New York | Despite the glowing reviews greeting the HBO documentary Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, the reality is that women’s sports still struggle to find a place in the U.S. marketplace, especially on TV, according to the Journal News of White Plains, New York. ESPN says that 70 to 75 percent of the sports TV audience is male; these numbers drop only slightly for leagues such as the Women’s National Basketball Association. Part of the explanation lies in realities of domestic life. “If you look at something as banal as Thanksgiving dinner,” says Northern Arizona University sociologist Doug Degher, “women are in the kitchen, it doesn’t matter if they’re liberated or not.”
Exceptions to the anemic TV ratings for women’s sports are major events such as the Women’s World Cup or NCAA women’s basketball championships and events in which women participate with men: Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie in golf and Danica Patrick in Indy-car racing have attracted large interest. “You see how much more recognition we get when we are in a men’s arena,” said Billie Jean King, whose long-ago victory over Bobby Riggs provided a boost for women’s tennis.