When I think back to all of the time I have spent watching sports, a few memorable moments rise to the top. Lisa Leslie’s famous dunk, the first in WNBA history, took the world by storm. My daughter and I were on the edge of our seats when the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the fourth time back in 2019. And seeing Simone Biles perform multiple signature gymnastics moves that have never been done before is a testament to her creativity and incredible talent. These moments are inspiring and remind us that investment in women and girls allows for them to live out their dreams.
Despite knowing the importance of representation, only 4% of television sports coverage and less than 1% of sponsorship is dedicated to women’s sports. This lack of visibility and support impacts not only professional athletes, but all of us, from fans and emerging athletes to our kids who dream of following in the footsteps of their idols. It even transcends sports by reinforcing standards of inequity. This is something I am personally passionate about, and that we at Google are eager to help change.
Today, we’re proud to announce that we’re embarking on a multi-year partnership with the WNBA and ESPN as a WNBA Changemaker. As a Changemaker, we are committed to increasing visibility and coverage of women’s sports to help break down barriers.
First up, as the Presenting Partner of the WNBA on ESPN, we will work with both companies to deliver “25 for 25”: 25 regular season games on ABC and ESPN for the 25th season of the league. We are also working with ESPN to add a dedicated segment for women’s sports on SportsCenter, ensuring the network’s flagship program celebrates the top plays, inclusive of all genders.
Like all of us, WNBA players have their own stories off the court. So later this month, we’ll work with the league, ESPN and others to launch these stories on ESPN Films’ 30 for 30. We’ll follow Maya Moore and her fight for criminal justice reform as well as get a peek into the energy of last year’s WNBA Playoff Wubble in the documentary “144.”
Finally, as an ‘Official Trends & Fan Insights Partner’ of the WNBA and an ‘Official Technology Partner,’ we will harness the best of Google’s products and innovation to enrich WNBA fans’ connection to the game, to the culture and to one another. We will continue to make it easy to follow the game on Search, helping you check scores, standings, stats and more. Plus, this year you’ll be able see highlights from the recent games on Search, so you never miss any of the action.
The WNBA has been at the forefront of progress, for gender equity, racial justice and sport as a whole. And with ESPN as the leading platform for sports coverage, they are at the forefront of telling stories that need to be heard and shining a light on athletes making a difference. We are incredibly proud to partner with these two organizations that share our values on equity and inclusivity, so that women athletes can get the recognition they deserve.
My hope is that we can lay the foundations so that every woman and girl can turn on TV, go to Search and YouTube, and see themselves represented in sports and media. By sharing the stories and talent of these incredible athletes through this partnership, we have a big opportunity to make that hope a reality.