Sports Illustrated analyst Andy Benoit has some thoughts on women's sports.
During Monday's USA-Colombia Women’s World Cup soccer game, Benoit tweeted a rather controversial observation, saying, “Women are every bit as good as men in general, better in many aspects, their sports are just less entertaining. TV ratings agree, btw.”
He continued, in tweets that have since been deleted, that “women’s sports in general not worth watching.”
According to Sports TV Ratings, Benoit couldn't be more wrong. The game he was tweeting about actually set a new ratings record for Fox Sports 1 with 4.7 million viewers tuning in to watch the game.
The comments outraged people on Twitter, with fans coming to the defense of women’s sports. Some pointed out Canada’s Women’s World Cup game had more viewers than the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup final.
Others tweeted about the entertainment value of women's tennis, like watching Serena Williams play: "Disregarding everything else (and there's plenty else), have you EVER seen Serena Williams play?"
ESPN's Keith Olbermann even called Benoit the "worst person" in the sports world:
"Never mind the sexism and the condescension and everything else. Use the Google next time!"
While women's sports generally average lower viewership than men's sports, ESPN reports about 34 percent of people it surveyed considered themselves WNBA fans — that's more than Professional Bull Riding, Arena Football and the PGA.
The Economist says women's sports suffer from a bit of a Catch-22 — fans wanting more media coverage and sponsorship while media and sponsors want more interested fans.
Benoit later tweeted an apology after receiving backlash on social media: "My sincere apologies for last night’s senseless tweets. I got carried away responding to playful ribbing. ... 100% mistake on my part, for which I’m deeply sorry."
Sports Illustrated has not said if he'll be punished for the tweets.