After the Sky beat the Phoenix Mercury 80 to 74, it was an exciting and significant victory for the city, fans, and women athletes.
“I was super excited. I remember sitting on the tip of my seat and just calling my parents after the game was over, just telling them like Chicago Sky won and everything, so I’m super excited,” said DePaul University women’s basketball player Aneesah Morrow.
Historically, women’s sports haven’t received as much attention from fans or the media as men’s. Women athletes are also often paid significantly less, and at times don’t get the star treatment we see for men. After the Sky’s championship win Sunday and the packed celebration that followed in Millennium Park, athletes we spoke with say, people want to watch women’s sports, and their calling on major networks to put them on TV.
“Put women’s sports on TV, viewership is up, ratings are up. To me, it’s plain and simple, put it on TV. We have media covering them, we have merchandise selling it’s a huge time to be a women’s basketball fan, said Armelia Horton, assistant coach for the Loyola University women’s basketball team.
Women athletes and coaches in the Chicago area say giving women sports players more coverage and airtime is also inspiring for young girls. For now, organizations like Girls In The Game, which provides sports and leadership programs for girls, say they try to bring the professional athletes to them.
“I think the more visibility the better, because for us, and for them coming out to Girls In The Game, girls who probably haven’t been able to see them on TV at that time were still able to have that interaction, so as much exposure that we can give to the young girls, so they can see that it’s possible to get on that level, so I think we’re moving in the right direction, but we still have a good amount of way to go,” said Alecia Ivery, the director of innovation and training for Girls In The Game.