On Sun, the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup will kicked off, bad pun-intended, in Germany with the 32 matches airing live on ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN is televising the event for the fifth time in a row, but this year espnW.com, a newly launched website and offshoot of ESPN aimed at women, will provide additional coverage. To draw visitors to the site, espnW recruited past soccer stars, including Mia Hamm, to provide personal blogs, commentary and interviews.
The launch of espnW prompted criticism from some who feared it would segregate coverage of women’s sports, but Hamm sees it as a great environment for women sports fans to go and learn and see things from a women’s perspective. “I feel blessed and excited to contribute,” Hamm said during a call with reporters.
Hoping this excitement carries through to fans, ESPN has invested in a mobile studio with the ability to broadcast from around Germany. Will Germany bring in as many fans as South Africa? It’s doubtful, but having Hamm and fellow teammates on board can’t hurt. ESPN3 will offer simulcast of all matches, while ESPN’s mobile platforms will provide coverage of 26 matches.