US Women's National Team (USWNT) star Megan Rapinoe believes the upcoming 2023 Women's World Cup will serve as the launching point for global business opportunities for the sport and beyond.
"It feels like a real opportunity to blow the lid off just in terms of fanfare and media and sponsorships and the larger business around this sport," Rapinoe said speaking at a media event in Carson, California, ahead of the July 20 start of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Rapinoe predicts the tournament will serve as a game-changing event for women's sport across the globe.
"This is not just: 'Oh, we should cheer for the Women's World Cup because that's the right thing to do.' This is actually terrible business move if you're not getting in on it, if you're not investing, if you're not putting resources to it, and if you're not tuning in, sort of, missing out on a massive cultural moment in so many ways," the 37-year-old said.
"I think we know that for bottom line, equality is actually good, 'in a shocking turn of events', equality is actually good for business."
FIFA, soccer's global governing body and the tournament's organizers, have already announced that the 2023 Women's World Cup is set to become the most attended standalone women's sporting event in history.
It said earlier this month that it had sold 1,032,884 tickets at the time, overtaking those of previous editions of the competition.
"(It's a) paradigm shift globally. I think we're having it a lot in the US but I think just globally you've seen what's happened since the last World Cup, whether it's stadiums selling out, or the women's Final Four, or a cricket league in India," Rapinoe continued.
"There are so many examples like this. It feels like this is a paradigm shift or a moment we'll look back to and say 'nothing was ever the same after this women's World Cup,' and what we're going to be able to do. All bets on the women's World Cup - I just think it's going to be an incredible event."
Rapinoe needs to play in just one more international match to reach an impressive 200 caps for the USWNT. She has been on the forefront fighting for equality within sports and beyond.
The two-time defending champion USWNT won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019 and could become the first team – male or female – to win three World Cups in a row with a victory later this year.
The Women's World Cup runs from July 20 through August 20.
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