By Ken Reed

According to participants in a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference, women are increasingly helping to set the agenda in the worlds of sports, athletics, and fitness.

“Women have a seat at the table like we’ve never seen before,” said Christine Driessen, ESPN’s chief financial officer.

Much of the panel discussion centered around women-owned sports and fitness businesses. Conference founder Michael Milken opened the panel by pointing out that women-owned businesses grow 1.5 times faster than other businesses. That figure is likely higher in the sports and fitness world, in which females have historically been second-class citizens.

“Sports is the single most important space I’ve seen in my career for women business owners and growth,” said venture capital executive Molly Ashby. “It’s a new universe. It’s not your classically defined sports market. Women are driving so much change.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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