Why Sports Needs The Fan Project

Equality in sports isn't just right - it's smart business. Here's why we need YOU to make the case for women's sports

Why We Started The Fan Project

A Note From Our Founder:
Angela Ruggiero

As a girl growing up playing ice hockey in California, I had no female role models in my sport — I couldn't see any. So I looked up to someone I could see: Wayne Gretzky.

In second grade, when I had to dress up for Career Day, I dressed up as Gretzky. I stood before my class and stated that I wanted to play for the LA Kings when I grew up. I set my sights on being the best.

In relentless pursuit of my dream of playing my sport at the highest level, I earned a spot on the US National Hockey Team when I was 15 years old. That first day in the locker room, I sat and looked around at all of my national teammates. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by female role models. Women who I could look up to and aspire to be. I had a stack of their trading cards with me on that first day and I walked around to each of these women, collecting for their autographs. I was in awe.

Of these women, Chris Bailey stands out in my memory the most. She played defense like I did, and she took the time to connect with me. Chris was at the top of her game and a true leader on and off the ice. No one out worked or out-competed Chris. She became my new Wayne Gretzky.

I wanted to be just like Chris and it soon became real to me that I could do something significant with my hockey career. I set my sights on playing on the Olympic team and, four consecutive Olympic games, well, the rest is history.

Looking back on this moment of inspiration in the US National Team locker room, and now as a leader in the sports industry, I understand the power of visibility of women's sports. Without access to sports for women and visibility to women's sports, these moments of inspiration are not possible. These incredible role models in women's sports remain hidden.

Today, I am on a mission to ensure that women's sports are more visible and that they not only survive but thrive for the next generation of aspiring girls out there. If we can enable the sports industry to see and quantifiably measure the love of women's sports and fandom for the women's game that is out there, we can meaningfully increase the investment in and visibility of women's sports.

So, how can we do this and where do we start? The short answer is that it starts with YOU: the fan. The only way we can see and measure your love and fandom is if we know WHO YOU ARE. Your interests, your behaviors, your preferences -- are all reflected in your social media history. If we can gather enough of this data, we can paint a fuller picture of the demand for women's sports. We can push the industry to invest more in women's sports.

If you've been impacted by women's sports, are a fan of women's sports, and are vested in the future of women's sports, SHOW US. Share your data with us so that we can show the industry and change the game.

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