Women's sports network Athletes Unlimited plans its next moves
Athletes Unlimited, a network of women's sports leagues that uses fantasy-style scoring, successfully completed its first season of softball last month.
Why it matters: While most leagues scrambled to create one-off bubble tournaments, Athletes Unlimited didn't have to change too much about its model, which was already designed for short, single-site seasons.
- "Our vision was always to host each season in a single market and build storytelling and other elements around that," co-founder and CEO Jon Patricof tells me.
- "Not having in-person fans certainly changed things, but ticketing revenue was never a huge part of the equation for us anyway."
- "If you put medical/testing aside, the pandemic changed call it 10% of our model; whereas for most other leagues it changed 90% of their model."
What's next: Athletes Unlimited will take what it did with softball this summer and try to apply that model to two other sports next year — possibly with fans in the stands this time.
- Volleyball: February 2021 (Nashville)
- Lacrosse: July 2021 (TBD)
The big picture: There are clear avenues for growth in women's sports, and the pandemic has helped revealed them.