Live sports has been a favorite pastime for many, but unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic briefly interrupted that last year. No need to worry, though. When it comes to sports, specifically women’s, there’s plenty to look forward to.
Kathleen Entwistle, private wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Patty Hubbard, managing director and cofounder of BrandForward and board chair of Athlete x Impact and Cindy Parlow Cone, director of coaching for North Carolina FC, director of international outreach at Goals for Girls and president of the United States Soccer Federation, recently came together for Worth’s The Next Normal to discuss the future of women’s sports.
Women have continuously made strides in sports for over a century. For instance, it wasn’t until 1900 they were allowed to compete in the Olympics. Only 22 women were allowed to participate out of 997 athletes. Whereas in the 2016 Olympics, 45 percent of athletes were women. Fortunately nowadays, not only do women have more opportunities, but society has become more accepting as well.
“I think the views have changed now,” said Cone. “I think we’re seeing that, yes, women’s sports may be a little different than [the] male version of it. But they’re just as great and beautiful and entertaining. And I think also corporate America is realizing the importance of women’s sports and the marketability of the female athletes and the exponential growth potential that women’s sports has.”
Cone also believes the pandemic has had somewhat of a positive effect for women’s sports since more people are at home, they’re watching sports. The overall increased use of technology and social media over the last few years has also been a benefit. “Fans are seeking out more access to the athletes. So I think this is a net positive for the women’s side of the game, especially,” she explained.
When it comes to the business and social side of women’s sports, though, there is still work to get done, the future’s looking bright. “Brands are stepping up, and the ecosystem around these female sports are stepping up finally, to say, ‘we are going to support this because of not only the positive sentiment and the need to as brands stand for racial and social justice, but also it’s a great product,’” said Hubbard. “So I think it’s just been really a good intersection of things coming together to kind of set momentum in the right direction.”
For more insight into women’s sports, you can check out experts speaking at the Women & Worth Summit 2021: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, taking place March 2-4. You can register here or below.