With the ongoing success of the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup bringing in record viewing numbers for both domestic and international audiences it is now impossible not to recognise the demand for female sports.
Recent Success of Women’s Sports Should Transform Gaming Landscape
In case there was need for any proof of this, in England, a record
7.6 million people tuned in to watch their nation reach a second world cup semi-final in as many years. Which works out at over 35% of all active television viewers being tuned in to England vs Norway.
Figures in America are continually growing too, as more and more of the global population are enjoying the women’s game. A total of one billion people are estimated to tune into the World Cup this summer, showing TV companies, advertisers and other corporations that there is money to be made by showcasing premier female athletes.
Whilst sports such as tennis are leading the way in gender equality, a large part of the success of women’s tennis is the influence of Serena Williams, who’s name value is one of the biggest in all of sports – let alone comparing her stature to other male tennis players.
The Next Step
But how do more women in their respective sports become that level of star? Sponsorship helps, having a company like Nike heavily invest in Williams has grown her fan-base drastically. But with those resources not available for women’s athletes worldwide, could gaming become the new way for female athletes to transcend their gender and become household names.
Let’s be honest, Madden, FIFA, NBA 2K etcetera are the foundation of any young fan’s knowledge of the sports they watch – which is why most people who grew up as Madden players in the early 2000s think Michael Vick is much better than his game ever suggested, and gaming companies should be making a concerted effort to show women’s competition on a level playing-field with their male colleagues.
Fifa has had the women’s international teams on their database for a number of years now, but it feels as though they’ve wasted the potential of having the rights to those players recently. Given the sheer number of people who have tuned in to watch the football in France this summer, surely decision-makers at EA are regretting not creating a similar tournament mode to the one created for the men’s tournament in Russia last year.
But the potential doesn’t stop there, with interest in the female game there’s no reason why domestic competitions shouldn’t be included in FIFA 20’s roster, the Women’s Super League, European/American leagues, the Women’s Champions League should all be a focal point of the next issue of EA’s most successful franchise.
There are endless avenues for a game as big as FIFA could explore to increase the exposure women’s football gets, a separate Ultimate Team mode, women’s career modes (both as player’s and as managers) would all help legitimise a growing game with the next generation of sports fans.
The most intriguing development the gaming industry could look into would be with NBA 2K20. If 2K decided to include the WNBA rosters in their next issue, imagine the possibilities available to them in regards to My Career storylines. My Career has been the most interesting aspect of NBA 2K for years now and the potential narrative for the first ever women’s story are mind-boggling.
Those over at 2K would be able to tangibly create some of the biggest milestones for WNBA athletes of the present and the future, a whole generation of young girls playing the game could become the first WNBA player in two decades to get their own signature shoe. There is a legitimate possibility that done right, this kind of push could help bring along the women’s game to a height it hasn’t seen before – as well as change the attitudes of men worldwide and help to inspire an entire generation of young girls to achieve whatever it is they aspire to.
“Dare to shine”, the slogan from the most successful women’s world cup in history. Perhaps it’s time that major companies started providing a platform for girls to do just that.
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