Girls’s professional sports activities is a ‘international phenomenon’ — and Canada is lastly becoming a member of in – Nationwide


Girls’s skilled sports activities is a rising phenomenon worldwide, and Canada is more and more becoming a member of within the motion.

After the launch of the Skilled Girls’s Hockey League this 12 months with three of the six groups from Canadian cities, one other six Canadian girls’s groups have utilized to affix a brand new nationwide Division 1 girls’s soccer league within the nation.

Referred to as Mission 8, it will likely be the primary home skilled girls’s soccer league Canada has ever seen and is a “massive deal,” girls’s sports activities advocates informed International Information.

Up to now, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary have introduced they’ve utilized to the league, and three different groups can be revealed within the coming weeks, in keeping with Mission 8. The league is ready to launch in 2025 and has Canadian Tire, CIBC, DoorDash and Air Canada as founding companions.

“The timing (for its launch) couldn’t be higher with the expansion of viewership and recognition of girls’s sports activities basically,” Kim Brassor, the founder and government director of Oakville, Ont.-based Future Ladies Soccer, informed International Information.

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“If the fitting enterprise companions come alongside and gamers come alongside, I feel it’s going to be a terrific enterprise for Canada Soccer.”

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Brassor helps coach women ages eight to 12 in soccer, and mentioned having an expert league in Canada can be an enormous inspiration for gamers. Earlier than Mission 8, the one hope for enjoying the game professionally could be to go to different international locations to play of their leagues, she mentioned.

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Now the aim of taking part in professionally can be far more tangible and supply younger gamers with position fashions, in keeping with Brassor.

The brand new league is being created by retired Olympic participant Diana Matheson and her enterprise accomplice, Thomas Gilbert. It comes as girls’s sports activities is quickly gaining recognition around the globe, in keeping with Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, the CEO of non-profit Canadian Girls and Sport.

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“It’s a world phenomenon,” she mentioned. “The fandom is rising when it comes to the viewership on-line, on TV, engagement on social media, attendance at occasions.”

Nielsen reported in July 2023 that curiosity in girls’s sports activities is rising at a “meteoric tempo,” with the ultimate recreation of the NCAA Girls’s Division between Iowa and LSU drawing in a record-breaking 9.9 million views, up 103 per cent from the 12 months earlier than. Deloitte has predicted that girls’s elite sports activities will surpase US$1 billion in income in 2024 for the primary time.

Sandmeyer-Graves mentioned Canada is definitely behind when it comes to girls’s sports activities choices in comparison with different locations such because the U.S. and Europe, and says there’s a large alternative for funding and partnerships. She mentioned girls athletes are actually constructing their very own profiles and fanbases much like how male athletes have finished for many years — and types are taking discover.

The brand new league will solely assist with progress by creating extra visibility and air time, she mentioned.

“Buyers seeing the enterprise alternative that (girls’s sports activities) represents and beginning to put their cash towards it’s making a profound distinction,” she mentioned. “There’s an amazing enterprise alternative right here that has not been tapped into but.”

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Much like how native sports activities, such because the Raptors G-League in Mississauga, are making inroads of their very own, girls’s sports activities gives its personal twist that followers appear to be consuming up.

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Brassor mentioned stands are continually crammed at video games, and infrequently it’s households who hope to offer some inspiration for his or her kids. However it isn’t solely inspiration on present however precise expertise, she famous.

“It’s an important recreation,” she mentioned. “While you watch it, you’re entertained.”

There are nonetheless obstacles to girls’s sports activities, although. Sandmeyer-Graves talked about that sports activities has been dominated by males for therefore lengthy that there’s “gender bias” baked into the choice making and insurance policies, additionally given management in sports activities remains to be very a lot male.

Girls’s sports activities — together with sports activities extra broadly — even have confronted high-profile sexual abuse and misconduct points which were unearthed lately, together with in water polo, gymnastics and hockey.

Each Sandmeyer-Graves and Brassor say there may be nonetheless a protracted strategy to go to eradicate the issue utterly.

“Now we have to face up for victims and provides them a impartial spot the place they will inform their reality with out being victimized once more,” Brassor mentioned. “We’re nonetheless not there.”

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