With consumers’ interest in women’s sports gaining ground, the media studio Fast Studios has lined up new partnerships with four sports leagues and organizations to bulk up programming for its upcoming Women’s Sports Network.
This marks a landmark year for women’s sports, due to the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that received federal financial assistance. The network plans to launch in June to commemorate that milestone anniversary when the 1972 legislation was passed.
Fast Studios is investing several million dollars in the venture, which aims to accelerate the growth of women’s sports opportunities in the media. Working with as wide a spectrum of content partners as possible, the Women’s Sports Network is trying to create a diverse range of sports and athletes. It will also offer partners brand advertising deals.
Live and archival games, an assortment of docu-series and original content will be offered via the new Los Angeles-based streaming service, as well as “Game ON: Women’s Sports Daily,” which will be a daily and weekly news and talk show that also features sports highlights. The show will be housed in a dedicated studio in L.A.
The free round-the-clock streaming service will feature ads and focus solely on women’s sports. One addition to the network is Athletes Unlimited, a consortium of leagues that have Olympians and other world-class athletes, including professional softball, volleyball, lacrosse and basketball.
The Women’s Football Alliance has stepped up as a league partner, joining the previously announced Ladies Professional Golf Association, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, and the World Surf League. On another level, the sports and entertainment agency Octagon will provide social content featuring their high-profile sports talent.
Quattro Media, an adventure and action sports company, is on board with the network’s team of collaborators, which includes Sports Innovation Lab, GoodSport and Empower Onyx.
Another way the company is strengthening its operations is by hiring former senior vice president of global purpose at Adidas Nicole Vollebregt. The executive is serving as interim chief marketing officer and on Fast Studios’ Women’s Sports Network Advisory Board. She exited Adidas last year to serve as a mentor, investor and advocate for female entrepreneurs. Vollebregt is founder and co-chief executive officer of We Are On Purpose.
In addition, Olympic gold medalist and cofounder of Sports Innovation Lab Angela Ruggiero has joined the Women’s Sports Network Advisory Board, which is led by ESPN veteran Carol Stiff and includes Allyson Felix and LaChina Robinson, among others.
Sports Innovation Lab estimates that women’s sports could account for more than 30 percent of the total global sports business, according to Fast Studios’ CEO Stuart McLean. As for whether the network plans to sell apparel in any format or partner with brands, a company spokeswoman said: “We anticipate robust collaborations with numerous brands across apparel.”