Annise Parker sees sexism in Rorschach test

I am amused by Houston Mayor Annise Parker's recent tweet:

Yes, Annise Parker really thinks that sexism is behind lack of Houston Chronicle coverage for women's pro soccer. You. Can't. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

Here's a brief history of professional women's soccer in America over the last decade:

2003 -- A major attempt at a women's league named the WUSA folds with cumulative losses of $100 million over 3 years. $100 million! Keep in mind that these losses occurred despite the attention from the US victory in the 99 Women's World Cup. The WUSA featured those stars, plus the only women's soccer player to ever transcend the sport: Mia Hamm.
2003-2009 -- no first division pro league in America.
2009-2011 -- A new league, the WPS, tries to make a go of it with 7 teams. The logo is a silhouette of of Mia Hamm. It falls apart after the 3rd season. Average attendance is under 4000. For comparison's sake, the Sugar Land Skeeters (who? exactly!) averaged almost 7000 a game in 2009.
Spring 2013 -- Another league called the NWSL launches. Considering that the salary cap per team is just $200,000 for 20 players, it is tough to call this a "major league." Even less promising, the median attendance is just 3000 during the first season.

Yes, you read that correctly: the average player salary is $10,000 for about half a year's work, and the minimum salary is just $6000. Sure, as a women's soccer fan myself, I'd love it if people went to games and if the Chron covered it. But I'm not going to delude myself that the NWSL is a major league. Nobody would believe that spin.

Calling this a "pro" sports team almost seems like a bit of a stretch, and it hardly sounds like front page news...even for a paper like the Chronicle with a long history of boosterism.

Annise Parker's tweet reveals more about herself than it does about the Chronicle. I'm almost surprised she isn't protesting for a "living wage" for the NWSL players? I suppose I shouldn't give her any ideas.

Posted by Evan @ 12/15/13 02:21 PM


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