January 25, 2022
FIERCE AND FEARLESS
Athletes Unlimited: Bringing Athletes — And Couples — Together
- Athletes Unlimited will provide women’s basketball another chance to play professionally starting January 26, 2021.
- Basketball will be the fourth league in Athletes Unlimited’s network, following softball, women’s indoor volleyball (launched in February 2021), and women’s lacrosse (July 2021).
- Natasha Cloud and Aleshia Ocasio will benefit from AU’s addition as it will bring the power couple closer together than ever before.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF TITLE IX
GoodSport is celebrating 50 years of Title IX and its everlasting impact on women’s sports by sharing the stories of past, present, and future women leading up to the June 23, 2022 anniversary.
Dr. Bernice R. Sandler: "Godmother Of Title IX
Over her 50 years of advocating for women’s rights, Dr. Bernice R. Sandler has written over 100 articles, served on over thirty boards, and given over 2,500 presentations. In addition, Dr. Sandler has served as an expert witness in many cases involving sexual harassment or discrimination in educational institutions or the workplace. Her publication, "10 Ways Expert Witnesses Can be Used in Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Cases," has served as a standard reference for educators, lawyers, and bar associations since its publication in 1997.
"Sex prejudice is so ingrained in our society that many who practice it are simply unaware that they are hurting women," Sandler said.
Industry News Breakdown
Welcome to The Biz, where we highlight female-focused news in the sports industry.
- Visa recently became the first partner of FIFA Women’s Football and will be a huge support to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is one of many steps they’ve taken to show their commitment to growing women’s soccer.
- Angel City FC, founded by various stars like Serena Williams and Natalie Portman, is now sponsored by Crypto.com. This makes them the first crypto firm to sponsor any women’s sports team.
- The Yankees hired Rachel Balkovec as the new manager of their Class A minor league team, the Tampa Tarpons. She is the first female to manage any major league affiliated team full-time.
- The Toronto Blue Jays hired a new Minor League hitting coach, Jaime Vieira, making her the first woman to coach in their organization.
- The Boston Red Sox recently became the first organization with two women on their coaching staff after hiring Katie Krall as a minor league coach.
- It’s been reported that Catherine Raiche, currently the VP of Football Operations for the Philadelphia Eagles, was requested to interview for the Vikings GM position. Not technically a hire… yet.
- Athletic Trainer Aisha Visram made history at the Kings/Penguins game on January 13th as the second female ever to work an NHL game behind the bench. The last time was 2 decades ago when Assistant Athletic Trainer, Jodi van Rees, worked a game with the Montreal Canadiens.
- Francie Gottsegen was named President of the North Carolina FC, a USL League One club.
- Salima Mukansanga made history as the first female referee at the African Cup of Nations.
- ESPN hired NBA reporter Kendra Andrews, sister to Malika Andrews. Both appeared in an episode of NBA Today.
Watch + Listen
- Athletes Unlimited Hoops season starts January 26th. Watch on CBS Sports Network, FOX Sports, Bally Sports Regional Sports Network, or on AU’s social channels.
- Just Women’s Sports recently released a podcast called NETLIFE, hosted by Dawn Staley and Lisa Leslie.
- Netflix released the announcement of two new docuseries about the golf and tennis industries after seeing the popularity of their F1 series.
Lusia Harris, Basketball Pioneer And Only Woman Drafted Into The NBA, Dies At 66
Serena Williams Joins Sorare To Help $4.3 Billion Blockchain Firm Conquer U.S. Sports, Women’s Leagues
FanDuel CEO Amy Howe Wants To Persuade More Women To Participate In Sports Betting
STATS THAT MATTER
- Athletes Unlimited is a network of new professional sports leagues where athletes compete in fantasy-inspired games in softball, volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball. This player-centered model has the athletes involved every step of the way.
- According to the Orlando Sentinel, players in that league make a base salary of $10,000 for a six-week season and can take home as much as $25,000 with additional achievements.
- Softball, volleyball, and lacrosse are the main focus and will slowly start to expand with basketball as well as have other sports on the horizon. Basketball is expected to start this year (2022).
- More than 90 percent of Athletes Unlimited fans surveyed said they cared strongly that the league is athlete-led. Making the players more closely involved in the game proved appealing to fans and players alike.
- Athletes Unlimited takes a more data-driven approach and ignores the fact that women’s sports can’t draw large, revenue-generating audiences. The research commissioned by the founders of Athletes Unlimited indicated something much different. So did the 1,200-plus softball games ESPN broadcast in 2019.
- When UCLA clinched the national championship with a walk-off hit last year, the game averaged 1.8 million viewers. Also, the College World Series in softball has posted higher ratings than the College World Series in baseball. This gave Athletes Unlimited the opportunity to push women’s sports forward.
BEFORE YOU GO, GIF US A SECOND
Natasha Cloud is a WNBA star who plays for the Washington Mystics. Cloud was drafted 15th overall in 2015 after leaving St. Joesph’s University. During her career, Cloud has averaged 6.7 points per game and 4.5 assists per game.