Today, the Just Women’s Sports podcast released the first episode of Season 2. Two-time World Cup Champion Kelley O’Hara sits down with fellow Olympian (Track & Field) Allyson Felix. We caught up with the Utah Royals defender after one of her training sessions with the USWNT last week.
Just Women’s Sports is a new media platform that focuses on, just women! It was founded by former Washington Spirit player Hayley Rosen. In July, the platform announced its debut podcast with O’Hara as the host. Rosen and O’Hara connected last fall to discuss the platform premise and the big goals for 2020, including a podcast.
“I kind of offhandedly said, ‘Oh, you know, I love podcasts. I’ve always thought it’d be cool to host one.’ And she said, ‘Well, do you want to host this one?’” O’Hara said.
Rosen remained persistent regarding O’Hara’s involvement in the podcast and it paid off. The show debuted at #1 among sports podcasts and has over 300,000 subscribers leading up to today’s Season 2 debut. O’Hara is glad she stepped behind the mic to host the flagship podcast produced by Just Women’s Sports Inc. in collaboration with BOOM Integrated.
“To be a part of launching something and helping grow this platform, which is just women sports, with the mission of changing the media coverage of women’s sports. Being a current athlete, I know what that feels like. I’m living it. So to be part of, hopefully, a solution and change and creating what we want the future to look like in terms of media coverage for women’s sports. I jumped at that opportunity,” O’Hara said.
When not on the pitch for training, O’Hara is participating in media calls. Sometimes as the subject, sometimes as the interviewer. The addition to her workload is welcomed, especially as the world continues to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It actually hasn’t been too bad. It almost makes being stuck in a hotel not able to leave easier, because I have the the ability to do the work that I’m doing. I’ve done a couple recordings now this camp and yeah, it’s kind of like, best of both worlds, I guess,” said O’Hara in our zoom conversation following Friday’s training in Commerce City Colorado.
But O’Hara it’s quite ready to call us media folks colleagues (I tried). Yes, she researches and preps for all her interviews. But the JWS podcast, she hopes, is more of a peer-to-peer conversation.
“I certainly don’t consider myself part of the media ... at least not yet,” said O’Hara. “It’s more so like, I get the opportunity to sit down with these athletes from all different walks of life, all different sports, and all different journeys and have incredible conversations. I come out of each one being so stoked on life and just feeling uplifted and inspired and impressed.”
The style has worked. The Season 1 success led to not only another season phenomenal guests like Felix, Cat Osterman, and fellow WNT colleagues Carli Loyd and Mallory Pugh, but also a new sponsor. A beer sponsor!
It’s no secret O’Hara enjoys beer. The first live read for Season 2, Episode 1 makes that perfectly clear. However, the partnership with Heineken signals much more. It’s a noticeable sponsor investing in women’s sports coverage.
kelley o’hara jumping off the float to get beer from a fan is a big mood pic.twitter.com/VP80K6P6bc— michi ︽✵︽ (@mstwnpks) July 11, 2019
“A beer sponsorship for a sports podcast, it’s perfect ... as a fan of sports, I love having a beer, watching a game, and Heineken as a brand is all about celebration. And I feel like we need more of that, and more reasons to celebrate these days,” O’Hara said.
She also added the sponsorship is one more example of companies tapping into the women’s sports market, something she hopes continues to increase. When companies like Heineken or Budweiser – the latter is a sponsor for the NWSL and women’s hockey – come to the table, they immediately elevate the visibility of a women’s sports league or platform.
“As a brand committed to uniting fans over the love of the game – on and off the field - and with only 4% of sports coverage dedicated to women’s sports, Heineken is proud to be a sponsor of JWS and supports soccer star Kelley O’Hara’s vision to create more visibility for women’s sports,” said Frank Amorese, Senior Director – Media & Creative at HEINEKEN USA in a press release for JWS Podcast Season 2.
“It is so important for the visibility piece to be there,” O’Hara said. “If you can’t watch the sport, then how are you expected to gain fans? How are you expected to sell tickets and get people in seats? How are you expecting for people to know these storylines and to see this athletic ability?”
And yet, women’s sports fight tooth and nail for the infuriatingly low percentage media coverage it gets. JWS and many other platforms are hoping to change this. And the change has already begun. The NWSL saw a year-over-year increase of 500% to prove if you air it, fans will come.
“Every single time people bet on women, people invest in women, it comes back and it shows that people want this. People want to watch this, people do watch this! It’s just a matter of the investment,” O’Hara said, apologizing for getting fired up.
We don’t mind.
Overall, O’Hara is thrilled to be part of a platform that gives women a place to tell their own story in their own words. She expects the new season build on Season 1, with a few fun surprises.
“You got to stay tuned because you know me and beer. And I love good Heineken. We’re gonna keep the the Heineken cold and the conversations going and you never know what you might want you might see outta me.”