Less than five kilometres from where some of Australia’s biggest talents will compete in the world’s biggest sporting event, there is barely a lick of excitement in the air.
In Sydney’s CBD, only four kilometres from where the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will commence Thursday evening, hardly any traces of the major global event could be detected on Wednesday, just hours ahead of kick-off.
Those walking through the city would be none the wiser that in mere hours up to 48,000 fans would fill out Allianz Stadium to watch Australia’s Matildas take on the Republic of Ireland.
Pedestrians commuting through the city would more likely be aware of the Barbie movie’s impending release than the huge event, which begins Thursday and will be played across Australia and New Zealand until August 20.
The sad observation was also made by sports writer Lavender Baj who revealed that on a recent expedition to her local shopping centre, “there was nothing”.
She had planned to produce a video showcasing all the Women’s World Cup promotional material in stores and throughout the centre but her mission was ultimately unsuccessful.
“I was going to film a video today where I went to my local shopping centre and I filmed in every store, all the merch setups, everything that was promoting women’s football, all the posters, billboards – you name it,” she said in a TikTok.
“However, there was nothing. Even at Best and Less … which is meant to be selling a bunch of Matildas gear, I asked at the counter and they had no idea.”
Ms Baj noted that outside of Rebel Sport, which unsurprisingly had a “pretty good set up”, stationary store Smiggle had a few things and Big W had “a little bit”.
“But realistically, it was so poor,” she said.
“In the rest of the shopping centre there was no posters, there was nothing. There was one billboard as I was leaving that was a CommBank ad with Sam Kerr in it, but even that wasn’t promoting the game.”
The attempts were sub-par considering the tournament has been regarded the biggest sporting event on Australia’s calendar since the Olympics.
There were some efforts made in the city though, including a big soccer ball, a player displayed down the side of AON’s high-rise building, and a promo on a digital billboard.
Even hospitality venues seemed to be ignoring the event.
“Am I wrong in assuming that cafes should’ve promoted this. If I had a cafe, I’d have the Sam Kerr eggs benedict special, the Alex Chidiac latte … I would be getting around it,” she said.
Viewers argued in support of her campaign, having noticed a similar trend.
“There is NOTHING around it’s so bad! Billboards?!?! TV ads? Anything?!?!” one person wrote in a comment.
“For real though. like the average person wouldn’t even know when it starts,” another said.
“It’s really disappointing honestly,” someone else wrote.
“You’re dead right. Such a massive event and the biggest thing in Australia since Sydney 2000. It’s very disappointing,” another remarked.
There was hope that once the tournament began, hype would explode.
Others however claimed the lack of advertisement was the result of women’s soccer not generating any interest.
“If Australia get knocked out early on the whole competition will die. The media will relegate it to a small note at the end of the news,” one comment said.
“No one cares about women’s football, how many times do you have to be told? They won’t even get out of the groups,” another said.
“It’s because they don’t make enough money off advertising women’s sport,” someone else said.
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