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Eight years ago, when I was sports news correspondent for this newspaper, I found myself hastily dispatched to Helskini to speak to http://www.atlantafalconsauthorizedstore.com/matt-ryan-jersey-elite England’s women footballers. They had reached the final of Euro 2009 and, a successful England team being a welcome novelty, we wrote of the hope that their success would change perceptions of women’s sport in this country. Similar predictions were made after Heather Stanning and Helen Glover took Britain’s first gold during that shimmering London 2012 summer, when the Lionesses came third in the 2015 World Cup in Canada, or after nine million people watched Britain’s heart-stopping hockey victory to win gold in Rio. Yet change remained incremental rather than incredible. But, just as the expectations of England’s women footballers were worlds apart in 2009 and 2017, so this summer has felt different. The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian's sport coverage Read more First the ICC Women’s World Cup was clinched by Heather Knight’s side against India in front of a capacity crowd at Lord’s. Then, Mark Sampson’s England team swept to the semi-finals of Euro 2017 before coming a cropper against the swashbuckling Dutch hosts, who went on to win an entertaining final that captivated the country. On Sunday, ITV1 will air England’s clash with Italy in Dublin, as Sarah Hunter’s side attempt to retain the women’s Rugby World Cup, having thrashed Spain in their opening match. In a summer without an Olympics or a men’s football World Cup, these events have been able to elbow their way into the public consciousness. They have done so entirely on their own terms — and not just in Britain. At the opening Amos Youth Jersey ICC Women’s World Cup dinner, the ambition was not only for full stadiums and decent viewing figures but for an ignition of interest in India - the biggest cricket market on the planet. By the final, Indian media were trumpeting huge television audiences and the Guardian’s own over-by-over live blog was hitting 600,000 page views — the majority coming from India. Advertisement The Guardian has always been more committed than most to covering the big female sports events, but the volume of our coverage, both online and in print, has visibly grown this summer. And with it, the readership. National newspaper coverage of women’s sport was estimated, in the most recent study in 2015, at just 2% of total sport coverage. This summer, women’s sport has featured as the main article on the front page of the sports section nine times in the past three weeks, and has consistently been prominent on the sport section of the website, amid the usual transfer talk and men’s Tests. But as the Guardian’s head of sport, the question I find myself wrestling with is: how do we ensure that continues into the autumn, as the juggernaut of Premier League football starts rolling? There are several, intertwined, issues here. One is that all sports have to compete for media coverage, and some are more popular than others. A second is that the Guardian’s resources and space are finite. A third is that the domestic game is at a much http://www.greenbaypackersauthorizedstore.com/nick-perry-jersey-elite more nascent stage — in football, cricket and rugby — than the international oneThe FA-backed Women’s Super League (WSL) has never really quite taken off in the way that its most fervent supporters hoped. But some big clubs — Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City among them — are now fully committed and attendances are slowly growing. Yet still they remain more analogous to county cricket than even non-league football. It is a long game. Advertisement Louise Taylor, who covered Euro 2017 and the 2015 World Cup for us, reflected on her return from the Netherlands: “It felt significant that people were debating Mark Sampson’s tactics rather than whether women should be playing football, or the quality on offer. The tougher challenge for the FA though is to generate interest in the weekly slog of the WSL, particularly now it’s a winter game.” We have made a firm editorial commitment to promote women’s sport where we can and, in particular, to make the absolute most of those big moments when the nation is engaged. But we’re also part of a patchwork that includes governing bodies, sponsors, broadcasters and fans. No part of that eco-system can manufacture interest – it has to be organically built. But within that there are encouraging signs that momentum is building. Advertisers and sponsors are realising that backing women’s sport takes them to new and different audiences. Sport’s once stuffy governing bodies – not least the three largest in the FA, the ECB and the RFU – are realising warm words won’t be enough to turbo-charge growth and unlock major investment. The Guardian is doing its bit by committing to more regular coverage – we recently launched a weekly women’s football blog helmed by Suzanne Wrack – and trying to prioritise women’s sport where we can. We also devote our best people to finding the most interesting stories and interviewing the most engaging, talented personalities. The Guardian view on women’s football: it’s arrived Editorial: The Lionesses are just two victories away in Euro 2017 from becoming the first senior England football team to win a major tournament since the World Cup winners of 1966 Read more But we can’t necessarily manufacture an audience for this work. One of the disheartening things about this debate is the extent to which it is still measured in old media money. Because it’s easier to measure, surveys will often take into account the number of articles and photographs in print. That, however, discounts our hugely engaging and popular over-by-over Paul Hornung Authentic Jersey and minute-by-minute live blogs, which are just as important – if not more so – in terms of engaging large readerships.