Apparently, the AC Milan Women played S.S.D. Napoli on Sunday. They also beat them by a score of 4-0. However, you wouldn’t have known this because none of Milan’s social media accounts mentioned the fact that they were playing on that day.
Instead, they put all of their focus on the men’s team, who were playing their scheduled match against Genoa at the same time (unfortunately).
The team didn’t even bother to broadcast the women’s match on their app, which led to their international fanbase being shut out as they couldn’t watch the game live.
And it’s a darn shame too, given the fact that the team scored four goals, along with great performances by the likes of Yui Hasegawa, Vero Boquete, and Valentina Bergamaschi too. Unfortunately, the match was only accessible to people who lived in Italy, as only those who had access to TimVision or Milan TV could watch it. Everyone else was shut out. Therefore, we missed out on the chance to watch all of the action, and celebrate all of the goals as they happened too.
So essentially, people like me who woke up early to watch the game just wasted our time. I actually woke up shortly before 3 am (PST) to watch the match, only to discover that I couldn’t. It’s incredibly frustrating to make the effort to wake up that early, only to find that your sacrifice was made in vain.
Sadly, this is an all too frequent, reoccurring pattern with Milan.
Time and time again, the team’s social media accounts drop the ball when it comes to the women’s team. They have repeatedly failed them, and it’s getting tiresome and frustrating. The fact that Milan doesn’t broadcast all of the women’s matches doesn’t help either. After all, how can you maintain or grow the fanbase of a team if you, at times, make it so hard to watch them? It’s like buying a product in a plain, brown bag without inspecting it first, and hoping that there isn’t a dead cat inside.
Milan’s head honcho, Ivan Gazidis, has said that the Rossonere are at the forefront of the team’s vision for the future. He has also said that they “have long-term plans and ambitions for this team.”
Gazidis has even gone as far as to say that, “We [Milan] are an inclusive and progressive club, that’s why it was and is important to have the women’s team.”
However, their social media accounts tell a different story. The fact that the women’s games receive little to no promotion, and that announcements for them are made haphazardly and at the last minute, leads one to wonder just how honest the team is being here.
After all, if you truly did care, then you wouldn’t allow these contradictions to happen.
So, what are some of the things that Milan can do to help their women’s team?
Why it’s quite simple. Create separate social media accounts for the women’s team. And by doing so, you aren’t shunting them off to some dark corner and depriving them of the light they need to photosynthesize. This also isn’t a case of ‘separate but equal’ or even segregating them in a way that would have pleased George Wallace.
Rather, this needs to be done to give the women their own spotlight. By giving the women’s team their separate accounts, the fans will know when the Milan Women are playing by following them. They’ll also be able to get specific news about the women, without having to sift through a mountain of posts about the men beforehand. More specifically, Milan could create content specifically for those accounts and win over fans for the team by doing so.
Milan could also promote the women on their main accounts by retweeting or reposting posts from the accounts created for the women. Teams like Chelsea FC do this. There’s no reason why the Rossoneri can’t do so either. Doing so would not only allow the women to shine in their own space, but it will also allow them to benefit from the exposure to Milan’s 24 million followers on their various social media accounts.
The team needs to also make more of an effort to stream all of the Rossonere’s matches. Milan, for whatever reason, didn’t stream their Coppa Italia match against Sassuolo earlier this year. The fact that they didn’t do so means that the fans missed out on seeing Yui Hasegawa’s debut for the team. It was a missed opportunity, as we were deprived of the chance to see her suit up in red and black for the first time.
These are things the team must improve upon. Otherwise, one is going to start to question why they should get up at 3:00 am on a weekend morning to watch a game, only to discover that they can’t watch their favorite team play. One is also going to wonder why they should keep covering the team when Milan themselves are seemingly reluctant to reward a person’s unwavering faith in them.
Once this happens, then maybe it will lead to improving other aspects of the team that need to be remedied. One of them is the pressing matter of why the team has no Primavera squad for the girls. To date, Milan is one of the few, big teams in Italy that doesn’t field a youth squad in the Campionato Primavera Femminile. The Rossonere will become stronger by having a youth squad where they can nurture talent and draw from when they need to give the senior squad a rest. Once we work on improving the coverage of the women’s team, then perhaps we can address this too.
Now, I’m obviously not saying this to disparage the team. Rather, I’m saying this out of my love for them. If I didn’t care about them, then I wouldn’t labor so hard to write about the squad and put my own blood, sweat, and tears into covering them. I’ve even put my own money into covering this team (all the while not getting paid for most of my work). I’m also not questioning Milan’s commitment to the women either. I truly do think that they’re trying to do what’s best for them.
Rather, I’m saying this because I want what’s best for the team. The social media accounts wear kid gloves when they post about the women, and that awkwardness comes through the screens. Milan risks stunting the growth of their women’s team through their paltry coverage of them.
While the team has done so many things right when it comes to the women, including being the first and only squad that pays pensions for their women (in Italy), this is one area where they can improve on.
Let’s just hope that the lightbulb eventually turns on and they’ll finally be able to do so. Actions speak louder than words, so show us that you truly do care by letting those stars shine bright in the night, instead of snuffing out their light.