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EVERYTHING CAME UP ROSES FOR U.S. WOMEN'S TEAM AT PASADENA
Published July 12, 1999
After the U.S. defeated China to capture the Women's World Cup (WWC) Saturday before 90,185 fans at the Rose Bowl, USA TODAY's Gary Mihoces reports that the USSF "increased the bonus pool" for the 20 U.S. players from $250,000 to $1M. USSF General Secretary Hank Steinbrecher: "We caught lightning in a bottle" (USA TODAY, 7/12). WWC President & CEO Marla Messing "presented the players" with the check that averaged $50,000 per player. Messing: "We got together with the Federation and we found there was unanimity that this was the right thing to do. What [the U.S.] players did is beyond anyone's expectations. ... They deserved to be compensated more fairly than what they were getting." In DC, Amy Shipley adds that the WWC "expects a surplus" between $2-7M from the event (WASHINGTON POST, 7/12). Messing, on the success of the WWC: "It struck a chord. I think it's going to take some time to reflect and figure out what that chord was. Something superkinetic happened" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/12). FIFA Dir of Communications Keith Cooper: "We have to admit, we never thought it would be this successful" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 7/11). TIME's Bill Saporito writes that the event was "carefully managed and almost perfectly marketed by the" WWC (TIME, 7/19). ABC's Robin Roberts' epilogue after Saturday's Final: "I never thought I'd see something like this ... women athletes being accepted and embraced at this magnitude. When I was a little girl growing up, I dreamed of seeing a moment like this." Interviewed during halftime of Saturday's Final, President Bill Clinton spoke on the WWC's impact: "I think it's really going to have a bigger impact than most people realize now." More Clinton: "In some ways, it's the biggest sporting event of the last decade because it's new, it's different for Americans" ("Women's World Cup Final," 7/10). CUP CRAZINESS OR OVERHYPE? A USA TODAY editorial runs under the header, "A Defining Moment For Women's Sports" (USA TODAY, 7/12). A N.Y. TIMES editorial states the U.S. "players have taken women's sports to a new level" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). The AP's Jim Litke: "No group of athletes was more accessible, more articulate or down-to-earth than this one" (AP, 7/10). In Denver, Vicki Michaelis: "America right now is a soccer nation" (DENVER POST, 7/10). In San Jose, Ann Killion: "Every step of the way, accepted beliefs about soccer and women's sports had to be abandoned. Every step of the way, standards were created" (MERCURY NEWS, 7/11). In St. Paul, George Dohrmann; "To say that this was the finest hour in women's sports history is to be obtuse and nearsighted. It was bigger. It was one of the finest moments in sports" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 7/11). In Boston, John Powers: "This event was always about America and America's feelings not only about soccer but also about women. This was about gender equity" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/11). In Charlotte, David Scott wrote that the Final "signaled a new public awareness of women's soccer and, indeed, of women's athletics" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/11). REUTERS' Jill Serjeant: "22 women made soccer the coolest sport of the summer" (REUTERS, 7/10). But FSN's Jim Rome said Friday of the hype: "Enough already. It's soccer" ("The Last Word," 7/9). In N.Y., Filip Bondy wrote that the "final, scoreless victory ... was a terrible artistic failure, and probably did more to wreck the future of women's soccer than it did to boost the sport" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/12). But in Detroit, Drew Sharp: "When we overly hype to create an imaginary air of importance, we run the risk of eroding the splendor of the achievement" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 7/12). FAN FRIENDLY: In L.A., Helene Elliott puts "the unofficial" attendance for the WWC at 658,167, including Saturday's crowd, which was "the largest ever to attend a women's sporting event" (L.A. TIMES, 7/11). Scalpers "filled the streets asking up to" $1,000 a ticket for the Final (MERCURY NEWS, 7/11). In Boston, Powers & Springer wrote that WWC organizers had "projected ticket sales" of 475,000 before the tournament (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/10). In Miami, Michelle Kaufman reports that the WWC generated more than $100M in licensed merchandise sales, and more than 700 journalists covered the Final (MIAMI HERALD, 7/11).