FIFA released game times for Group Stage games for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. FOX also revealed some of their plans which included what channels in which the games will be shown on. The news from Tuesday provided the best possible scenario for US Soccer and FOX to obtain maximum ratings for the Women’s World Cup.
First, unlike the Men’s World Cup, the Women’s World Cup has some rather random timeframes set by FIFA. The Men’s World Cup had set times for games that began at Noon, 3 PM and 6 PM ET in the Group Stage. The Women’s World Cup has four games starting from day three and game times range from 1 PM to 10 PM. While that makes things tougher for fans overall, the US Women’s National Team got spared by having all three of their group stage games shown on prime time TV. The USWNT Group Stage schedule includes:
USWNT vs. Australia, Monday June 8, 7:30 PM ET
USWNT vs. Sweden, Friday June 12, 8:00 PM ET
USWNT vs. Nigeria, Tuesday June 16, 8:00 PM ET
Prime time TV for US Soccer at the World Cup is unparalleled. This is the big stage and this is the time for US Soccer to capitalize to get a mass audience. This next piece of news will definitely put things over the top.
Once it was found out that FOX took over the rights to show FIFA tournaments from ESPN, everyone knew that FOX had an uphill climb if they wanted to even compete with ESPN’s World Cup production. Today, FOX made a huge step in the right direction. FOX announced that they will show all 52 games including six games on FOX Sports 2, 30 games on FOX Sports 1 and 16 games on FOX. Yes, 16 games (most for any Men’s or Women’s World Cup in US TV history) on regular, nationally broadcast, over-the-air, big boy FOX. To put this in perspective, ESPN only showed 10 Men’s World Cup games on ABC.
This schedule is unprecedented for the Women’s game. It has been 12 years since a Women’s World Cup game was shown on broadcast TV. While FOX hasn’t revealed what Group Stage games will be shown on FOX, they did say that FOX will show at least one Semifinal game, the Third Place game on July 4 and the Women’s World Cup Final on the 5th.
While FIFA seems to be dragging their feet in terms of gender discrimination, FOX is showing unrivaled dedication toward a female sporting competition that hasn’t been seen since Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in the 1994 Olympics. Heck, FOX is showing unrivaled dedication toward any soccer tournament, regardless if it’s men or women. It’s unknown whether or not FOX can bring the substance to match the content availability but this is a very good start. All I know is that with the Women’s World Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup taking place back-to-back this upcoming summer, get ready for another memorable summer of soccer in the United States of America.