When you think about attending a collegiate sporting event, what events come to mind? A football game, for sure, maybe a men’s hockey or baseball game. All male-dominated sports.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, the University of Maine football team had their first home game of the season and according the box score published by Go Black Bears, there were 8,786 people in attendance at the game. There is no doubt that it was a great game and the team fought their hardest against James Madison University, eventually falling in the fourth quarter.
On Sept. 24 another sports team started their team at home in front of a much smaller crowd; according the the box score on Go Black Bears, only 243 people saw this team make not only their home debut, but also their season debut, showcasing both new and returning talent. This game was as action packed as the football’s home opener, with both teams showcasing extreme athleticism. So why did this game have a much sparser audience?
What could possibly cause an 8,500 person difference at this game, when compared to the football game? Was it a more expensive game? Was it at the same time as the football game?
The game with lower attendance was a women’s hockey game. This is Maine; hockey is the sport that many Mainers live for. Men’s hockey, that is.
According to Go Black Bears, the men’s hockey team has never recorded a home game attendance lower than 3,200 people and has, in the past, recorded an attendance of over 5,000. Why does men’s hockey recieve so much more publicity and attention than the women’s team?
Both teams play the same sport with the same rules, so why is one so much more popular than the other?
In a society where people are always fighting for feminism and the equality of men and women, our attendance at sporting events does not reflect this trend. In the sport that Maine is known for, we see a 3,000 person difference in the attendance of a sport based on one factor only: gender.
It’s not just the attendance of these sports that shows the inequalities. The media coverage of the sports is completely disproportionate. At the women’s games there are people from one or two publications covering the game, whereas at the men’s games the press box is often full to the brim, spilling over onto the other side with various publications.
People may argue that men’s hockey is more interesting to watch than women’s, but I think that it is safe to say that anyone who watched the games on Sept. 24 and 25 would argue that women’s games can be just as interesting.
At the last home women’s soccer game, the recorded attendance was a measly 74 people. The University of Maine field hockey team is ranked 20th in the country and yet at their last home game, there were only 657 people in attendance.
If we really want to value all athletes then we really need to look at our coverage and attendance at sporting events; not just the men’s hockey and football games, all the games. As Black Bears we need to support all our fellow classmates who are putting their heart and soul out on the field and ice representing the blue and white.