So You Play Like a Girl

By Angie Orth

Moderator Jemele Hill of ESPN led a panel including Christine Driessen of ESPN, Molly Solomon of the Golf Channel, Nancy Hogshead-Makar from the Women’s Sports Foundation and Dan Hicken from First Coast News discussing topics affecting women in sports, from athletes to the ever-increasing female fan base. Here are highlights from the panel:

  • Researchers suggest women makeOur Women Sports Panelup 30-40% of college & professional sport fan base. Sports that want to stay relevant must focus at least some of their marketing efforts on the female fan – or risk extinction.
  • At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, female American athletes were 3rd place in the overall medal count, due very much to the long reaching impact of Title IX.
  • ESPN is making a huge commitment to understanding the female fan base, what their interests are and how to interact with them on an integrated basis.
  • If you, the female fan, think it’s important for girls to play sports – and the statistics show that girls who play sports benefit in countless ways – then YOU have to care about the issue enough to tell the networks. Tell your local news if you know about a young female athlete who needs attention. Tell NBC and ESPN what coverage of female sports and athletes means to you. Be an advocate for female athletes in the media.
  • Help change the verbal culture in sports. “You play like a girl” is not acceptable speech. Female athletes are women, not girls. It takes small efforts to change an entire culture, but it can be done.
  • Forget about comparing newly formed women sports leagues with pro leagues that’ve been around for 30-40 years. Remember tickets for the first Super Bowl were $11, and it didn’t sell out. All good programs need time to develop.


angie-orth-150x150About the Author
Angie wears many hats; social media consultant, project-based publicist, travel blogger, freelance journalist, big sister and adventurer. A Gator grad born and raised in Jacksonville, Angie spent the past two years traveling the world alone and writing about it in magazines and on her blog. Prior to that, she worked in NYC at Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest PR agency, where she represented some of the biggest names in travel. In 2009, Angie was chosen out of 30,000 to be a finalist for Australia’s Best Job in the World campaign.