Despite scheduling that saw the U.S. Women’s National Team play every World Cup knockout match on a weekday evening, record numbers of Americans have tuned in to support their squad on the team’s march to today’s final.
But has the women’s game finally broken through to the mainstream? Last summer the men’s team was often front and center during their inspiring World Cup journey. It’s a bit of a different story for the women as we take a tour of Sunday’s papers.
The New York Times iconic slogan is “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” yet their front page is dominated by coverage of a presidential election that’s 18 months away featuring candidates who will be forgotten by the first primary. The Grey Lady’s editors did find some space for soccer coverage on A1 – but it’s for an esoteric story on the beautiful game in Canada’s Arctic region.
Appropriately the Boston Herald is the most patriotic of all the major metropolitan newspapers with its ferocious front-page image.
New York Daily News
The NY tabloids aren’t far behind, and the Daily News deserves props for being one of the few papers to feature multiple stars from the team. Of course, the Post couldn’t resist giving more front-page real estate to a tawdry high school sex scandal.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Despite playing a diminishing role on the squad, Abby Wambach’s hometown paper, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, makes World Cup Final day all about her.
Its West Coast wannabe – the Los Angeles Times found space for a nice photo and story on the USWNT but cheesy advertising for the new Minions movie cheapens its front page.
Supposed-soccer hotbed Portland finds its paper The Oregonian obsessed with LaMarcus Aldridge’s abandonment at the cost of any prominent final coverage.
In smaller towns, parochial interests hold sway. The Buffalo News covers the Sabres’ #2 pick Jack Eichel while the Laramie Boomerang talks about the “Big Game,” but don’t be fooled, it’s the University of Wyoming’s October 17th homecoming game.
New Jersey has provided the American game with many stars including Tab Ramos, Claudio Reyna, Tim Howard, and Tony Meola so its fitting that the Bergen Record was one of many Garden State papers to prominently feature World Cup coverage on its front page.
The Akron Beacon-Journal and the Oakland Tribune were just two of many newspapers that led with the 1999 Brandi Chastain sports bra photo. It’s an iconic image to be sure but it’s slightly unseemly to go with the sexy shot from 16 years ago over coverage of today’s inspiring stars.
The Chicago Tribune found a unique angle for its coverage by tying the thriving national team to the struggles of National Women’s Soccer League and the many women’s pro leagues that have come before it.
ESPN’s front page as of this morning has a great Arthur Ashe story but the USWNT doesn’t even show up among the top headlines that include yesterday’s hot dog eating competition and four NBA free agent stories. Does this reflect the fact that ESPN has both NBA and Wimbledon broadcast rights but lost out on the Women’s World Cup to FOX? We report, you decide.
The USWNT has been accused of ignoring Hispanic Americans, and it appears that the feeling is mutual as the nation’s Spanish-language papers ignored today’s Final in favor of featuring Chile’s Copa America triumph from yesterday.
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