Does media attention help a football team win?

Sold-out matches, millions of viewers, and the king and queen as spectators in the stadium: as they keep winning, the Dutch national female football team is gaining attention all over the country. Will this help them perform better? Radio 1 asked EUR sports & media researcher Jacco van Sterkenburg.

‘Some players are dedicated to showing that they’re not playing second-rate football. They want to point that out to both the country as a whole as well as to certain football journalists. The chance to do that, with all this attention, can be an extra motivation to them,’ says Van Sterkenburg. ‘But the positive vibe doesn’t mean they’ve stepped out of the shadow of male football. I see many media outlets still comparing the two: women spend less time on the ground, men have more technical skills.’

That’s why, according to Sterkenburg, the women need to demonstrate their championship is an independent event that stands its own ground. ‘It should revolve around the sport, not about all those secondary things. But that goal is hard to achieve and can even add pressure.’


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