Google says that while there were billions of World Cup-related searches last year, the most surprising discovery was that the searches were more for women’s football than men’s. Queries for women’s soccer or football triplicate that for boys’ soccer; yet only a percent of searches worldwide were for women’s team professional soccer, and the rest, for men’s teams.
Football is among the world’s most loved and searched sports and last year, the online queries for anything football totaled 2.1 billion. Nevertheless, the lesser search for women’s football teams was not because women athletes are not as amazing in the field as men, but because women sports did not get as much attention historically. Google cited European organizations like the English FA which banned women’s football until the 1970s. The sport only made it to the Olympics in 1996.
While Google says there are more searches for women’s football than men’s, the tech company wants to inspire the girls to become the next leaders, like, in sports. Google will help people discover great stories about women’s soccer, which might have been overlooked in history. In time for the Women’s World Cup 2015, it will share trends, statistics and others, to help people know more about women athletes and their talents.
This year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off Saturday and it features 24 teams from around the globe. Canada is the host of the event and the winning team will have $13.6 million in prize money, which is 3 percent of what went to the winner of last year’s Men’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Women’s World Cup started in 1991 in China with only a dozen countries participating – no money, no sponsors, less media coverage and it took only 80 minutes for the games to finish. In 1995, the soccer matches in Sweden extended to the standard length of 90 minutes. In 1999, the event broke many records. The teams reached 16, the event got more media coverage and the final had 90,000 people in attendance, making it the most attended women’s sporting event in history. The event was hosted by the U.S., where Brandi Chastain from the U.S. team made a name against China.
The women’s soccer in 2007 had Brazilian player Marta Vieira da Silva winning the hearts of her countrymen for achieving a goal. It gained her the label “Pelé in a skirt” by Brazilian professional footballer Pelé himself.
Japan’s team made a name in the 2011 FIFA World Cup for being the first Asian team to win in the event which broadcasted to 62.8 million people worldwide and according to BBC, was viewed by 400 million people. The Germany-hosted event set a record of the most tweets a second, beating Obama bin Laden’s death and the royal wedding of William and Kate.
This week, the Women’s World Cup will take place in six venues – Vancouver, Moncton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton. The U.S. team is expected to have their third win, and will contend with Brazil, Germany and Japan for the top prize. Excitement also goes to eight new countries – Thailand, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Ecuador, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Costa Rica.
The 2015 Women’s World Cup started with Canada versus China. Viewers of the event on TV could reach a billion, said BBC. The seventh Women’s World Cup event has U.S. and Germany teams as favorites, as both vie for the third global win. On Tuesday, England will play against France in Moncton.
While Google says there are more searches for women’s football than men’s; and tries to help so that any significant happening about the women’s sport will not be missed in Internet searches, this year’s event will broadcast in 187 territories. BBC will cover the 52 matches live on BBC Sports site, while BBC Two, Three and Red Button will cover selected games. Tournament tickets have reached 920,000 in sales, with the opening match selling 52,000 tickets, becoming the best-attended soccer event in Canada, though the organizers said only one-third of the group games were sold out.
By Judith Aparri
Official Google Blog: A changing playing field for women
Time: New Google Doodle Celebrates the Kick-Off of the Women’s World Cup
BBC: Women’s World Cup 2015: One billion TV viewers expected By Alistair Magowan BBC Sport in Moncton, Canada
Photo courtesy of Curt Gibbs‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License