ESPNW: A Sincere Opinion From a 'W' About New ESPN for Women

Kate Conroy@@ladylovespinsSenior Analyst IIJanuary 3, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14:  Race car driver Danica Patrick (detail shoes) arrives at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

On December 6, 2010, ESPNW was introduced, as a website for women who are passionate sports fans and athletes.

In essence, it is the women’s version of ESPN.
As a female sports blogger, I’ve been asked for my opinion numerous times about ESPNW, so now I will share it.
The sports world has always been predominantly male in all aspects. Women were not supposed to be passionate sports fans because the gender divide was so vast.
Even as women have risen in most industries over the last two decades, the sports industry did not budge.
Then the Internet came along, it opened a new door for women in sports because it allows anyone to express their opinion without being prejudged by gender.
In a sense, it shielded us from gender discrimination, and in turn women utilized the opportunity and have taken major strides because of it.
Now women are hosting Sportscenter, sitting at round tables, writing columns and—like myself—blogging about sports right along side men.
Here are my two reasons why ESPNW is not going to work—

No. 1) Professional Women’s Sports are boring in comparison to men's.

Literally, the WNBA is about as fun to watch as paint drying.

The only female sports that I watch are tennis and the Olympics, which is minimal anyway. So, the thought of a website dedicated to the female fan and athlete seems senseless considering the huge lack of interest.

What drives me nuts is that—because I am female—other women get quite upset that I have zero interest in writing about our my own sex.

Why do I have to like female sports?

The fact is, the skill level and overall talent doesn’t compare to the male athlete, nor will it ever.

No 2.) To be honest, I want the male opinion—especially on sports.

Being a baseball/football blogger heading into my third full MLB season, I can promise you that women love male sports.

The male sports world is in a league of its own, as it is more exciting and fanatical. As far as women have come today, ESPNW is taking a self-imposed step backwards.

In order for female opinions to carry substance, we have to compete with the men. That demands women to be where that is happening as well.

Knowing that I am just one person, I did test my views first.
Prior to writing my opinion, getting the male perspective was important to me. So, I asked 12 males if they would ever go to ESPNW to get the latest news in the female sports world?
Their answers, though worded differently, were a unanimous "no", with 10 of 12 adding their desire to never to see women's sports take up room on ESPN again.

Their only exceptions came for cheerleaders, hot tennis players and WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends of Sports).
In an all-perfect world, a sentiment based on knowledgeable sports reporting about outstanding athletes regardless of gender would be ideal.

Yet that is not the way, as men don’t judge sports that way and sports have never been that way.
It leads to the belief that if ESPNW is mainly dedicated to the female athlete as a brand, it will not only hurt women in media but the athletes themselves.
ESPNW will just reassure where women in sports stand, and in my opinion no male will head to the ‘W’ over the real thing.

At least for now, women in sports need to cement themselves in men's sports before a successful "women's only" network would make sense.

ESPNW is being presented at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons because women have to have a voice before anyone is going to listen.


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