A Movement to New Voices and Faces

By Khee Lee, CMO of Kiswe Mobile

If you’re American, you’re probably still reveling in the US Women’s National Soccer Team winning the World Cup in Lyon. By the way, it’s the second time a country has won back-to-back World Cup trophies.

The magic of the Women’s World Cup was inspiring to the world - sport is not just about men, but it’s for women, men, and anybody from any corner of the world. Watching the skill and quality of futbol coming out of France for the past month will have inspired the world’s youth and only further elevate the world’s game. In addition to the play, the all-female referees were also inspiring to watch, as they handled every foul and controversy with great aplomb. 

So...enough with the Americans winning - let’s talk about the other winners: FIFA and Fox Sports. Fox Sports did a fantastic job with their broadcast coverage of the Women’s World Cup with female talent that included a diverse lineup of commentators like Ariane Hingst, Kate Gill, Eni Aluko, and others, which had Alexi Lalas trying to keep up with their sharp critiques and insights. But it begs the question, does it have to be a female specific sporting event to bring in female commentators? We’re starting to see a movement of change, which was most pronounced this past fall during the NFL’s Thursday Night Football broadcast on Amazon Prime with Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer becoming the first all-women team to call NFL games.

What gets overlooked is that even though they didn’t play American football, they have the knowledge, insight, and wisdom to go toe-to-toe with the older gentlemen in the TV broadcast booth. Don’t forget, Andrea Kremer is an award recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for broadcasting, and is a correspondent at the NFL Network, while Hannah Storm is an award-winning journalist, producer, and director. 

What we’re seeing is a movement to new voices and fresh faces for traditional sports. The viewing experience for almost every sport on TV is generally retired athletes providing color commentary teamed with an older play-by-play commentator, and that formula has been the norm since the beginning of sports broadcast. However, we’re living during a time when the one-size-fits-all concept is eroding and viewers want more from the broadcast, whether it’s different viewing angles, or different commentary. We live in a multicultural and diverse world, and that means audiences want a broadcast experience that caters to their wants (unique perspective) and needs (their language). The future of sports broadcasting is exciting and it’s great to see the NFL and Fox Sports push the envelope towards a movement for new voices and faces. I’m excited and hope you are too, because that future is now.

Rachel Rubin