Women’s Sports Deserve Better
The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide softball team dominated the No. 9 Arizona Wildcats, winning 11-0 in Game 3 of the Candrea Classic to aid its 4-0 start. However, it wasn't all smiles for the Crimson Tide nation as the difficulty of trying to watch it made it a challenge to enjoy the dominating victory.
There were two ways to consume the game: on 97.5 The Nick, a Townsquare Media station that is specifically designed for softball coverage, and unless fans have the app downloaded, can really only be heard throughout the Tuscaloosa city limits, and a PAC-12 stream that was less than ideal.
Look, I understand that basketball is king at the moment. We are getting down to the wire and teams are making and breaking by the day. Also, I am not going to blame the stream when Arizona was trying to do what they could to receive basic coverage of the game. But, the fact of the matter is that there are multiple platforms that could've aired the game. ESPN has eight networks, not including ABC and ESPN+. Plenty of options are around for networks to figure out a way to make it work.
Women's sports, including softball, are growing at an exponential rate.
According to NFCA.org, "This year’s (2021) WCWS (Women's College World Series) was the most-viewed ever, averaging 1,203,000 viewers, up 10 percent over the 2019 WCWS and topping the previous record holder from 2015."
Not only was this a top 10 showdown for the NCAA, but also a match-up with incredible history, including the 2021 WCWS game last year, where Montana Fouts pitched a perfect game. Four of the 13 games against the two since 2006 came in the WCWS and this could've easily been a foreshadowing of Oklahoma City, Okla. come May. It is absolutely ridiculous that we still have to beg and plead for decent coverage of a sport.
How long will it be until others learn to invest in women's sports? Does the WCWS, NCAA volleyball championship, NCCA women's basketball national championship, and NCAA gymnastics all have to break viewership records before actual change happens? Oh wait, they already did. Do better. Equality in women's sports is long overdue.