Click to reveal the popularity, staggering or otherwise, of women's pro surfing v the men…
Transparency is a fine thing, in biz, relationships and so forth. Until it isn’t.
And just as YouTube views demonstrated a less than y0u’d expect viewership of WSL event clips, Facebook Live has done something no other app, news organisation or company has been able to do: directly compare viewership numbers between the men’s and women’s events at J-Bay.
This would normally be little more than a curio, a side-note, if it weren’t for the fury over a recent junior event where the winner of the girl’s received a winner’s cheque that was exactly half her male counterpart.
(In little-boy-standing-on-the-corner-with-newspaper-bag voice, “Reeeeeeead all about it!”)
So, in similar waves, on the same week, with the same infrastructure, how did the women rate against the men? I figured it’d be roughly half. Five k or so. I don’t miss a heat with Carissa, Gilmore, Ho or Peterson. The rest I don’t watch. By force of numbers I presumed the men would be twice as popular.
From a glitchy start (don’t worry, I called around to see if it was just my connection), numbers hovered around 500, gradually got to a thousand, climbed…climbed…and peaked, as far as I could see, at around 2200 heads watching the English feed.
The best I saw on the Spanish feed was 302. The Portuguese around 350.
I emailed a pal in the UK who replied: “Ok, you ready for this. In a marquee Rd 2 match up between Carissa and Courtney, the numbers are hovering between 240-270! Staggering.”
It’s here the WSL will interject, of course, and remind us that these numbers are geographically specific. Two thousand in Australia, 302 Spanish viewers in Australia, 350 Portuguese and Brazilians watching in Australia and so on.
And, yet, in the Australian feed.
“Hello from sunny Ireland!” wrote Paddy Keane.
And the names of fans liking the feed were distinctly monocultural. Was Australia’s famously surf-crazy Arabic community all tuned in to the women? Hello Mustapha! Hello Fatima!
At some point during the feed, the WSL switched their app back onto live streaming.
Did that drain the viewer numbers?
In Australia, was the nation tuned into the broadcast on Fox Sports?
A few minutes ago, and unprompted, a noted professional surfer texted me and asked: “Is the WSL or dead or is FB that’s dead? Or both? So fascinating how podcasts are so much bigger than everything.”
Still, the numbers aren’t definitive. Tonight, howevs, and thanks to an IT pro, we’re going to get numbers from every continent.
Stay tuned, as they say in the classics.