All Scores

Ada Hegerberg, DAZN making big moves in UEFA Women’s Champions League

Ada Hegerberg
(Monika Majer/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, DAZN announced that it had acquired the broadcasting rights to the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL). As part of the four-year deal, which starts Tuesday, fans around the world will be able to watch UWCL games live on one centralized channel for the first time.

Now, Ada Hegerberg, UWCL’s all-time leading scorer, has joined forces with DAZN as their first-ever, season-long global women’s football ambassador. Returning to the pitch after a nearly two-year recovery from a torn ACL, Hegerberg will actively represent a landmark investment in the women’s game.

The Olympique Lyonnais forward and inaugural female Ballon d’Or winner, who’s also a campaign ambassador for We All Rise with More Eyes, is passionate about pushing for more women’s sports coverage.

“With success, huge responsibility comes with you,” Hegerberg told Just Women’s Sports. “You want to use that for something good and I think the women’s game needs high profiles to carry the game. And the more of us there are, the more power we have.”

Following a season in which the UWCL final wasn’t “even near to be found” on French television, Hegerberg sees DAZN’s broadcast deal as historic. All 61 UWCL matches this season and next will be available on DAZN and for free through their YouTube channel, starting with the group stage kickoff on Tuesday.

“I feel like we’ve all just been waiting for someone to just jump in there and grab the opportunity and DAZN just came into the game, took control,” said Hegerberg. “We couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be happier because it’s all about making the sport available for people.

“We’re not talking about forcing the sport on anyone. We’re talking about giving people access to it. Whether it’s one person or one million, it’s all about inspiring people, the next generation, even the parents too.”

Growing up in Norway, Hegerberg played soccer with boys, even cutting her hair to look more like them. In the documentary “My Name is Ada Hegerberg,” Hegerberg’s mother says she didn’t let her hair grow back out until she saw the movie “Bend It Like Beckham” and realized girls could play soccer, too.

Hegerberg famously opted out of playing for the Norwegian national team in 2017, including for the 2019 World Cup, to protest the country’s unequal treatment of its women’s program. She hasn’t played for the team since.

The 26-year-old highlighted how important DAZN’s partnership with UEFA and YouTube is for young girls who need exposure to women in sports.

“I would love when I was younger to have female leader role models to look up to,” she said. “You recognize yourself in them.”

DAZN’s on-air team is the biggest ever to cover women’s soccer for a single broadcaster. The group includes dozens of professional commentators from England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Portugal and Ukraine. Each match will be available in up to three languages: English and the languages of both the home team and away team.

Included in the deal is a new installment of We All Rise with More Eyes, with a six-part series highlighting women’s football across six European countries.

DAZN and The Female Quotient also published a report on Monday, titled “The Coverage Gap,” that underlines their vision and mission with the broadcast deal. The report says that 64 percent of consumers don’t watch women’s sports because they don’t know enough about the athletes and teams and broadcasts aren’t accessible enough. It adds that lack of coverage and inadequate promotion of events create significant barriers to viewership.

The UWCL and DAZN are taking a step to change that cycle this season.

Hegerberg’s Olympique Lyonnais kick off their UWCL season on Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. ET against Häcken. The striker returned to the field in September for the first time since January 2020.

“I’m feeling great physically and mentally,” Hegerberg said. “It’s been a hell of a journey, but I really had time to reflect on myself and football in general, and kind of the whole journey humbled me a lot. It kind of reminds you how important it is to just lean back and enjoy the game because we’re here to enjoy it.”

During her season on the sideline, Lyon’s five-year run of Champions League titles came to an end when they fell in the quarterfinals to Paris Saint-Germain. PSG also interrupted Lyon’s streak of 14 consecutive Division 1 Féminin championships, winning their first in 2020-21.

Since losing to the Portland Thorns of the NWSL in the Women’s International Champions Cup on Aug. 21, Lyon is on a seven-game win streak, boasting a goal differential of plus-24.

The Champions League group stage, which runs until Dec. 16, includes four groups with 16 teams competing. The top two teams coming out of the group stage advance to the quarterfinals on Dec. 20.

Hegerberg notes there is more pressure this season with the increased depth and quality of coverage: She and the other players need to perform if they want people to watch their debut game, and the one after that, and eventually the whole season.

But Hegerberg is up for the challenge.

“Now it’s up to us, the players, the clubs, to perform and entertain so people actually want to watch this for the years to come,” she said.

USWNT to face Costa Rica in final Olympic send-off

uswnt sophia smith and tierna davidson celebrate at shebeilves cup 2024
The USWNT will play their final pre-Olympic friendly against Costa Rica on July 16th. (Photo by Greg Bartram/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA start to serve as 2024 Olympic tryout

Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with Lin Dunn and Christie Sides during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024
The talented Fever rookie is still in the running for a ticket to this summer's Paris Olympics. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

WNBA teams make history with 2024 season ticket sell-outs

Arike Ogunbowale on the wnba court for the dallas wings
The Dallas Wings are now the third team to sell out their entire season ticket allotment in WNBA history. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

Nelly Korda ties LPGA record with fifth-straight tournament win

Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship
Nelly Korda poses with her trophy after acing her fifth-straight tour title at The Chevron Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.