By Ken Reed
Venture capitalists Kara Nortman and Jasmine Robinson have launched a $100 million fund to invest in women’s sports around the globe.
The Monarch Collective will focus on investing in women’s teams and leagues. Initially, the fund is considering investments in women’s soccer teams in the U.S. and women’s teams and leagues in basketball, cycling, and rugby worldwide.
Nortman calls the fund “an arbitrage on sexism.”
The fund is definitely not designed as just a philanthropic effort, however. Nortman says professional women’s sports are starting to break through with more sponsors and television contracts and represent an opportunity for large financial returns. She says she was motivated to start investing in women’s sports as a result of her experience analyzing potential industries primed for growth. Women’s pro sports sponsorships grew 20% in 2022.
Women’s sports have been gaining a lot more national attention during the last couple years. Recently, the NCAA Women’s Final Four basketball tournament garnered record TV ratings and media coverage.
“These cultural moments, combined with new media and content distribution opportunities, create this unique moment where women’s sports can scale and grow,” says Robinson.
Danette Leighton, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, says her organization has seen a “growing groundswell of investment” in women’s sports. “There is tremendous value in women’s leagues, teams and athletes that can positively impact the bottom line,” says Leighton. She hopes the increase in investments in female sports will “pave a path to progress for more sponsorship dollars, media coverage, and pay equity for women, both on and off the field of play — in the front office, the boardroom and beyond.”
In fact, studies have shown that sports participation has boosted the business careers of women. A 2018 study by Ernst & Young revealed that 94% of women who hold C-suite positions are former athletes.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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