Image Credit: Geoff Tripp Photography
In December I wrote an article on LinkedIn titled, ‘Aussie female athletes, it’s time to shine online!’
It was a message to the female athletes about to embark on new, or revamped sporting leagues, and the spotlight of attention that was about to shine on them – and how they should start thinking about their online presence in preparation for increased opportunity to build their reputation and identity among a growing community of fans.
Away from that spotlight, without a TV deal for the 2016/17 season, the Women’s National Basketball League played out another season of world-class basketball in front of die-hard supporters…
But now, with the recent announcement of a three year broadcast partnership with FOX Sports, it is the WNBL’s turn.
“This isn’t just another broadcast deal; it’s a partnership. We are invested in making a difference, and putting women’s basketball in Australia back on the map,” FOX SPORTS CEO, Patrick Delany.
For die-hard supporters of the league, it feels like forever that the stars of our professional women’s basketball competition were on TV.
On a personal note, as a father of two young daughters I couldn’t be more excited to watch their future role-models in action with them, playing a sport I love, over the coming seasons… (Although it will take some effort to out-shine their current favourite Emma Wiggle, who I’m convinced will run the world one day!)
Not for a long time has there been a partner to the league with the ability to advertise and showcase the players, and help create real opportunities to commercialise and build their personal brands.
As fantastic as it was to see one game a week on the ABC, there were always difficulties leveraging the personalities, back-stories and up and coming stars of those playing each week.
One of my highlights from the inaugural AFLW season was watching the fascinating stories surrounding the athlete journeys being highlighted with creative and inspirational digital content, shared by the clubs and FOX Sports.
Jess Bibby, Alison Downie, Erin Phillips were highlights, but no longer will our elite basketballers have to wait for their incredible stories to be given the chance to reach the audience they deserve until they sign with the AFLW.
The online world has also evolved rapidly and the opportunities for engaging, professional content to be created and shared have made it so much easier for athletes to take responsibility for sharing their stories themselves.
Partners, media, fans and potential sponsors will be on the look-out for athletes with stories that will engage and resonate with their audiences; take advantage. You have an amazing story to tell, with a whole new audience to introduce yourself to, and a former audience to reconnect with.
I know the WNBL is not new, but to a lot of people seeing the content from this year’s tip-off it will be.
My advice below from December is still valid. WNBL athletes, with increased coverage will come increased interest and attention – be prepared to showcase yourself and your sport with pride, and shine online!
Finally, if you’re looking for examples of WNBL players shining online, look no further than the more than 200 positive social media posts collated here which show a number of basketball’s best sharing motivating, inspiring, educational and entertaining content.
Is there a WNBL player out there creating and sharing great content? I know a few but would love to have you direct me to their work in the comments below!