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9 Shocking Facts About Women’s Sports That Convinced Me to Change Career Paths

While I was getting excited for the Olympics this past summer, I spent my drives to work listening to “Burn It All Down,”
a feminist sports podcast that conducts interviews with prominent players in the world of sports. The interviews expose truths only women in the industry would know and express. Here are nine shocking things I’ve learned from listening to “Burn It All Down” that made me passionate about wanting to change the field of women’s sports for the better.

Women’s events are not normally featured on networks’ highlight reels

A good amount of women’s games are on TV, but plays from those events are not put on the highlight reels and talked about by analysts. Highlight reels get more viewers than full games, so many people don’t get coverage of women’s sports almost ever, which would lead them to be more uninterested in women’s sports over men’s sports. Giving hype to a play on a highlight reel gets people more excited to tune in to that sport or team, but women’s sports are just not granted that attention.

Women’s sports are mainly catered to families

There is a lot of wholesome and family-centered content surrounding women’s sports. However, kids want to like whatever adults do, and adults would enjoy more edgy and cool promotions over pictures of the athletes with kids

Women’s Sports are considered the “lesser” version of the Sport

Men’s sports have more money invested in them, and they have been around for decades longer. This money makes their fan experiences seem more desirable.

Companies only invite investors to men’s sports events

Companies invite clients and business partners to sporting events, so they tend to take them to men’s sporting events over women’s. If companies changed this, many people would realize that a women’s game or match is just as exciting. Unfortunately, there are not as many people pushing for that as there should be.

Merchandise is purposefully limited

There is not a lot of merchandise made to represent female athletes because fewer people will purchase it. So, when inventory runs out, many people cannot get it and therefore cannot advertise women’s sports on the street. On the other hand, if more merchandise is bought and not all of it is sold, it seems like there isn’t a demand. This demand is a very tricky situation that merchandisers don’t always deal with well for female athletes’ apparel.

Sexism is deeply rooted in networks such as espn, sports center

Sports networks tend to be very resistant to evidence that that there is a market for women’s sports. Many analysts, broadcasters, etc. have been working at these networks for a long time, so their priority of covering men’s sports isn’t likely to change.

Men’s sports stories are told on repeat while women’s stories are told once, if at all

Women’s sports stories are only repeated if they involve a controversy. For example, the main story for the USWNT before the Olympics was that some players faced away from a veteran. At the same time, he performed the national anthem, when in actuality, they were facing the flag and did not turn away from him in a negative way. The media for the team revolved around this controversy instead of the sport itself, and the stakes that came with possibly winning a medal for the United States. Women’s sports are not as popular because the media chooses not to see them as necessary enough to cover consistently.

Men’s sports are automatically deemed more important

The real reasoning behind why the NCAA only gave their women’s basketball teams a rack of dumbbells while the men had a full weight room was that the men generate more revenue. Therefore, they get better facilities. What people aren’t aware of is that the men’s tournament is treated as separate from all other NCAA tournaments, and the women’s tournament is coupled up with all the other NCAA tournaments. This gives the men’s teams more special treatment. This situation would not have happened if the women’s tournament was packaged with the men’s. Also, the women’s teams would generate more revenue if they received more coverage, which would give them more advertising opportunities.

Networks give flat delivery of coverage of women’s sports

There is no outward sexism displayed, but there is covert sexism in the way women’s sports are talked about in the media. The tone of analysts and broadcasters is normally monotone and without colorful commentary or a sense of excitement.

All of this information comes from the podcast “Burn It All Down” alone, so I encourage everyone to check it out as it is a hotbed of information that comes from tons of talented and interesting people in the sports industry! The next steps to equality in sport are to make this information common knowledge and use it to make a change.

Izzy is a 2nd year at the University of Georgia, double majoring in Journalism and Sports Management. When she's not browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble for hours or eating Italian food, she's hanging out with friends and daydreaming about paddle boarding on a lake.
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