By Dr. Vandy Pacetti-Donelson |
When was the last time that you went to a sports bar and found women’s sport on the TV? When people walk into any sports bar in America, they expect 24/7 sports coverage and often they receive just that, as there really is 24/7 coverage of sports, but that coverage is MEN’s sports. If there is not a live men’s game on, there are replays and behind-the-scenes commentary shows to fill the gaps in live coverage. As of right now, that just does not exist for WOMEN’s sports. 96% of all sports media coverage on TV is of men’s sports. That means just 4% of all sports on TV is of women. If you were interested in viewing a women’s sport at a local sports bar, you are likely going to ask for one of the forty or more televisions in any sports bar to be turned to what coverage may be available of a women’s sport. Now, there is one place where women’s sports will not only be featured but celebrated through exclusive coverage in a sports bar.
Featured on Good Morning America this week, “The Sports Bra” is a woman-owned sports bar in Portland, Oregon owned by Jenny Nguyen. From their use of women-owned suppliers, an environment filled with women’s sports memorabilia, and a menu and environment featuring women’s sport, their mission is to make great food and drinks, and provide a space that supports, empowers, and promotes girls and women in sports and in the community.
Nguyen began her journey to small business ownership through the traditional methods, seeking small business funding from multiple banks and financial institutions and from which she was denied. As a first-time business owner, she was able to get this business running through bootstrapping, which meant exhausting her personal savings, receiving generous loans from friends and family, and through completing a Kickstarter project for support. As of March 16, 2022, 635 backers pledged $105,135 to bring Nguyen’s idea to life.
One of the main goals of The Sports Bra is to give the community a place to celebrate women’s and girls’ sports together. I hope the next time I am in Portland that I will be able to visit The Sports Bra and have a meal while enjoying access to quality televised women’s sporting events. If we are going to see women’s sport prosper, we must make available experiences that demonstrate the value of women’s sport as entertainment.
Dr. Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Library and Instructional Design at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala.