Updated Jul 20, 2023, 6:53am EDT

What to know as the Women’s World Cup kicks off in New Zealand

New Zealand's Betsy Hassett and Gabi Rennie celebrate after the match REUTERS/David Rowland
REUTERS/David Rowland

Sign up for Semafor Flagship: The daily global news briefing you can trust. Read it now.

Title icon

The News

The Women’s World Cup kicked off on Thursday with record crowds in New Zealand, which is co-hosting the FIFA soccer tournament with Australia.

New Zealand beat Norway 1-0 in the opening match, its first ever victory at a Women’s World Cup, in a game that drew 42,000 fans — a record for any soccer match in the country, men’s or women’s.

We’ve collected analysis you should read on the World Cup and women’s soccer.

Title icon


  • Men’s soccer has historically dominated headlines and sports channels. In recent years, the popularity of women’s soccer has boomed — but compensation for female athletes is lagging behind that of their male counterparts. Players at the Women’s World Cup will earn just 25 cents on the dollar when compared to the men’s World Cup last year, according to one analysis. That’s an improvement: They earned just eight cents on the dollar in the 2019 tournament. — CNN
  • Around 2 billion people could tune in for the Women’s World Cup, a jump from the 1.1 billion that tuned in last time. Alongside the rise in viewership is a growing investment opportunity, business columnist Adam Minter argues. “This year’s Women’s World Cup is a reminder of just how culturally relevant and lucrative" women’s sports have become, he writes. “For investors keen to get a piece of the global sports market, the best opportunity is now in front of them.” — Bloomberg
  • Women’s teams have long challenged gender norms, and dozens of World Cup players identify as LGBTQ+. “The struggle for gender equality and women’s rights is deeply embedded in the fabric of women’s soccer,” Stefan Lawrence, a senior lecturer in sport business management at Leeds Beckett University, said in a recent interview. This means that women’s soccer has attracted many players who feel welcomed by the inclusive environment it offers, and women and non-binary teams are also flourishing on amateur-level pitches. — Time
Title icon

Know More

The U.S. team is the current favorite to win this year’s title, defending two back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2019. But they face stiff competition from Germany and Sweden, who rank second and third in the world respectively.

If the U.S. can pull off another victory this year, they will be the first team in FIFA history to win three titles in a row.