It wasn’t the usual scene at Boston City Hall Plaza this week when dozens of faces were concentrated on a jumbo television screen, rooting for the U.S. women’s soccer team playing against Spain in the FIFA World Cup.
Although the event was taking place in Paris, a crowd gathered on the outdoor plaza to take in the action. Many took root, sitting along the far-reaching stone walls of the plaza as the game played on TV in front of them.
Some people were on work breaks while others came to enjoy the weather as a summer breeze floated through the air. But a significant number in the crowd were either adoring fans or sideline hobbyists of the sport.
A few were savvy enough to know the stats – that the U.S. had, up until that point, played three separate matches, and scored 18 total goals for the year. But even those who don’t follow soccer agreed that women’s sports are reaching more audiences than ever.
According to FIFA’s website, global interest has hit new highs in their women’s World Cup series. As of June 22, digital views of the World Cup have reached 433 million alone. And in the U.S., television views have reached approximately 50 million as of June 17.
Many in the crowd on the plaza shared snippets of how soccer influenced them and some shared that they played soccer in the past. They said the women on the U.S. team were an inspiration in their childhood days.
Men too joined in; fathers, even without their children, were excitedly watching the match as the U.S. team held the lead. They said soccer fields would be a more be a more inviting place for their daughters with role models like the U.S. women’s team.
At the end of the event, the U.S. won their match 2 to 1, and cheers exploded from the crowd, clearly wanting to see the women back for the finals on July 7.