Like so many kids growing up I just loved sport. I got dressed in my uniform for my first ever tee-ball game at 5am when the game started at 8, Sports Tonight was my favourite show and I never cried watching movies but a Grand Final morning montage brought on tears.
Sport has given me so much joy in my life. Close friends, bonds with my family and a sense of success that can be hard to describe. But growing up the sports in the spotlight day to day were always footy and cricket. I only watched Vicki Wilson lead her Diamonds team when we went to games in person and I patiently waited every 4 years to cheer for my Olympic heroes Susie O’Neill, Cathy Freeman, the Opals and the Hockeyroos. Female athletes were just not put on the same pedestal as their male counterparts.
It has been incredible to see the growth in female elite sport particularly over the past 5 years. We are seeing more women on our screens competing at the top level; small pangs of “I wish we had this when I was a kid” crop up but overall I can’t help but be happy and inspired by the women we watch. However I noticed some growing pains, some realities that impact female athletes that just don’t impact the men.
I think there is a common theme across the industry in applying similar formats and methods but maybe this wasn’t translating across codes as easily as first intended. Importantly, I noticed that although some female athletes were becoming full time paid professionals there were few options for representation that didn’t see them sit at the end of a long list of talent behind AFL, NRL and cricket players. Little things such as sports agencies only using photos of their male talent on the website are subtle details you notice. It made me think about whether our female athletes were getting the tailored services they need in a very different sporting landscape, or was it another example of applying what works for men to our female athletes. That’s not a blight on other businesses at all, just something I noticed that made me think that there is an opportunity to create a place for female athletes where they are the stars at the forefront of our minds at all times. That’s why we are female focused and female lead.
Brieanna Mercer, Stella Director