The 2015 Women’s World Cup kicks off today. Hundreds of millions will tune in to the opening match between host country Canada and China.
“Pressure is there every day, but we are high performers and that is what we get out of bed for. We don’t want these women who have given so much to this sport and to this country to walk away with a bad taste in their mouth like they did in 2011. This is it. It’s all or nothing.” John Herdman, Canada coach
The 1999 finalists China PR, missed the Women’s World Cup for the first time four years ago, but are back. China has been pushing their citizens to watch more soccer. They’ve invested in soccer infrastructure. The Evergrande International 300-acre soccer school, a partnership with Real Madrid, is dedicated to cultivating the growth of 100,000 new soccer players. Soccer is now in the national school curriculum. China PR are in Canada with a purpose greater than to compete. Soccer, for most of the world, isn’t just a beautiful game, it’s life. Just take a look at the rolling headlines of the FIFA corruption mega-scandal and it’s clear. But this month the spotlight should be all about the game and the athletes and fans who have grown it into the phenomenon that it is.
Twenty-three women’s teams from across the world are competing this year, that’s eight more than 4 years ago. The women’s game has blossomed since it began. In 1991, games were 80 minutes long, there was just a single sponsor, the final wasn’t shown on TV in the winning nation, and there was no prize money. Zero.
In 2011, 12 major sponsors were linked to the WWC. Over 7,196 tweets per second occurred during the last minutes of the 2011 final, setting a new Twitter record for any event of any genre, not just sports, definitely not just women’s sports. The prize money? A mere 2% of the men’s 2010 World Cup prize fund. The prize money now? 3.3% of last year’s World Cup winnings.
There’s a bit of a stir regarding the lack of official Women’s World Cup apps to help supporters and new fans follow a full schedule of games. But, Fox Sports will televise live all 52 games from the tournament. Sixteen matches are scheduled to air on big FOX, including five in primetime.
There are so many inspiring women to profile this month it’s impossible to tell every story, but we’ll have a selection of our favorites for you throughout the tournament!
June 6th: Match schedule
Canada-China PR (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, 16.00)
New Zealand-Netherlands (Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, 19.00)
All times local