By Michael Lewis
Sorry I am a bit late to the party, but I had to finish my coverage of the latest U.S. men’s national team debacle (which I fear could go on for some time).
The National Women’s Soccer League’s decision to hold its championship game at 9 a.m. Pacific time in Portland, Ore. on CBS TV and Paramount+ is egregious and one of the worst self-inflicted wounds and own goals of the year.
It is an insult to the players, the cornerstone of the league, and game time should be changed immediately.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why – CBS has college football that day and that gets better ratings. Hence, welcome to a 9 a.m. PT kickoff.
I cannot figure out why NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird agreed to such a deal.
It certainly wasn’t explained in the press release, which was dumped at 5:04 p.m. ET on Sunday.
“We’re excited to bring the NWSL Championship back to Providence Park,” Baird said in a statement. “Portland is a fantastic soccer city with a passionate fanbase, and we’re confident the stadium will provide a wonderful atmosphere to celebrate the culmination of the 2021 season.”
Nothing about why the time of the game was stated in the release.
This isn’t the first time this year, the league had scored an own goal.
It allowed Sky Blue FC to change the name of its team to NJ/NY Gotham FC only weeks before the start of the season. I know one outside concern that was furious with the name change because promotions had to be switched to the new logo and name at the 11th hour. That should have been done last fall or during the winter.
I can tackle that subject in another story.
For now, the NWSL Championship game deserves better, the players deserve better.
If league leaders can’t get it right for the players, then get out of the way and find someone else who will.