The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie Peterson for April 6, 2020
Recalling the 2008 economic downturn — Meghan Klingenberg interview — Must-click women's soccer links
Hi! Howard Megdal here. The IX helps build the necessary infrastructure for women’s sports media. In this moment, you can expect freelance budgets to be cut, reporters to lose their jobs. History tells us that women’s sports always bears the brunt of that first. We’re here for you. If you believe in what we’re building, be here for us. SPREAD THE WORD. Forward this offer along. Give a gift subscription. Let’s keep growing together, and make sure that whatever happens next, women’s sports coverage always has a home.
Remembering the last crash
Lots of smart people are writing about how the coronavirus will impact sports, and specifically, women’s sports.
Make no mistake, all sports will take a hit.
As the economy slides, so too will investment in sport. Much like in the economic downturn in 2008, some sponsorships are going to go away. TV revenue will fall off with no sports to show, and future deals could be impacted. Ticket revenue is obviously not coming in.
I remember covering a senior tour golf tournament in Bend, Oregon, in 2008 and all the TVs in the media room were on CNBC as the markets tumbled. Golfers came in and out to watch. There was a general sense of dread.
In the aftermath, the NFL laid off more than 10 percent of its staff. The NBA also eliminated jobs. Sponsors pulled out of events en masse. Jerry Jones couldn’t find a naming partner for Cowboys Stadium. Sports like golf and tennis were hit hard.
Whirlpool pulled out of its planned sponsorship deal with Women’s Professional Soccer before the league started play in 2009, not ideal timing.
I was on a conference call last week that looked at the impact on youth sports. It will be considerable, especially for low-income kids and marginalized communities. There’s hope that youth sports can be re-imagined to address some of these issues, but I am skeptical: I have a feeling we’ll be so anxious to get back our `old lives’ that not a lot of thought will be put into what happens when normalcy returns.
This is a really tough time for nearly all professions. Over the past few days three friends were let go from their jobs. Another was furloughed.
There are a lot of ways you can help support the folks who cover women’s sports and sports in general, if you are able. But I realize that subscriptions may be a luxury to some of you right now.
The Athletic is offering a 90-day free trial. My local paper, The Oregonian, is offering digital subscriptions for $10 a month. The L.A. Times has a $1 for eight weeks deal. The New York Times is a buck a week. (Editor’s note: And we are still offering out first birthday discount.)
My fear is that when we come out of this, women’s sports coverage will not come back to the level we enjoyed last summer during the World Cup. So if you have a couple of bucks to share, please consider supporting a site that you particularly value.
And it goes without saying: Click on the links below. Show editors there’s an interest.
One last thing: Hope y’all are staying safe. I am actually loving the time I’m able to spend in the garden. And it’s been nice to meet (from 6 feet away) some of my neighbors while out on walks. But the social distancing is hard, because I’m unable to see by boyfriend (My daughter works at a grocery store and I don’t want to put him at risk). But this will pass, and the more we do now, the sooner that day will come.
One last thing I’ve been meaning to tell you: My email filter is really strict. If you try to reach me and I don’t respond, don’t take it personally! My DMs are open on Twitter so you can reach me there, too. Howard also forwards emails to the IX. (Editor’s note: I do! TheIXMail@gmail.com)
(Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Goal.com’s Ryan Tolmich looks at USWNT player development.
Graham Hays for ESPN on U.S. Soccer’s change in strategy.
ProSoccerUSA on the witness lists for the USWNT lawsuit.
Sports Illustrated opines on the top five players of all time for the USMNT and USWNT.
Alex Morgan spoke to Glamour about a host of things. The photos are amazing.
Kelley O’Hara spoke about how she’s doing with Yahoo Sports.
Carli Lloyd spoke to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times about the Olympic postponement.
The German women’s league is OK, for now. They’re looking at matches with no fans.
Goal.com looks at the best young players in the world.
Meg Linehan looks at the best players by number for The Athletic.
Nice story in The Athletic about women’s soccer in Peru.
Tweet of the week
Five at The IX: Meghan Klingenberg
Here’s a snippet of a chat I had this past week with Meghan Klingenberg about a whole bunch of stuff for a larger story I’m working on. We spoke about Re Inc., the company she formed with Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe.
You can check out the website here. The posters and art are amazing (I ordered one!) and Tobin Heath is a really talented artist.
The company was launched last year during the World Cup. It started with a unisex athletic wear line.
Annie: How did Re Inc. come about?
Meghan: It’s a little bit of a longer backstory, but I think it’s important. So I’m just gonna jump right in: In 2015, obviously we won the World Cup and it was like pretty awesome, right? You’re standing up there. And it’s the combination of all of your career goals coming to fruition is this one moment standing on this winner’s stand. There’s confetti coming down. People are cheering. You’re top of the world.
I was just thinking, like throughout this week-long period afterwards, I’m like, something feels off about this. What is that? I didn’t figure out what it was until maybe like a couple of weeks, maybe months later. I came to a conclusion that media rights holders, federations, FIFA, sponsors, are all generating revenue off our win. But the winners, the people that participate in the event, the athletes weren’t able to take advantage of their own hard work. And I thought that was really messed up.
So I started getting really involved in the union because I had this idea for a company, kind of built around our own likenesses and built around a shared vision, a shared goal. And unfortunately, we weren’t able to create that through the union with, 23, 24, up to 30 decision makers. It’s kind of like herding cats. We were unable to get everybody on the same path. So Christen, Tobin Pinoe and I got together and decided that this is something we really believed in and something that we wanted to put the work into. And that was how we came to be.
Annie: What were like your goals when you did this?
Klingenberg: Change the (freaking) world, Anne.
I think you know this group, we don’t do anything small, you know? But honestly, everybody has their own individual goals for the company. My individual goal is to create a company that’s so large and so influential that we can actually be tastemakers, influence policy and be able to actually change the status quo through our business practices. There’s a lot of things happening because of this coronavirus, and it’s hard to watch because you see all these people losing their jobs or not having paid sick leave or all of these different, I guess, economic safety nets that we don’t have.
I think it’s a shame that our country is the richest in the world and has people with billions and billions of dollars at the head of these companies but we can’t take care of our workers. So for me, that’s like really important, that we would treat our workers fairly with fair wages and paid leave, parental leave, whether that’s maternity or paternity. Things like that. Being able to change the status quo through being a large company, because without economic equality for women, or people of color, or people on the queer spectrum, or anybody that’s `other’ essentially — you’re not able to have true equality without economic equality. So that’s my personal individual goal. Everybody else has different goals through Re, but they all are along that same path. So mine is more business minded, Christen’s is more like spiritual and things like that, Tobin is more creative and Pinoe is more political, but essentially they’re all along the same path.