To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Title IX and its dramatic influence on the history of American sports, ESPN is presenting a Women & Sports Weekend. Through a series of programming initiatives that recognize the significance, growth and overall impact of women in sports, we will highlight the changes to the sports landscape since the adoption of this landmark legislation. The weekend will encompass nearly 40 hours of programming — women’s professional sports events, specials, and documentaries on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. In addition, we’ll also schedule several on-campus and employee focused activities to coincide with the weekend. You can look forward to receiving more information in an additional e-mail from Human Resources outlining these events and other opportunities for our employees to learn more about Title IX.
The highlight of the weekend is a two-part special that will air on Saturday, June 22nd from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET titled: “On the Basis of Sex”. The first hour will include an in-depth documentary examining the impact of Title IX over the past 30 years. The second hour will include a live ESPN Town Meeting hosted by Bob Ley at the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts in Hartford in front of a live audience. The participants will include a mix of athletes, politicians, and league and university officials. The weekend will culminate on the anniversary day – Sunday, June 23 – with four different live women’s professional sports events, select taped events, plus special editions of the weekly Sports Reporters and Outside the Lines. Additionally, ESPN Classic will offer replays of the 1999 Women’s World Cup Championship, the 1973 Battle of the Sexes: Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs, and the 2002 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Game.
Title IX’s impact on women reaches beyond athletic participation. It has unquestionably fostered career choices for women in the sports arena. In turn, this has ushered talented women into our company and the industry allowing us the benefit of their contributions. ESPN’s objective is to be the destination of choice for women sports fans as well as women interested in being a part of our business.
As the leader in telecasting women’s sports, this is an opportunity for ESPN to emphasize the importance of it to the growth of our business. The weekend will allow us to continue to expand ESPN’s reach beyond the male audience and attract new female viewers to sample our networks. It is consistent with our top priority of increasing ratings and it is also an opportunity for advertisers to tap into one of the fastest growing consumer markets. For advertisers who have demonstrated their commitment to women’s sports, this initiative allows them to reinforce this message.
We’re all very excited about this effort and believe that it will continue to set us apart from our competitors while providing fans, affiliates and advertisers with unique and compelling programming. We urge you to spread the word among your family and friends and we will be working with our league partners as well as others throughout The Walt Disney Company over the next month to ensure its success.
Thank you and thanks to all those involved in making this weekend and its programming a success.