NWSL Exec Dir Cheryl Bailey Weighs In On League Launch, Obstacles
National Women’s Soccer League Exec Dir Cheryl Bailey said she was “surprised given that we had four-and-a-half months to pull this off that we were able to even attempt" live streaming of matches during the league's opening weekend, according to Richard Farley of NBCSPORTS.com. She added, “Like anything, anybody who started anything, who’s been involved with anything from the ground knows, it’s putting in that hard work. Working through, trouble-shooting the (problems) that you get.” Farley asked about “dealing with frustrations born from devoted women’s soccer fans’ high expectations.” Bailey: “Those that want to be part of this journey are going to have to take a little bit of step back, just like we have as a league. We’re not at the biggest stadiums. We (don’t have) expectations that we’re going to achieve our final goals today. We’re building (toward) those goals. People have to appreciate the fact that we sold out two stadiums this weekend. We had good attendance at the other two, and we had four great games.” She said, “Our first obvious objective, we needed to launch the league. And that created more time spent on just getting everything in place. Getting to where we were this past weekend, to have the teams that were on the field, great games that were played.” Bailey said of the league’s outlook, “Now we need to continue to balance that. There are some things to work through … but also look to the future. We’re going to get this launched and we’re going to get a little bit under our belts. But we will, in fact in the next couple of months, take a look at where opportunities may lie as well” (NBCSPORTS.com, 4/15).
LOOKING AT THE LAUNCH: In DC, Steven Goff wrote the NWSL “has had to hit the ground running -- in steel-toe construction boots.” He noted “positive vibes have greeted this small-scale circuit.” Still, the launch is “not going to be seamless,” as some markets will “draw well throughout the four-month season (Portland and Western New York, for instance), while others will likely face greater challenges (Chicago and New Jersey).” There is “no standard TV coverage and real-time information is difficult to come by unless you attend the games” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/15).