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The conversations are beginning to make a difference to female athletes’ bottom line, too. Star Tribune reporter and columnist Rachel Blount noted that Lynx forward Maya Moore was among the first female athletes signed by the [Michael] Jordan brand.
“When she was drafted by the Lynx, they touted her as a breakthrough female athlete, because her talent was so great that her fans included young men, a demographic that tends to be resistant to women’s sports,” said Blount, who has covered sports for 28 years.
“Lindsay Whalen has lots of male fans,” Blount added. “Those things would have been unthinkable years ago.”
Still work to do
Blount also is buoyed by the number of “big female stars” of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, including ski jumpers who finally got in after years of fighting for Olympic inclusion.
There’s still work to do. LaVoi and Kane collaborated on a thoughtful documentary airing this month on TPT, called “Media Coverage and Female Athletes” (tpt.org). The 50-minute film celebrates changes but notes glaring errors, such as the fact that the 2013 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championships, featuring the reigning champion U Gophers on an undefeated streak, wasn’t televised.
“Such an oversight would be unimaginable had this been a men’s sport,” Kane said.
Moore, who is also in the documentary, takes a patient approach. “I don’t know too many people who have come to me and said, ‘You know, I came to a [Lynx] game and it just wasn’t exciting,’” she says.
“They come to games and say, ‘I just didn’t know.’ ”
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