Shortly after the conclusion of the Women's World Cup earlier this summer, a friend suggested to me that it signaled the long-awaited arrival of soccer as a mainstream sport in the U.S. I thought a second, remembering the commercials around the game and the way the television cameras shot the crowd. Then I responded that I thought it wasn't really the long-awaited arrival of soccer, but the emergence of women's sports into the mainstream of American culture.
This is something of an exaggeration. But the summer of the World Cup is perhaps a perfect time to think through the position of women's sports in global society. Nancy Lough
and Andrea N. Geurin
do just that in their new edited Routledge Handbook of the Business of Women's Sport
(Routledge, 2019). Lough and Guerin bring together forty different authors to survey the status of women's sports in 2019. The essays range from discussions of the history of women's sports to analyses of media representation of women in sports to the economics and management of women's sports. Collectively, it is a remarkable accomplishment. Lough and Guerin offer a comprehensive survey of the field while pointing to future questions and topics of research. The coverage is scholarly, but with an eye to the political and sports culture in which women's sports exists. Anyone interested in understanding the business of women's sports should start here.
Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including
The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994, published by W. W. Norton Press, and (with Abigail Perkiss)
Changing the Game: Title IX, Gender and Athletics in American Universities, to be published by W. W. Norton in November 2019.