Frauenfussball grows in Germany

When Germany won the 1989 Women's European Championship, the players' bonuses consisted of a coffee set. Each member of Germany's victorious 2007 Women's World Cup team earned a bonus of $70,000. The team was also greeted by 15,000 fans at Frankfurt's Roemer city hall, the traditional celebration point for victorious teams, when it returned from China following its 2-0 final win over Brazil, which drew high TV ratings in Germany.

"I'm thrilled that so many fans have turned out and that so many had their fingers crossed for us," Germany coach Silvia Neid told the crowd that packed the square beneath the balcony of city hall where she and her players appeared.

The broadcast of the final by German national channel ZDF attracted an audience of 9.05 million, representing a 50.5 percent market share. Those ratings exceeded the biggest UEFA Champions League audience from the 2005/06 season (8.1 million for the primetime coverage of the Milan-Bayern Munich).

On the same day of the Women's World Cup final, Germany's broadcast of the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix attracted 2.2 million viewers. The highest Formula 1 audience of the year in Germany was recorded at 7.95 million.

Germany's 2003 Women's World Cup final win over Sweden was viewed by 11.38 million, but that game was aired in prime time and drew a lower market share (33.8 percent) than Germany's 2-0 win over Brazil last Sunday.

Slighty more than 10 percent of the Germany's 6.5 million registered players are female. Germany has 871,000 registered female players. In comparison, the USA has 1.56 million, according to FIFA Big Count 2006 .

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The second straight title win is expected to spark further growth in German girls participation. Moreover, Germany is bidding to host the next women's World Cup, in 2011.

Germany's men's national team coach, Joachim Loew, appeared in Frankfurt to congratulate the women.

"This fantastic second World Cup win in a row," said German President Horst Koehler, "proves again that German women's soccer is tops in the world. All of Germany shares the joy."

 

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