Daily Cover: Could Covid-19 Destroy NWSL?

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Before the coronavirus put a pause on sport league's across the world, the NWSL had started gaining momentum in fan interest. Now as the sports world continues adjust from the effects of COVID-19, fans of soccer are hoping there will be a time when the sport returns back to normalcy. SI's Stephanie Apstein discusses whether the coronavirus could crash the growing popularity of the National Women's Soccer League. 

Kaitlin O'Toole: The coronavirus has halted the sports world for two months, and now we are asking the question, could it crash The National Women's Soccer League. Joining me now to discuss this is SI writer Stephanie Epstein. Stephanie, there was a ton of interest in women's soccer after the World Cup. The NWSL even landed a deal with CBS to Air Games on network TV. The timing of this virus, though, has changed a lot. Where does the league stand now?

NWSL

Stephanie Apstein: Yeah, the timing. Everyone agrees the timing is really rough because United States people seem to be really into women's soccer around the time of the World Cup and around the time of the Olympics and for women's soccer. Those are staggered such that every three years there's one. 

NWSL

And then the next year is the other. So that 12 months in between is really important for women's soccer. And they were really hopeful after their World Cup win and leading into an Olympics in which they were favored. They had hoped that they could really gains momentum among fans. Unfortunately, this is sort of the opposite is happening right now. And I think people are a little bit there. They're hopeful, but there are a little concerned that if this goes on for too long, people might forget about the NWSL.

Lisa-Baird-NWSL-Commissioner

Kaitlin O'Toole: Right. They were going into their eighth season of operating. People involved that this would be the best stretch yet. I mean, what do you think? Is there still a chance for growth?

Stephanie Apstein: I think there is a chance for growth. I think a lot of these teams have done a great job engaging fans, reminding people that they're here. They are also missing soccer, a lot of good sort of social contact. And then are one of the players I spoke to pointed out to me that, you know, women's soccer, the NWSL is not the only thing that got put on hold. The Olympics are also on hold so they can maintain some of that excitement when we finally do see a new one.

Kaitlin O'Toole: Good point. Very good point. Stephanie, thank you so much for your insight. We appreciate it. Thanks for having me. 

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