The prospect of capturing the attention of a wider audience in their home country through a television broadcast remains uncertain for the Filipinas. Nonetheless, the Philippine women’s national soccer team is hopeful that their inaugural appearance in the FIFA Women’s World Cup will have a lasting impact that extends beyond mere recognition in a nation where football isn’t the dominant sport.
In a recent interview featured on FIFA’s official website, Sarina Bolden expressed her belief that the team’s participation in the World Cup would raise awareness not only for women’s soccer in the Philippines but also worldwide. Bolden and her teammates eagerly anticipate the opportunity to compete against New Zealand, Switzerland, and Norway in the group-stage matches scheduled for next month. However, despite the significance of this milestone, local broadcasters have thus far been reluctant to secure the broadcast rights for the tournament, thereby casting doubt on whether the Filipinas’ historic journey will be televised in their home country.
The situation faced by the Filipinas is not unique, as even Japan, a country with a successful women’s team that emerged as champions in the 2011 edition, encounters similar challenges in obtaining broadcast rights for the tournament.
Fortunately, an agreement between FIFA and the European Broadcasting Union managed to avert a potential blackout of the tournament in some European countries. However, the same level of relief has not yet been realized for local football fans in the Philippines. If a last-minute agreement can be reached, it would be a welcome reprieve for these fans who eagerly await the opportunity to witness how the Filipinas fare against the world’s best teams. Otherwise, they might resort to streaming the matches through FIFA’s online service, incurring additional expenses for mobile data, or resorting to illegal sites laden with intrusive pop-ups.
Bolden highlights the prevailing lack of awareness surrounding the Philippine women’s national soccer team, expressing her desire for greater recognition and traction. She hopes that their participation in the World Cup will spark interest among younger generations and individuals of all ages, leading to increased involvement in soccer. However, achieving this goal becomes considerably more challenging without the aid of a local broadcast.
The decision by FIFA to pursue separate broadcast deals for the women’s tournament, distinct from the more prominent men’s edition, has contributed to the present predicament. While this approach may bring long-term benefits in terms of women’s soccer visibility and growth, it presents short-term challenges for countries like the Philippines and Japan, which face obstacles in securing local broadcast rights.
In conclusion, the Filipinas’ journey to the FIFA Women’s World Cup represents an opportunity for greater recognition and awareness of women’s soccer in the Philippines and worldwide. However, the absence of a local broadcast poses challenges in achieving these goals. As the team prepares to face formidable opponents, their hope of inspiring younger generations and expanding the sport’s popularity hinges on securing a broadcasting solution that enables wider accessibility for local fans.