The inaccessibility of the Women’s World Cup

Victoria Alvarez
By Victoria Alvarez | 14 August 2023
Victoria Alvarez.

Victoria Alvarez, Digital Manager Carat

When it was announced that the Women’s World Cup was to be held in Australia, I was stoked knowing that I’d have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the best footballers in the world, live. Not only that but for the rising stars that are The Matildas, to get home-field advantage places them in the perfect spot to win it all. After all, Australia is known for being a progressive, sports-mad country that values gender equality…right?

Very quickly, there were issues with Australia grossly underestimating the popularity and support for the Women’s World Cup. There was criticism from FIFA officials claiming media channels were low-balling their bids for this Women’s World Cup and bidding significantly lower than they did for the Men’s World Cup. Citing a “lack of willingness of broadcasters to pay what the women's game deserves”, they even refused some rights and rightly so as the 2019 Women’s World Cup had 1.12 billion total viewers.

While the US has shown every Women’s World Cup on free to air since 2015 the Australian media seems to take a more "considered" approach. Just 7 months ago, I was religiously watching SBS showing every minute of the Men’s World Cup with recaps available within minutes. Meanwhile, for the Women’s World Cup, Channel 7 shows only 25% of the games on free-to-air tv even though we are hosting.

This is the first time Australia (or any country in the southern hemisphere) has hosted the Women’s World Cup. Hence the under-coverage is even more stark. The debut game in Sydney (Australia vs Ireland) saw an unprecedented demand that they moved the game from Allianz stadium (42.5k seats) to Accor Stadium (80k seats).

Some have said Network Seven couldn’t risk reducing air time from the beloved Australian Football League. Which flies in the face of ratings with Matilda’s opening game delivering 4.8 million viewers on the Seven broadcast, while the last AFL grand final only reached around 3 million. This is also 3 times that of the opening session of the fourth Ashes test. In addition, the Matilda’s friendly against France, saw a crowd of 50.6k while the MCG footy game on the same night only had 38k in attendance. The numbers speak for themselves.

But Australia isn't a soccer country…even though soccer is the number 1 most played sport in Australia and The Socceroos in The World Cup had supporters getting up at all hours of the night to pledge their allegiance. Nike even confirmed that the Matilda’s have sold more jerseys ahead of the Women’s World Cup than the Socceroos did during (and since) the Men’s World Cup last year. However the energy and enthusiasm of the fans and viewers isn’t matched by broadcasters and businesses, even though games are being held at a reasonable viewing times.

Why have we settled for this poor coverage of the Women’s World Cup? The internal biases within Australian media is wildly apparent and coverage of women’s sport at the highest levels suffer on account of this. Much like when Sam Kerr got the all-time leading goal scorer in Australian international soccer and Robbie Slater claimed she was “not equal” to Tim Cahill because she is a woman. The message we are sending to women and girls in Australia is that we can be counted out. Let’s stand in solidarity and make our claims of a gender equal arena, real.

Tune into this Women’s World Cup, go to your local pub and request that they put it on, pay the $23 for Optus Sport, buy an Australia scarf and book media across women’s sport. Click, read and share female athletes on social platforms and bolster their media value. Because Victoria Alvarez, Digital Manager Carat Women deserve more from us.


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