Apr 27, 2024 - Business

Money meets the moment

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amid historic levels of viewership and engagement, investors are finally taking notice of the business opportunity around women's sports.

Why it matters: "This is not just like an investment for a mission or investment because it's the right thing," said U.S. soccer legend Megan Rapinoe.

  • "You can actually make a lot of money and you should do it now. Not tomorrow or the next day," she added at Axios and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment's TN50: The Business of Women's Sports Summit in New York last Tuesday.

Driving the news: More money is flowing faster into women's sports, and some of those investments are already paying off.

  • The National Women's Soccer League's (NWSL) landmark four-year $240 million TV rights deal is already helping ESPN attract younger audiences, the network's vice president Rachel Epstein said on stage.
  • U.S. women's soccer team sales are surging, which is helping to finally address decades-long inaccuracies in team valuations, said Jess Smith, President of WNBA Golden State at the event.

Between the lines: While interest in college hoops and soccer is getting a lot of attention, investors are focusing on other women's sports opportunities that seem poised for disruption.

  • Alexis Ohanian, founder of venture capital firm 776 announced at the event that his firm will support an all-female track event called the 776 Invitational in September.

What to watch: More brands need to get on board the women's sports rise, said New York Liberty CEO Keia Clarke.

  • The biggest challenge, Clarke said, is getting brands to understand that partnering with the league "is not a fly by night" moment. "It's not a helicopter event," she added.

Bottom line: "We're not just here to talk women's sports — we're here to invest," said Deep Blue founder and CEO Laura Correnti.

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