From Ultiworld: A new partnership will support Ultiworld's college women's coverage.
We are pleased to announce that VC Ultimate has partnered with Ultiworld to help support a substantial amount of college women’s coverage in the 2016-2017 season. Featuring tournament reporting, video footage and highlights, coverage of D-I and D-III Nationals, and a monthly profile series, Ultiworld’s coverage of the college Women’s Division will be stronger than ever thanks to VC Ultimate’s generous support.
Below is a Q&A with VC CEO Adriana Withers about the company’s decision to commit resources to enhanced media coverage of the Women’s Division.
Why is this an important moment for women’s ultimate?
There are a lot of important developments happening in ultimate right now. The recognition by the International Olympic Committee, the spreading awareness of the professional leagues, the quasi-regular inclusion of plays on SportsCenter Top 10 – these are all signs that ultimate has started to arrive in the mainstream, if it hasn’t already.
As more eyes and interest land on ultimate, it is of paramount importance that our incumbent media outlets commit to presenting our sport at its best, which to VC means providing equal coverage of the women’s division, towards the goal of supporting gender equity.
It’s important that female athletes have their stories told and are equally and respectfully covered. It’s important that, when new spectators and media consumers read about and watch ultimate, it is just as likely that they are seeing coverage of women’s competition. Further, it’s crucial that any girl thinking about getting involved in our sport can go on to a site like Ultiworld and find a female role model just as easily as a young boy could find a male one, or vice versa for that matter.
VC is proud to support Ultiworld’s 2016-2017 women’s division coverage. When we proposed this idea, it was because it was one way that we can help to level the playing field in terms of what events and stories get covered in the coming year.
Yes, it’s an indisputable fact that more people watch men’s athletic events, and therefore those events are better financially supported than women’s ones. Yes, this is true even in ultimate. That doesn’t mean that supporting the coverage of the women’s division is less important to VC; we think it makes it more important to put our financial resources behind it.
What’s the motivation behind sponsoring Ultiworld’s women’s coverage?
As ultimate continues to expand, it is necessary that ultimate organizations, governing bodies, and for-profit businesses commit to working towards gender equity in our sport. We have a real opportunity to cultivate ultimate in a different way than traditional sports have historically grown.
In my opinion, that means that companies like VC need to open our pocket books and truly support equal coverage of women’s ultimate, even knowing that we will have a less traditionally “valuable” return on our investment. The motivation behind our idea to support Ultiworld’s women’s division coverage was simple: it was the right thing to do.
Why move beyond your focus on Without Limits to support the full college season coverage?
Without Limits Ultimate is an amazing organization that will always have VC in its corner. The work that Michelle Ng and her partners have done to create playing and development opportunities for women (and men) over the last 6+ years is inspiring. Organizations like this build our community up and strengthen the foundation on which we can continue to make progress.
However, Without Limits is only one of many organizations doing great work – the All-Star Ultimate Tour, GUM, camps like NUTC that make gender equity a focus among both instructors and players, and the many other tournaments with strong women’s divisions across the country.
We didn’t want to pick and choose what coverage we helped to fund simply due to an event’s affiliation with partners we are already work with or tournaments that we are already supporting in some other way. It was important to provide financial support to the entire division’s coverage to help get as many stories out there, from as many far-apart places, and about as many different players, teams, and organizers as possible.
How do you see a media-focused partnership helping there?
As we say at the VC office, 90% of problems we come across are due to lack of quality communication. What better way to focus on the importance of gender equity in ultimate than by supporting the quality coverage of the women’s division?