Women’s Sports Network is exactly what is needed to bridge coverage gap

One of the more interesting conversations that takes place among women’s sports fans is how much of a lift would it be for women’s sports across the board if they had their own television channel. 

Plenty of us in the women’s sports space have been begging and pleading for ESPN to create a 24/7 linear version of its ESPNW website. After all, there is more than enough content out there to be able to support a women’s sports channel. 

A few individuals out in Southern California did not wait for ESPNW to finally come around and realize what time it is – they decided to do it themselves.  

FAST Studios – based out of Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago unveiled the Women’s Sports Network which is a 24/7 streaming channel for women’s sports. 

It already has support from a number of prominent women’s sports organizations – including the WNBA. In addition, the LPGA, Premier Hockey Federation, Women’s Football Alliance and Athletes Unlimited are on board for the network’s launch. Stuart McLean is a well-known ad executive who founded FAST Studios in 2020 and its offerings also include a fitness channel called SpartanTV as well as Racing America which is mostly focused on content around NASCAR Cup Series teams. 

A number of streaming platforms were also on board with the channel’s debut – including Amazon’s Freevee service, Fox’s Tubi, Fubo TV and Xumo. 

And what is a sports channel without a signature program? Just as ESPN has SportsCenter, NFL Network has NFL Total Access, NBA TV has NBA Gametime and MLB Network has MLB Tonight, the Women’s Sports Network has one of its own called Game On. 

The hosts for Game On include ex-Harlem Globetrotter Crissa Jackson who is now a well-known social influencer. Taylor Felix is another of the personalities for the Women’s Sports Network. She also does plenty of work for Bally Sports West. 

Another of its personalities is Jenna Bandy who has made a name for herself as well as an influencer on Instagram and TikTok. She previously played collegiate ball at Cal State Monterey Bay and also has coaching experience. Jess Lucero, whose resume includes stints at Overtime, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Fox Sports and Spectrum is another one of its personalities. 

According to a press release, the channel plans to air live games and tournaments in addition to highlights and documentaries. 

In its front office, it has brought along Carol Stiff, a longtimer from ESPN, on board. Its Board of Advisors also includes LaChina Robinson, Angela Ruggiero of the Sports Innovation Lab and Allyson Felix who has won 11 Olympic medals in track. 

Stiff was also an inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its 2020 Class. That class had its induction delayed on account of the pandemic. 

The launch of the Women’s Sports Network is exactly what the women’s sports landscape needs to further address coverage gaps. This was mentioned in the press release around the channel’s launch. The issue of women’s sports coverage may not be one that will be addressed and settled overnight, but every step in the right direction to address that coverage gap is a good one. The Women’s Sports Network does exactly that. 

As the statistics have shown, the rise in attention and ratings that women’s sports have encountered is a clear indication that there is more than enough demand for more women’s sports content. It is a clear indication that the market for such a network is certainly there. 

Having noteworthy names such as the WNBA, LPGA and Athletes Unlimited on board at launch is certainly a strong flex. If the Women’s Sports Network can also get leagues such as the NWSL on board then it would be cooking with even more gas than it already is as a fledgling channel. 

Full disclosure – we wrote this piece while actually having the chance to catch a bit of the Women’s Sports Network via Tubi. Not a bad presentation for a fledgling channel and it will certainly have even more of it as it continues to add more programming as a channel that is just now getting off of the ground. 

And when it gets further off the ground, more and more will see exactly why such a channel that puts the spotlight solely on women’s sports is sorely needed. From live events to replays of those live events to studio content to documentaries, there is a lot of potential for the Women’s Sports Network and as staunch advocates for women’s equality inside and outside of the sporting realm, we are here for all of it!