U.S. Soccer fans cheer as the U.S. Women’s Soccer team defeats France 2-1 in the quarter finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup at a viewing party at Golden Gate Tap Room near Union Square on Friday, June 28, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

On Sports Media: World Cup final drawing major interest

On biggest single day in United States soccer history, Bay Area is ready to party

By Jim Williams

Special to S.F. Examiner

Sunday will be the biggest day ever for soccer in the United States. At 8 a.m., FOX 2 and Telemundo 48 will be airing the FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup Final with the U.S. taking on the Netherlands, live from Stade de Lyon in Lyon, France in hopes of defending their title as reigning Cup champs.

At 6 p.m., the U.S. men’s national team will take on with Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final at Chicago’s Soldier Field on FS1, and in Spanish on KDTV Univision 14 and KFSF UniMás 66. In a nice bridge between the two games, the Copa America final between the host Brazil and Peru is set to air at 1 p.m. on Telemundo 48 as well as on ESPN +.

As we have reported in this column before, there are plenty of bars and cafés throughout the Bay Area that will be opening early and airing all the soccer action from 8 a.m. to about 10 p.m., so, it will be easy to find an area pub to watch the triple-header, but some Bay Area soccer fans are embracing today and getting ready for all the fun in a larger setting.

Ian and Shari Pearlman are lawyers who live in Pacific Heights with their two daughters Hannah 10 and Sarah 12. Both girls love soccer, play in local soccer leagues and have been fans of the game since they were about 5.

“We as a family could not be more proud of the U.S. Women’s National team and we will be watching with over a dozen of the girls friends down at Civic Center Plaza on the outdoor big screen,” Ian said. “We will be up early as the girls will be painting their faces and donning their U.S. Women’s National Jerseys. The girls have watched every game the team has played in France and they are so inspiring to our girls and all girls nationally.”

Dan Weisman, the head of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Outlaws — the un-official national fan club of both the women’s and men’s national teams — was over the moon about the success of both the men’s and women’s national teams.

“It’s been very cool to see two Bay Area natives in Abby Dahlkemper and Tierna Davidson representing the USWNT and Nick Lima of the Earthquakes for the MNT,” Weisman said. “That sort of representation always helps lift up interest in local areas where fans have ties to local players. Dual finals and their watch party opportunities for the WNT and MNT are a great chance to show why the Bay Area continues to be such a great place for soccer and earn more opportunities to host national team matches.”

The FOX Sports team calling the women’s final will be JP Dellacamera and former U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder and two-time Olympic gold medalist the Bay Area’s own Aly Wagner.

On the Spanish side, it will be one of the most well-known voices in soccer — Andres Cantor — handling the play-by-play duties joined with former Mexican National Team and Chivas player Manuel Sol serving as the color analyst.

Pregame shows on both FOX 2 and Telemundo 48 will be live at 7 a.m. In Chicago, the crew will be John Strong handling the play-by-play duties, while Stu Holden doing the color and the sideline reporting belongs to Rodolfo Landeros.

Locally, Univision’s Gold Cup Coverage, FOX 2’s Women’s World Cup coverage and Telemundo’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup and Copa America saw huge ratings wins.

FOX 2 is very pleased with their ratings landing the sixth spot nationwide behind Kansas City, Washington, D.C., Austin, Tulsa and Jacksonville. In the major market category, they trail only D.C. in following the Women’s World Cup.

But perhaps the most underreported story comes in how well the Bay Area Spanish-language stations have done with this summer of soccer.

The local Univision outlet ranked consistently in the top-10 local markets nationally over the course of the entire tournament. The San Francisco Bay Area ranked fifth overall behind Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, and Miami with Sacramento holding down the seventh spot.

Meanwhile, Telemundo also has reason to be pleased as numbers across the board are up compared with the 2015 tournament, which was played in North America: The round-of-16 matches averaged 363,000 viewers across Telemundo, Universo, NBCSN and on digital outlets TelemundoDeportes.com, the network’s app, and the NBC Sports app. That is a 73% increase over 2015, which averaged 210,000 viewers. The U.S.-Spain match on June 24 posted a total audience of 740,000 to rank as the most-watched weekday FIFA Women’s World Cup match in Spanish-language–TV history.

No matter where you watch today’s action have fun and enjoy the history.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and broadcast executive. His Stream On with Jim Williams media column can be found four days a week on Apple News and the Stream On weekly podcast is on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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