TULSA, OK - Today, a new digital platform that will highlight and elevate Black women and melanated creators in sports media launched: #BlackRosieMedia. #BlackRosieMedia will feature original and syndicated content from Black and melanated women across all sports. It will host podcasts, video series, blog posts, and social media content that brings the unique and in-demand voices of Black women or BIPOC creators in the sports media industry to the forefront, while ensuring equitable compensation for their work.
The platform, #BlackRosie Media was created by Erica L. Ayala, a freelance multimedia journalist and analyst for the Premiere Hockey Federation (PHF) and National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Ayala is believed to be the first Black woman to call an NHL game, and her writing has appeared in Forbes, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and more. She has moderated panels for the Black Girl Hockey Club, the Greenwood Gallery, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and more. She was featured in segments on NBC Sports Black Women of Hockey virtual panel and during the 2021 WNBA Finals. In 2022, Erica covered the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
“Whether I am covering hockey, women’s basketball or the 2022 Winter Olympics, my career has shown that audiences want to hear from me and other Black creators like me,” said Ayala. “Yet, too often Black woman journalists are not part of sports media.” A 2021 study by The Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sports revealed 77.1% of North American sports columnists are white, and 82.2% are men. The same TIDES report ranked the mainstream sports media industry with a B+ in racial hiring and an F in gender hiring.
This data indicates that as hiring is diversified, women are not benefitting. “Since I entered the sports media space in 2016, it has been clear that opportunities are lacking for Black journalists and creators. From the inability to get credentials to cover live events to a lack of resources for our independent ventures, there are a lot of challenges that come with the job,” said Erica L. Ayala.
Women around the world consider themselves monthly sports viewers and according to the 2021 Global Sports Survey, nearly 50 percent of women in the UK, US, and Germany are monthly sports viewers. The number is nearly 70 percent in Latin America and Asia., In the United States, Black spending power is estimated to be a $300 billion opportunity. This market, too long overlooked by traditional media and industries, is beginning to garner notice and returns. #BlackRosie Media will be a home for Black women creators and Black fans who don’t see themselves represented elsewhere.
“#BlackRosie presents an opportunity that has been missing for so long to give credit to the Black women and melanated faces in these spaces that don’t often get the notice they deserve,” said Candace Cooper, Lead Producer at Under Armour and #BlackRosie advisory board member. “We need a platform like this to allow us to tell more stories, and I am so excited to see #BlackRosie come to life.”
In addition to Cooper, #BlackRosie’s advisors include:
Kelsey Trainor, VP Business Affairs Gaming Society
Bria Felicien, Copywriter, Toast
R. Renee Hess, Founder, Black Girl Hockey Club
Chanel Keenan, Intersectionality Consultant, Seattle Kraken
Candace Cooper, Lead Producer at Under Armour
More advisors will be announced in the coming weeks.
#BlackRosieMedia will host conferences that can help educate and connect employers and decision-makers with Black women in the sports media space, as well as events to celebrate the work of these creators. #BlackRosieMedia will provide mentorship programs, membership networks, accelerators, scholarships for the next generation of Black sports media personalities.
“Black women and creators of color deserve this. Erica L. Ayala has the vision to create this space for us. It's beyond a ‘see them, be them’ situation, but it's ‘I see you. I feel you. You belong here.’ And it's so necessary,” said Ari Chambers, founder of HighlightHER and the recipient of the 2022 Dawn Staley Excellence in Broadcasting Award.
“This has been a long time coming, but simultaneously, right on time. It's time to make sure we feel safe in spaces we have pioneered but been overlooked. #BlackRosie is destined for greatness because being a melanated creator is greatness in itself,” said Chambers.
Ayala and Chambers will talk about #BlackRosie Media on Instagram Live Tuesday at noon ET on the HighlightHER account.
Beginning June 1, #BlackRosie Media will highlight Title IX at 50 by exploring research that suggests implementation of the landmark legislation has negatively impacted the participation of Black girls and women in sports. The platform’s first event, the #BlackRosie Content Festival, will be held virtually from November 2nd - 5th. The festival will spotlight a number of creators who will have their work showcased and have the opportunity to receive feedback from a select group of advisors on their work.
Ayala has worked to develop #BlackRosie through her participation in Heartland Forward and Builders + Backers’ Idea Accelerator, a program aimed at turning entrepreneurs’ ideas into reality across the heartland of the United States.
About BlackRosie: #BlackRosie Media is a community for Black women and melanated creators in sports media. We are committed to showing up as advocates for the visibility of Black women and creators of color through original content, events, partnerships, and more. Our goal is to create a space online where Black women and other BIPOC creators are celebrated, appreciated, and equitably compensated for their work.
Not only is #BlackRosie Media a community for Black women and melanated creators, but it's also a standalone media conglomerate giving these creators a platform for their work. We are a space for news, game coverage, and creative sports content.
To learn more, visit https://www.blackrosiemedia.com/.
About Heartland Forward:
Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan, 501c3 organization whose mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. Heartland Forward conducts independent, data-driven research and programs to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations. To learn more, visit https://heartlandforward.org/.
About Builders + Backers:
Builders + Backers invests in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building global-scale ventures to power an entirely different future - one where technology creates value for many instead of capturing it for a few. Through proprietary programming, Builders + Backers also inspires and equips people to best seize the opportunities of our digital era - from experimentation and solving problems in their local communities to starting new ventures that could scale. By backing the most creative builders across the country, we can shape the digital future to be one in which more people participate and thrive.