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Why doesn’t FIFA (or anyone) want you to know about the Women’s World Cup?

This morning I wanted to figure out how to fit my weekend plans around the Women’s World Cup schedule. After furiously searching for an iPhone app for 20 minutes, I had to drop what I was doing and incredulously tweet about my frustration.

A Women’s World Cup fantasy app is at #8 in the App Store. Looks like there’s a market for an app for that.

 
A Women’s World Cup fantasy app is at #8 in the App Store. Looks like there’s a market for an app for that.

The 1999 Women’s World Cup Final is still the highest rated soccer match on U.S. English language TV of all time, yet…

1) There is no official Women’s World Cup app. There are several unofficial apps appearing in the top Sports apps in the iTunes store because people are looking for one. (Nice work spotting that market hole.) But, no official standalone app exists for the Women’s World Cup.

2) The official FIFA app only features the men’s World Cup. I navigated to “FIFA World Cup”, and only found information about the men’s 2018 World Cup in Russia. You have to go to “Scores” and then search for “women” to find information about the Women’s World Cup. This morning there wasn’t even any news near the top of the app about the Women’s World Cup. 

3) Good luck finding anything in the ESPN app. After digging through several categories, I finally found the “Women’s World Cup” section. Although when I did find it, I was sure I was in the right place. The word “women” appears 18 times on the initial screen. The Women’s World Cup wasn’t in the “FIFA World Cup” section, or the “Soccer By Country” section or featured on the initial “Sports” section. (But don’t worry Formula One, MMA and NCAA Men’s Baseball are featured.) Update: The ESPN app is now featuring Women’s World Cup scores on the main screen.

I’m pretty sure I found the Women’s World Cup section since it says the word “Women” 18 times.

 
I’m pretty sure I found the Women’s World Cup section since it says the word “Women” 18 times.

4) In the ESPN FC soccer app, there wasn’t a SINGLE news story about the Women’s World Cup. There is plenty of news coverage about soccer games that ESPN doesn’t have the rights to air, but after scrolling a decent amount, I didn’t see any coverage of the Women’s World Cup.

Update: In an email response ESPN said “FIFA Women’s World Cup stories and information were always intended to be a part of the ESPN FC app. There is a technical issue that is being addressed that led to WWC news not being pulled into the app. If you visit ESPNFC.us, you’ll see that WWC content is prominently featured on the home page.” They also said that they will doing most of their coverage in espnW. And they will be doing pre- and post-match insight on espnW and SportsCenter.

5) Fox Sports doesn’t actually list the Women’s World Cup in their app. The only way to see the schedule is to find the games mixed in with all the other games around the world by date. They have the rights to air the Women’s World Cup, and they are live streaming all of the games in their already existing FOX Soccer 2Go app. Update: You can find the Women’s World Cup in the Fox Sports Go app.

It isn’t like I am the first one to complain about the lack of parity for Women’s Soccer. There was the time FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that women should wear “tighter shorts”. And that time when 84 female players sued FIFA to not have to play the World Cup on a substandard surface. But women do get some special treatment. Apparently FIFA’s gender verification policy has “only ever been applied to women”.

Update: FIFA tweeted this response.

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