Ticket sales, TV coverage for upcoming U.S. women’s soccer games show progress

Jeff Kassouf May 16, 2012 13

The U.S. women’s soccer team will face China on May 27 at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. and play its send-off match on June 30 against Canada on June 30 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The send-off match will be aired live on NBC.

But that much we knew. Here are some updates on those matches:

As of Monday, 13,400 tickets had been sold for the May 27 match against China and 9,600 tickets had been sold for the June 30 match in Utah. Those are pretty solid presale numbers, especially considering the game against Canada is still six weeks away.

If anybody were doubting the still-present Women’s World Cup bump, consider this: Last year’s Women’s World Cup send-off match at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. drew only 5,852 fans. And surely nobody forgets that abysmal Oct. 6, 2010 evening when the U.S. barely tied China 1-1 on an 83rd minute Alex Morgan goal (the beginning of ‘Alex Morgan Time’) in front of just 2,505 fans at PPL Park. The most exciting thing to happen that night came during pregame when Abby Wambach’s errant shot cost a man his dinner.

The match at Rio Tinto on June 30 is close to doubling last year’s send-off match attendance in presale numbers alone. The last time the U.S. women were in Sandy, Utah, on March 31, 2010, the crowd was 3,732. Granted, that was the one and only Snow Bowl match.

Fans outside of those who will be in attendance on May 27 can get ready to start the usual gripe: There will be not TV or webcast for the match against China. Yes, that will be annoying for a lot of people, but this site will have a few people on hand to keep you all in the loop on what is happening.

Plus, on a very positive note, the U.S.-Canada game will be the first time the U.S. women have played on a broadcast network (those first few channels on your TV) in a very long while. We (and the very helpful folks at U.S. Soccer) are still looking into the last time the U.S. women were on a broadcast network, but we can tell you that they were not on NBC during the 2008 Olympics and they were not on ABC during the 2007 Women’s World Cup. That means that it may have been 2003 or 2004 since the women last played on such a mainstream TV outlet, which means June 30 will mark some real progress.

No word yet on whether the June 16 USA-Sweden match or the June 18 USA-Japan match will be webcast. Both matches take place in Halmstad, Sweden.

  • Greg
    • Jeff Kassouf

      It looks that way indeed. Waiting for USSF to confirm, but there is little chance it happened between 2004 and now so that is probably it. Good research there.

  • sec

    Jeff — so U.S. Soccer confirmed to you or elsewhere that there will be no webcast, or is it merely the case that you are unaware of any commitment or plan by them, at this time, to webcast (along the lines of the New Zealand webcast last Feb., or the Sweden match last Nov.)?

    Kinda sad, because I think some fans (me included) would accept watching the match on a fixed, single-camera webcast, much like the ones that many Div I programs use, to show games to fans/alumni, etc. Sad, also, because these are professional athletes. Also, presumably Gatorade, Nike, Kumho Tire, and all the other traditional major corporate sponsors of USSoccer would prefer for their sideline banners to reach an extra audience (online).

    I also wonder whether US Soccer would delay the announcement of a webcast until the 11th hour, to sell more tickets? Also curious whether US Soccer staffing is limited, with USMNT in the midst of friendlies on 5/26, 5/30, etc.

    thanks for your coverage of this.

    • Jeff Kassouf

      Directly from a USSF spokesman to me: “The game in Philly will not be streamed or on TV.” I can’t see that changing with only 10 days to go, but crazier things have happened. Usually there is an indication by now, however.

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  • It is sad there will be no TV, webcast. That said, our U14 girls team will be there at PPL and they are fired up!

  • Jen

    “That means that it may have been 2003 or 2004 since the women last played on such a mainstream TV outlet, which means June 30 will mark some real progress.”

    No, real progress would be having an operating D1 league. We’ve actually gone backwards since the WWC.

    • Jeff Kassouf

      I would argue we were already going backwards prior to that in terms of a domestic league. The WPS ship started sinking well before the Women’s World Cup. For the U.S. national team, which we know from the disconnect with WPS is an entirely different entity, this is definite progress.

  • In defense of the lack of attendance on October 6, 2010, it was the middle of the week during the school year, and the weather was (as I recall) rather damp.

    • Jeff Kassouf

      That’s fine, but we can’t keep defending near no-show crowds if we want to see progress. It looks like current popularity won’t produce one of those for a while for USWNT. Now women’s club soccer…

  • John F

    Looks like Sunday will be a sell-out at PPL…,that is AWESOME. Still can’t believe with all of the garbage on TV and the dozens of sport networks on cable that the China game can’t find it’s way onto the television. I’ll always remember watching a little league baseball game on television last season that trumped the Barcelona v. Chivas game attended by 70k+ fans in Miami. The baseball game ran over its alloted time and they didn’t braodcast the first 20 minutes of the Barca game because of the little league game. The beautiful game for both the women and men have a long way to go in the States as far as the networks go. That said, it is terrific that the send-off game is on a broadcast network. Baby steps…

  • Nick

    Don’t understand why the China game won’t have a webcast. What a missed opportunity to build excitement in the team! What is the deal with USSF support of the W’s team?
    Thanks for the coverage as always!