Dedicated women’s sports streaming channel talking to multiple providers ahead of launch.
The Women’s Sports Network, the new dedicated 24-hour streaming channel for women’s sport, is targeting future rights deals for major properties including the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Speaking this week at SportsPro’s OTT Summit USA, Women’s Sports Network advisory board chair Carol Stiff was bullish about the new platform’s prospects.
“I know that we are going to make a splash,” Stiff said. “So, five years from now, I’d love to see the scale. This is not an activation because it’s the right thing to do. This is a business. We’re going into business here and it’s time.
“I would love to see scale. I’d love to see the WNBA, I’d love to see women’s pro football [on the platform].
“We’re talking to a ton of people, trust me, and we have a lot of people reaching out to us. And I think once we launch, and once people have a taste for what we’re going to offer, I think the phone’s going to ring off the hook.”
Announced in February by Los Angeles-based Fast Studios, the Women’s Sports Network will be a free, ad-supported streaming platform, initially offering content from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), US Ski & Snowboard, and the World Surf League (WSL). Women’s sports news programming will also feature.
The network will debut later this year on various streaming platforms in the US, with Fast Studios managing the channel’s programming, advertising and distribution operations. It will also be supported by specialist sports media companies GoodSport and Empower Onyx.
Though Stiff, who spent more than 30 years at ESPN, did not directly mention specific providers, she did reveal the Women’s Sports Network was talking to multiple parties.
“What I love about Fast channels and the Women’s Sports Network is it’s not going to be exclusively on one provider,” she continued.
“I can’t share the providers that we’re talking to, but we’re talking to all of them. And that is just rare in my world.”
A global rollout could also be on the cards, according to Stiff, as the network aims to capitalise on the worldwide appeal of certain sports.
“We are focused on global, no doubt about it,” she said. “Look at soccer, for instance. We’re in the process of looking at both USA and global. I think it’s important that we’re in both areas.”
For Stiff, effective marketing will be vital in attracting fans of male sports leagues and teams, noting that it has “been missing” in the past. When asked what success from an advertising standpoint would look like in two years’ time, Stiff stated that the network is planning to be a hotbed for brands looking to leverage the growing popularity of women’s sport.
“[We want to be ] sold out. No room to take advertisers,” said Stiff. “People sponsoring maybe a day of the week, or the SEC [Southeastern Conference], or whatever we have for sale. That’s success. That’s something that hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully this will be the case.”