WOMEN'S WORLD CUP SETS DRAW; IS IT READY FOR PRIME TIME?
The Women's World Cup (WWC) held its draw during
halftime of Saturday night's match between the U.S. women
team and FIFA's World All-Stars -- won 2-1 by the World All-
Stars -- and played in front of 15,367 at Spartan Stadium in
San Jose. The draw gave the U.S. team a "relatively easy
route to the finals" of this summer's event, as it will play
Denmark, Nigeria and North Korea in the first group. The
"earliest" the U.S. team would play Norway or China -- the
world's "two other dominant teams" -- would be the July 10
final at the Rose Bowl (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/15).
During the draw, organizers switched the assignment of
China, because they wanted the team to play its opener in
the S.F. Bay Area, "which has a large Asian community" (AP,
2/15). In San Jose, Ann Killion wrote that while the U.S.
team has "been a draw all over" the U.S., "we still don't
know what kind of interest will be forthcoming" for non-U.S.
teams. So far, 215,000 tickets have been sold, with another
500,000 needed for a sellout (MERCURY NEWS, 2/15). In DC,
Jack Kent Cooke Stadium Venue Dir Heather Quinn said that a
quarterfinal doubleheader featuring the U.S. team "could
attract" between 40,000-50,000. WWC President Marla Messing
estimated that around 25,000 tickets have been sold for the
Washington matches (WASHINGTON POST, 2/15).
TRECKER STATES ALL NOT WELL WITH WWC: On ESPN.com,
Jamie Trecker writes that this weekend's WWC kickoff event
"did little" to allay his "fears that this event may not
perform quite as planned." While the reports of 215,000
tickets sold could be "inflated," Trecker adds that TV
"remains a sticking point," as "fewer than a dozen" of the
32 games will be seen on ABC or ESPN, while the rest are on
ESPN2, as "it seems that the network televising these games
has a far more subdued view of how this tournament will be
received." In addition, this weekend was "also ultimately
disappointing in terms of media turnout" (ESPN.com, 2/16).