Jul 11, 2023

Megan Rapinoe on Pay Equity and Increased Popularity of Women’s Soccer Transcript

Megan Rapinoe on Pay Equity and Increased Popularity of Women's Soccer Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsMegan RapinoeMegan Rapinoe on Pay Equity and Increased Popularity of Women’s Soccer Transcript

Speaking at U.S. Media Day, which is a preview of the games for members of the press, the two-time World Cup champion touted the push for equality among women’s sports. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

Can I ask more broadly, just in terms of interest in the women’s game here in the US. As you know, it’s grown exponentially over the course of your career. And that’s been hard fought, hard-earned, on the back of a lot of incredible success. But this World Cup represents a chance for millions of more people to be aware of the team, join the other legions of fans. I wonder if you can reflect on this moment for women’s soccer in the United States, in terms of what’s at stake in this tournament and for the years ahead.

Megan Rapinoe (00:30):

This one does feel different than other World Cups. I think, just in general, the zoom out picture around women’s sports right now feels like we’re out of just the dogged fight phase. Not that there’s not a lot still to fight for. But the acceptable cognitive dissonance, and just denial of what we actually are and how incredible women’s sports are, how popular it is, how profitable we can be, what the business actually is. I think those days are pretty much long gone. And that would be quite a tough and embarrassing position to still keep.

So I think this World Cup feels almost like a show up and show out kind of vibe. I think it’s going to be incredible, I said before. I think that this World Cup is going to be incredible, having it being co-hosted by Australia, New Zealand, huge sporting countries. We’ve seen the numbers around ticket sales. Just the quality on the pitch, better than it ever has been. It feels like this is a real opportunity for us. Actually, let me rephrase that. We’ve always taken the opportunity to show exactly who we are, not just our team, but the women’s game in general. But it feels like a real opportunity to blow the lid off, just in terms of fanfare, and media, and sponsorships, and the larger business around this sport.

I think everyone is hip to the game now. And understands that this is not somewhere that’s just like, “Oh, we should cheer for the Women’s World Cup because that’s the right thing to do.” It’s like this is actually a terrible business move if you’re not getting in on it, if you’re not investing, if you’re not putting resources to it. And if you’re not tuning in, you’re missing out on a massive cultural moment in so many ways. And I think, as always with women’s sports, we’re always doing both. And I think that’s something that we’re really proud of. And I think something that just totally differentiates us, from a fan base perspective, then than any men’s sports. But I think also from a business perspective, I think we know that for bottom line, in a shocking turn of events, equality is actually good for business. And I think that that’s something special that the women’s game has. And this feels like the premier event. It’s the biggest women’s sporting event in the world by far, bar none, as I said.

And I think that this is a real opportunity of a paradigm shift globally. I think we’re having it a lot in the US. But I think just globally, you’ve seen what’s happened since last World Cup, whether it’s stadiums selling out, or the Women’s Final Four, or a cricket league in India. There’s so many examples of this. And it feels like this is a paradigm shift, or a moment we’ll look back to, and say, “Nothing was ever the same after this Women’s World Cup.” And what we’re going to be able to do. And yeah, all bets on the Women’s World Cup. Money’s in on that. I just think it’s going to be an incredible event. And as you said, it is hard fought and hard won by us, by our players, and our players’ association, and our federation being on the right side of things now. But, also, to all the other teams and all the other vested interests happening in the Women’s World Cup. I think everybody is, thankfully, pushing in the right direction and pushing in the same direction now. And sky’s the limit from here.

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