Media Coverage of Women’s Sports Is Important
By Donna A. Lopiano, Ph.D., President, Sports Management Resources
The media shapes the public’s perceptions of the accomplishments of women playing sports and whether women in general can be strong, confident and highly skilled. The media also shapes the dreams and aspirations of girls. Boys grow up watching television, bombarded by heroic and confident images of themselves playing sports and being revered for their accomplishments. They know they are expected to play sports and are encouraged to do so by everyone around them.Girls do not receive these messages.
Television carriage is also a critical ingredient for the success of professional women’s sports and competitive professional sport salaries and purses. If women’s pro sports cannot tap into big advertising dollars, athlete salaries and purses will continue to be depressed and the financial success of women’s pro leagues and tours will be more difficult to achieve.
Currently, television coverage of women’s sports is inconsistent at best and non-existent most of the time. While the exposure of female athletes improves during the Olympic Games and World Cup soccer where they demonstrate ratings successes, these are only quadrennial occurrences.And while ESPN does a great job during the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four, at other times of the year, girls receive negative or inconsistent messages from sports television. Televised WNBA games are played during a shortened summer season by players making 10-20 times less than their male counterparts. At best, women professional athletes make half as much as male athletes (in tennis), no matter how good they are, and the media continually reinforces these differences.
Girls also see a double standard in covering women’s sports. When male athletes receive media attention, such coverage is primarily focused on their skilled performance. When female athletes receive media attention, the media is much more likely to focus on their physical attractiveness or non-sport-related activities. Anna Kournikova, who has yet to win a professional tennis tournament, was one of only six women ranked among the most important people in sports. This double standard devalues the athletic achievements of female athletes compared to their male counterparts.
Implications for Sports Managers:
- Commitment to Non-Sexist Communications. A great resource for both sport managers and the sports media is Images and Words, a position paper published by the Women’s Sports Foundation. This should be a resource used by every sports information director, communications officer and sports writer who is committed to non-sexist publications and writing.
- TV Contract Negotiations. Exposure of all men’s and women’s sports programs should be a goal, even if the carrier or third party broker is only interested in the most popular sport program. TV carriage of events represents free advertising for the university and the athletics program. When so-called “minor” sports are covered, this sport promotion is an investment in developing the value of other sports in the athletics department portfolio.
- Coaches Shows. Encourage coaches with TV or radio shows to “share the wealth” by commenting regularly on other teams, including women’s sports.
- Publications. The communications director needs to play careful attention to photos and words in all organization communications. Sexist language and image stereotyping is never intentional but a reflection of culturally ingrained habits.
- Media Cultivation. The issue of increased exposure for women’s sports is a great conversation between the athletics director and the sports editor or reporters. Remember that newspaper circulation is declining and the sports pages represent an important circulation anchor. Covering all high school boys’ and girls’ sports teams in the community has been a key strategy for local papers. Parents buy newspapers. Research also shows that what gets into a newspaper has little to do with “public interest” and is more about what interests the sports editor.
- Media Training. All athletes and coaches should be media trained with regard to sexist language and proper professional dress.
- Public Interest Stories. All print and electronic media are interested in public interest stories. Sports information and communications directors should constantly remind coaches to share story angles about student-athletes.
Kirby Called up, King Overlooked for WI World Cup Camp
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua– Deandra Dottin has been named with twenty other players by Cricket West Indies’ Selection Panel, for a pre-world cup camp from January 6-25 in Antigua to finalise their preparations for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Deandra returns to West Indies Women’s duty after shoulder surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation period, which ensured her full recovery and availability for the team. Captain Stafanie Taylor, who missed the T20 International series against the visiting Indian Women’s team in November, will also be returning, along with bowlers Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman.
CWI’s Women’s and Girls Head Selector, Ann Browne-John said, “The panel has selected a squad showing a mix of youth and experience in preparation for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. The recently concluded Women’s Franchise Tournament in Trinidad also gave the panel an opportunity to view the players in a T20 setting just prior to the World Cup.”
Browne- John added, “Deandra Dottin seemed to return right where she left off before her injury and had remarkable performances from the first match. Shamilia Connell and Shakera Selman are also returning from injury and the panel hopes that by the time the final selection is to be made for the World Cup, all players will be fit and ready.”
The pre-world cup camp is scheduled from January 6-25, during which the final squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup will be selected before departure to Australia. The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup will take place between February 21 and March 8.
The 21-member Training Camp Squad:
- Stafanie Taylor
- Deandra Dottin
- Shamilia Connell
- Hayley Matthews
- Aaliyah Alleyne
- Shakera Selman
- Sheneta Grimmond
- Kaysia Schultz
- Shabika Gajnabi
- Cherry Ann Fraser
- Shemaine Campbelle
- Chinelle Henry
- Natasha McLean
- Chedean Nation
- Shawnisha Hector
- Anisa Mohammed
- Lee Ann Kirby
- Karishma Ramharack
- Caneisha Isaac
- Britney Cooper
- Afy Fletcher
Secondary School students to play alongside National/WI Players in exhibition match
The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Cricket Association (TTWCA) will be engaging Secondary School cricketers in an exhibition match ahead of its Courts Grand Slam Women’s T20 Franchise Tournament. The match will take place on Saturday, November 30, from 2pm at the National Cricket Centre.
The match will see the young secondary school students playing on teams alongside national players, who will be competing in the Courts Grand Slam from December 3 to 13. Eight (8) school girls and six (6) Franchise players will form each team. Students will get to interact with and play alongside WI players such as Reneice Boyce, Karishma Ramharack and Britney Cooper as well as a number of T&T players. They will also have the opportunity to interact with other non playing WI and T&T players such as Anisa Mohammed.
This initiative by the TTWCA is a step towards bridging the gap between Secondary School cricketers, club cricket and national cricket.
“We would like to create a pathway from schools cricket all the way up to the national team and this is one of the initiatives we are having to do that,” said Ann Browne John, Vice President of the TTWCA and CWI Head Women and Girls Selector. “We are seeing the development of the women’s game locally, we are playing our part in various ways, and we want young girls entering the world of women’s cricket, to know that there is a national team and who are the national and WI players they can emulate and look up to.”
Browne-John noted that local clubs will also be present as they hope to encourage more girls to join clubs.
The TTWCA recently wrapped up a High Performance camp for U17 players which included a number of outstanding players who also compete in the Secondary Schools Cricket League and have included an U19 spot on all Franchise teams to ensure that young players are exposed to cricket at a high level.
“We see cricket rapidly evolving globally; the ICC has indicated the introduction of a women’s U19 World Cup in the future, women’s cricket will be included in the 2022 Commonwealth Games and we intend to make the Courts GrandSlam an international event eventually, so we want to increase our pool of players, while preparing them to take advantage of the many opportunities being created everyday.”
Some of the schools which will participating in the match include Holy Faith Convent, Couva, Holy Name Convent POS, St Joseph’s Convent, Barrackpore Secondary and Iere High School.
ICYMI: $25,000 up for grabs, Courts increases investment
ICYMI: $25,000 up for grabs, Courts increases their investment, LCB central Sharks issues challenge to other teams, Stacy-Ann King hopes to build franchise fan base and the TTWCA plans to make Franchise League international
The Courts Women’s T20 GrandSlam Franchise Tournament was launched yesterday, with many announcements, challenges, and expectations being mentioned by those lauding the start of the 3rd edition of the tournament which bowls off from December 3 to 13.
Courts Corporate Social Responsibility Regional Officer, Nicole Loney-Mills, announced an increase in the company’s investment in the tournament while also commending the TTWCA for the continued growth of the event:
“This is a significant moment for us as we celebrate the evolution of women’s cricket. It is also our pleasure to announce that this year, our investment totals $100,000. We have had a long and fruitful relationship with the cricket fraternity and this partnership further pushes the envelope for continued development of sport to new heights. More importantly I see this as an investment in building our people and our community. At Unicomer, we are very passionate and committed about the development of our people and we extend this value to our business partners, key stakeholders and communities we support through our various public relations and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
It is also our hope that the Courts T20 Franchise Tournament will serve as a platform for changing the game to encourage greater participation by our female cricketers. Through this avenue we will be able to identify new talent that could represent not only Trinidad and Tobago but West Indies cricket on the International stage at the highest level of competition.” – Nicole Loney-Mills
WI all-rounder, Stacy Ann King encouraged fans to come out and support while also speaking about the establishment of franchise merchandise to further boost a fan base:
“The opportunity to develop a high level of professionalism that will contribute the the continued development of women’s cricket throughout the region, is one of the first and foremost aims of this event. We also embrace the prospect of establishing our own respective franchise fan base through the use of replica t-shirts and support via social media. The players are very appreciative of this continued support by the TTWCA, CWI and MSYA, Courts, the franchise holders; Trident Sports Phoenix, LCB Contractors, UDECOTT, and all the other sponsors who have shown faith in the development of local and regional women’s cricket.” – Stacy-Ann King, West Indies all-rounder and captain of the Phoenix Sports Tridents.
Manager of the LCB Central Sharks, Ian Telfer encouraged more sponsors to invest in the women’s game while issuing a challenging tot he other franchise teams on behalf of the LCB Central Sharks:
“These ladies are professionals in every sense of the word. Those of you don’t come, who find it inconvenient, you missed it. You missed some incredible moments in sport. Our girls give of their best, come on, can’t we even give them part of our best, can’t we show some support? I manage the LCB Central Sharks, we are the defending champions and I am challenging every other team; “come and get us.” The target is on our back, we know, we were the underdogs last year, we know that you all are coming for us this year, and I want to say one thing; “We will be glad to meet you, we will be even happier to greet you and then we will be glad to beat you.” – Ian Telfer, Manager of the LCB Central Sharks
CWI Head Women and Girls Selector and TTWCA Vice President, Ann Browne-John shared the Association’s plans for bigger and better things in the future, including making the event international:
“When this tournament was started three years ago, I don’t think any of us anticipated how it would grow. But the brand of cricket the girls have played over the past two years has made this tournament start to grow from strength to strength. And the is evident in the fact that this year, we are going to have every West Indian player who is not injured and that’s just about two injuries, but all the other top WI players are going to be present in this tournament.
This franchise tournament has been placed on the Cricket West Indies Calendar for the next 2 years. When we started this tournament it was primarily because the TTWCA is committed to the development of girls and women in the country and we have tried to show that commitment yearly through our leagues, which include a 50 over league for the premiership and a 30 over league for the Championship development, a T20 tournament, a T10 Tournament, we run a Regional U19 tournament which CWI has also come on board with us for that now and our plan is to grow this tournament, not just local, not just regional, but soon to have an international flavour. We know it will cost money and we will have to plan for it but that is how we would like to go.” – Ann Brown John, CWI Head Women and Girls Selector and Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Cricket Association.
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