September 16, 2003
Insult to injury
It's bad enough to read that the women's professional soccer league WUSA is folding as a result of cash shortages, but this just rubs salt into it:
"This is a sad day for women's soccer and women's sports," U.S. international midfielder Judy Foudy said.
I'm pretty sure that actual U.S. international midfielder Julie Foudy
is bummed by this as well. Someone ought to ask her.
(And to think this happened so soon after we finally got around to seeing Bend It Like Beckham...)
Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 16, 2003 to Other sports
The problem with the WUSA was that they did not play in the major cities, but rather in the suburbs. The New York Power played on Long Island, which is much too far to travel for me. The Philadelphia Charge played at Villanova, which is also not that easy to get to. Washington did play at RFK, and to their credit played doubleheaders with DC United, but that should have been the rule, not the exception.
There was also a limited amount of marketing for the league, even though they did have a TV deal with PAX. The ads for the Power in Newsday were almost an afterthought, and on occasion were on the same page as ads for "gentelemen's" clubs.
Pro soccer in general will work in the United States if the right mix of stadiums (25,000 max), cities, and marketing. MLS has lost $250 million since the beginning, and one man owns half of the teams in the league (Philip Anschutz, who owns the LA Kings and several European hockey franchises as well). The real problem is getting people to come to matches when there are any number of top flight leagues available on cable television on the weekend (starting at 7:30 AM Eastern most Saturdays).
I find the WUSA folding all the more sad since it is right before the Women's World Cup. Ironically, the stadiums will be rather full, and I expect a sell out for the final.
It was the US women's triumph in the 1999 World Cup that launched the WUSA in the first place, so I suppose there's a certain timeliness to its demise. I don't follow soccer, so this won't affect my life, but I'm still sad for WUSA's players and fans.