Fundamentals: Women’s Professional Leagues

  • We welcome a three-person panel to Fundamentals on Thursday, May 21st.
  • The episode will begin at 12pm ET on Thursday, streamed live on this page.

Welcome to the latest episode of Fundamentals with Ian Thomas, a Front Office Sports interview show featuring leading operators and voices of the sports industry. On Thursday May 21st, we will be hosting a three-person panel featuring Keia Clarke (New York Liberty / WNBA), Mike Golub (Portland Thorns / NWSL) and Hayley Moore (Boston Pride, NWHL) to discuss women’s professional leagues, the progress being made in their respective organizations and leagues, and the challenges they face moving forward. The episode will begin […]

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How Pro Athletes Are Empowering Female And Minority Entrepreneurs

  • Chiney Ogwumike and Jaylon Smith are prime examples of athletes advocating for these groups
  • Ogwumike negotiated a 50% salary increase for WNBA players

(The NFLPA is a proud partner of Front Office Sports) Roughly 20% of businesses in the United States are owned by women or minorities. In today’s climate, professional athletes are finding ways to advocate for these groups as entrepreneurs and to highlight their contributions to the business world.  Earlier this year, the NFLPA hosted a Pitch Day event where nine diverse companies pitched a panel of judges for the opportunity to obtain marketing funds, mentorship, and NFLPA licensing rights. Athletes […]

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Slowdown At The Athletic Continues With Halt of WNBA Freelance Writers

  • Decision part of a wider move to cut back on nearly 100% of freelance contributors.
  • But journalism expert bemoans ‘beacon of hope’ cutting back on WNBA coverage.

The Athletic temporarily paused the contributions of half a dozen freelance writers covering the WNBA, after laying off other staff earlier this week. The move is part of a wider strategy to cut back on nearly all freelance contributors at the digital subscription site, which has scooped up hundreds of sports journalists from struggling newspapers over the past four years while raising more than $100 million in venture capital money. “As sports are temporarily on pause due to the global […]

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Athletes Reaching Fans With New Message On Facebook and Instagram

  • Hundreds of athletes are using Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with their fans during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Naomi Osaka, Stephen Curry, and Julian Edelman are just a few of the Facebook ambassadors engaging with their followers at home.

As Facebook’s director of sports partnerships, team and athletes, Kevin Cote’s job had mostly consisted of working with properties on how they could best use their accounts. Now, with live sports paused, the focus has shifted to the male and female players who themselves are the faces of their respective leagues and teams. Even without live sports, athletes have been using apps like Facebook and Instagram – which is owned by the former – to entertain, inform, and support their […]

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Athletes Unlimited Seeks to Reinvent Women’s Pro Sports, Starting With Softball

  • Athletes Unlimited is planning on launching leagues in three different women's professional sports.
  • Athletes will earn more of the profits as the league succeeds, and athletes will also participate in company governance.

As Jon Patricof looked across the sports industry for investment opportunities, he quickly saw a sector with growth potential: women’s professional sports. “Women’s professional sports is an untapped opportunity – it’s a place where these amazing athletes aren’t truly recognized for the value they create,” Patricof said. FOS REPORT: 54.5% of industry executives believe that it would be at least 60 days before leagues resume play. The former president of NYCFC, Patricof was also the former COO and president of […]

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Oregon Basketball To Highlight Star Players During Dark Offseason

  • March Madness may be canceled, but Oregon will still be cheering on POY candidates in Sabrina Ionescu and Payton Pritchard.
  • Ionescu has helped women’s basketball avg. home attendance grow 623%, and Pritchard has driven men’s basketball to the biggest follower growth in the PAC-12 on IG.

In a typical year, Payton Pritchard and Sabrina Ionescu would currently be leading their respective University of Oregon men’s and women’s basketball teams in March Madness towards a potential national championship.  But, while the coronavirus pandemic might have robbed the Ducks of postseason glory, there is still plenty at stake for the university’s two most notable stars. Pritchard is on the shortlist for both the Naismith Award and Wooden Award as the best men’s college basketball this season. Ionescu will […]

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Female Sports Executives See Growth Ahead, As Well As Challenges

  • Front Office Sports reached out to numerous high-ranking female executives on their thoughts from last year and a look into what lies ahead.

2019 was a year of many firsts for women in sports. The WNBA made former Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert its first-ever commissioner and has since negotiated a new, historic CBA. Former NHL executive Jessica Berman was named deputy commissioner of the National Lacrosse League in June – the first time a woman has held this title in a men’s sport. Last summer also saw the United States women’s national soccer team both reclaim the FIFA Women’s World Cup title and […]

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dallas wings wnba

Diversity and Wellness Highlight The Dallas Wings’ Partnership Strategy

  • Partnership revenue dollars for the WNBA franchise in 2019 improved 40% year-over-year, and is expected to grow again next season, the team said.
  • Yet competing for sponsorship deals in a metro area that also encompasses the Dallas Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, and Texas Rangers can make finding new opportunities challenging.

The Dallas Wings’ partnership strategy focused on diversity, mental health, and physical wellness is just over two years in the making. But already the organization is reaping the benefits of a unified brand message. The Wings relocated from Oklahoma to the fifth-largest U.S. market of Dallas-Fort Worth in 2016, following unanimous approval by the WNBA to move the Tulsa Shock. In the years since, the team has formed partnerships with brands like State Farm and Toyota thanks to its revamped […]

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NFL Fumbles In Latest Diversity Hiring Grades

  • In its 2019 Racial and Gender Report Card, the NFL received an overall score of 79.3% - its lowest mark in 15 years.
  • It also received C+ and B marks in its gender and racial hiring practices, respectively.

The NFL received its lowest overall score in racial and gender hiring practices in 15 years, according to the latest report from the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. The league received a B- overall grade in the 2019 NFL Racial and Gender Report Card, an annual report published by TIDES. It also received C+ and B marks in its gender and racial hiring practices, respectively. Last year, the league received a B overall grade. […]

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WNBA Remains Leader In Gender And Racial Hirings Across Sports

  • The WNBA received an A+ overall grade in the 2019 WNBA Racial and Gender Report Card.
  • That gives the WNBA the highest report card grade amongst its peers.

Since its inception in 1996, the WNBA has aimed to be at the forefront of gender and racial inclusivity in professional sports. With the 2019 season – the first under Commissioner Cathy Engelbert – now under wraps, the league has plenty to celebrate regarding its progress. The WNBA received an A+ overall grade in the 2019 WNBA Racial and Gender Report Card, an annual report published by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. It […]

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