the beautiful summer of women’s sport
Let’s be clear, beyond postures and goodwill, this is indeed the only principle of reality in the matter. While in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon, three million viewers had already signed up for the start of the Women’s Tour on France 2, the double will have watched Wednesday evening on TF1 the blue ones in the semi-finals of the Euro de football. No matter their elimination, no one would have imagined such success only a few seasons ago.
« Tombboys »
Like in the early 1970s, when Elisabeth Bougeard-Tournon still had to justify not being a boy when it was time to put on her crampons. Pioneer of the genre, the one who is now responsible for the French delegation to the Euro can measure the progress made since its beginnings. “I was 6 years old, and felt like a tomboy, since that’s how we were called. Like all the other girls at the time, it was with the boys that I started playing football. I was doing well, and I must admit that they accepted me fairly quickly. But above all, I was lucky to have parents who were very open on the subject, which was far from being the case for everyone. »
And the « television » God created the female footballer, even if it took 27 years between the first match broadcast in 1975 and the second.
And the « television » God created the woman footballer, even if it was still necessary to wait twenty-seven years between the first match broadcast in 1975 and the second. If money has no smell, it will have had sex for a long time. Loud, too loud, when television audiences remain the real nerve of this little war between men and women. Too bad if the appliance stores have not, as with the men’s competitions, multiplied the promotions on TV screens this time, the return on investment begins to weigh in the balance.
Thus, UEFA estimates the income earned by the Euro at 63 million euros. Far, very far, from the two billion dripping from its male version, of course, but according to the established formula, it’s not expensive and it can pay off big at the advertising break. Against all the matches for Canal+ and the fourteen best posters on TF1, the two channels would have spent « only » 14 million euros.
The carrot and the stick, pleads in substance Élisabeth Bougeard-Tournon. “Undoubtedly, the injunctions of the CSA (now Arcom, Editor’s note) on television broadcasts have also made a lot of progress. According to the latest study to date, the time devoted to women’s sport represents more than 20% of sports broadcasts, compared to only 7% ten years ago.
No offense to Coubertin
“Afterwards, we are not going to tell stories, as far as football is concerned, it is progressing quietly. But I don’t think it’s a lark mirror. At the very least, on the other hand, a magnifying mirror, if we judge by the modest attendance at the Euro stadiums: 8,500 spectators and around a hundred French supporters during the French women’s first match, less than 10,000 for their quarter-final victory. A distorting mirror also at the time of the accounts: in the event of a final victory, the players would each have pocketed a bonus of 24,000 euros, or fifteen times less than that promised last year to their male colleagues.
Alas, aren’t these major competitions finally the tree hiding a forest of fields abandoned to their own fate, while France now has more than six million women licensed in a federation? If they monopolize more than half of the workforce of so-called “outdoor” sports, they are still largely under-represented in team sports (17%).
After the summer, the TV program could encourage other vocations, with in particular in October on TF1 the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Discipline which will have known since last fall a spectacular increase (+22%) of its female troops (1). No offense to Coubertin, two years from the Paris Olympics, for whom the main thing was obviously not to participate in gender equality. “The Games should be reserved for men, the role of women being to crown the victors,” he wrote in the summer of 1912.