By Ross Kelly
Last week Andy Benoit, a writer for SI and MMQB, posted on twitter “Women’s sports in general are not worth watching.” Benoit was responding to a vine of a Women’s World Cup match but his words were applied to all women sports. The comment, obviously, blew up on social media and even made its way into the mainstream media. Not only was there verbal dissent to his comment, but the numbers and viewership of women’s sports also says otherwise.
According to Sports TV Ratings, the softball Women’s College World Series outdrew the baseball men’s College World Series by an average of over 400,000 viewers per game. Both events were aired on ESPN on the same days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) and just three weeks apart. The WCWS was June 1-3 and the CWS was June 22-24.
Granted, the schools involved in both series may have played a factor in the viewership. The WCWS featured national programs in the University of Michigan and the University of Florida who have a combined living alumni of nearly 850,000. The CWS had smaller schools in Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia who have a combined living alumni of about 335,000. But still, the CWS is still seen as the biggest collegiate sporting event outside of March Madness and college football and has been around 35 years longer than the WCWS.
Both events had serious competition for at least one of their games as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup went head-to-head with Game 3 of the WCWS while the USWNT-Colombia Round of 16 game went up against Game 1 of the CWS. I won’t go out on a limb and say that college softball is on its way of becoming #3 in terms of popularity of college sports; but this does give proof that Benoit’s comment was not factual, but an opinion, and a foolish one at that.