Could the BBC have been shamed by the power of Twitter and the blogosphere when it decided to show the semi-final between England and France in the women’s World Cup semi-final live on BBC2 on Saturday evening.
Until then all England’s matches at the tournament had been available through the red button or as a highlights package. As the team progressed through the quarter finals questions were being asked as to why the BBC wasn’t showing the team’s achievements on the main channels. The tournament itself was receiving great support with the German tournament organisers getting near sell-out crowds.
Comments started to appear on Twitter and on blogs with Sunder Katwala reflecting the general view that: “Several of our newspapers are reporting the tournament pretty well. But we’re being let down by the BBC which isn’t doing its job properly – so failing to promote the fast-growing women’s game with the energy we should all expect.”
It did appear as if the corporation’s reporters on Twitter felt compelled to fight back against the flack that they were receiving.
Sports reporter Jacqui Oatley tweeted that “General point to those complaining of lack of media coverage of #WWC, folk should write to sports editors BEFORE tournos to express interest.”
Nigel Adderley who was reporting following the tournament in Germany for 5Live re-tweeted The Guardian’s John Ashdown’s comments; “Worth pointing out while the BBC is getting all this flak that they have made up 50% of the British national press pack over here #wwc2011.” and later he tweeted comments from England manager Hope Powell saying: “I have to compliment the BBC. They’ve been fantastic for women’s football and how they’ve raised our profile”#bbcfootball.”
The general feeling reading those was that they were feeling defensive about the accusations and, lo and behold, less than 24 hours before the game the BBC seemed to turn tail and cleared re-runs of Porridge, Flog it! and Dads’ Army to show the game. But just like the men’s game the team went out after extra time and penalties.