TN50 - driving the next 50 years of growth in women's sports. Presented by Axios and Deep Blue
Apr 23, 2024 - Business

Las Vegas Aces' Clark cites social media power in women's sports growth

Alysha Clark

Alysha Clark: Photo credit: Axios and Deep Blue Sports & Entertainment Business of Women's Sports Summit 2024.

Women's sports fans are "super engaging and super hungry" with social media serving as a key conduit, WNBA star Alysha Clark said at the TN50: The Business of Women's Sports Summit on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Brands' tendency to follow the fans is driving investment into women's sports.

Zoom in: "They're hungry for content. They're hungry for merchandise. They're hungry for visibility," Clark said at the event, produced by Axios and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment.

  • "Our fanbase is so dedicated and committed to us because they know the struggle we've been through to get visibility," said Clark, who is on the Las Vegas Aces and a three-time WNBA champion. "They have our backs."
  • Joining Clark on the panel were other professional women's athletes, including U.S. soccer star Sam Mewis, who likened the women's soccer fanbase to Taylor Swift's audience.
  • "The fans are so connected and so emotionally engaged," Mewis said.
  • Former professional golfer Tisha Alyn said social media was crucial for her given poor broadcast time slots of her matches.
  • "I had no ways of getting eyes besides social media," Alyn said.
  • Olympic snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis and professional surfer Tia Blanco also participated on the panel. Deep Blue CEO Laura Correnti moderated.

Zoom out: Social media has become an important tool for athletes to grow their brands, making money directly on the platform and indirectly through larger sponsorships and other opportunities.

  • Clark has used social media to not only share game highlights but also share her love of cooking. "Off-Seasoning," her new cooking show on PlayersTV, is coming out in May.
  • Mewis, who was part of the team that won the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and retired this year, said she was initially hesitant to embrace social media. But she encouraged all athletes to get onboard, noting it's especially important for athletes when they retire.
  • "As TikTok started to become a thing, I was like, 'Oh no, I shouldn't do that. I'm just going to focus on soccer.' It's such a loss," she said. "The fans are so connected and so emotionally engaged that using these platforms will only help us as we transition out of the sport."

One fun thing: Alyn stood up and performed a golf trick, continuously bouncing a ball off a club head, adding in a figure eight, and doing so without a drop.

Go deeper: WNBA needs to capitalize on the Caitlin Clark moment

TN50: The Business of Women's Sports Summit is an event focused on the growing marketing and investment dollars in women's sports. The event, produced by Axios and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment, features top female athletes, sports leaders and investors in the women's sports industry.

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