should have tried some oblique hipster reference to G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wresting) in order to keep with the theme of the article.

Sorry. I'll do better next time.

Brad said:

Sigh. I hate to use the word hate, but I hate it when guys say that a sport isn't worthwhile just because they don't follow it. It most often is them referring to women's sports, but it does happen when talking about other sports as well.

So I suppose he would say that other men's sports shouldn't be played, if they have less fans than women's basketball does? I really doubt it.

I write about women's sports as well as men's on my blog. Not just because of crap like this, but also because I enjoy both gender's sports. I just might have to write about this.

I can remember back in the nineties ESPN awarded the Tenn Vols women's basketball team the team of the year award. I remember friends saying how they shouldn't have won the award because "they couldn't beat Jordan's Bulls". I can't remember my response, but sadly it had no impact.

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