Y Sport delighted to be working with Cheshire County FA and partners to deliver a £70m North West football hub

We are delighted to be working with @Cheshire_FA and partners to deliver this £70m North West football hub – an integrated facility with a focus on best in class provision for the women’s game.  It will be the first of its kind in the UK and a massive step forward for women’s football. @Cheshire_FA is in discussion with a @FAWSL club to develop this unique community and professional football environment. #Vision2020 #ChangingLives

Full story here: http://www.cheshirefa.com/news/2018/may/15/vision-2020

Sally Horrox, Managing Partner at Y Sport

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Y Sport proud to bring Sported and TSB together - a new partnership for community sport all over the UK

We’re delighted and proud to have helped bring TSB and Sported together, in a landmark partnership for community sports clubs all over the UK.  Local community sport groups are struggling to stay open and are crying out for more support to safeguard their future:

• More than half of people who attend local community sport groups are concerned their group will shut down.

• A quarter of people say their local community sport group has already had to close.

• In a new partnership with Sported, TSB will help local community sport groups continue to  thrive and be accessible.

TSB believes this partnership can create a step-change in the way local groups are run – and ultimately ensure that the young people who could benefit most from Sport for Development programmes can continue to access their vital support.

It’s the latest TSB partnership to recognise the valuable work being done through grassroots activities at a local level, and the positive impact this can have on the community. And, like Pride of Sport, the partnership will also enable TSB to support and celebrate those who make a difference.

Sported is a charity and free membership organisation, supporting over 3,000 community sport groups and youth groups across the UK that deliver Sport for Development. These groups use the power of sport to tackle common social problems, such as crime, anti-social behaviour and obesity. They also give disadvantaged young people the opportunities, confidence and support to overcome their personal hurdles and succeed in life.

TSB’s research shows that:

• 82% of parents believe community sport groups are important for their children’s personal development.

• More than three quarters (77%) of people feel that community sport is an important part of their social life and helps to maintain their happiness.

• Two thirds (68%) of people believe community sport helps with community cohesion.

• 68% of people say community sport is vital in helping to transform the lives of young people.

• 69% of people say that their local sports group has helped them to meet people from a different background that they wouldn’t have otherwise met.

• 65% of people believe community sport is important in helping reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

The partnership will kick off in four pilot regions:  North East Scotland, South Midlands, Thames Valley & South Coast, and Greater Manchester.

We look forward to working with Sported and TSB in this amazing journey!

Read full story here: sported.org.uk and tsb.co.uk

 

Sally Hancock, Managing Partner at Y Sport

 

 

An interview with Tatjana Haenni - Y Sport | Global Women’s Football Expert

An interview with Tatjana Haenni - Y Sport | Global Women’s Football Expert

What is your new role at Y Sport?
As part of Y Sport’s leadership team, I will work closely with Sally Hancock and Sally Horrox to expand the consultancy’s business in women’s sport and international football. My focus will be advising clubs, leagues, international federations as well as brand and media partners on their women’s sport and football interests – to deliver growth, investment and exciting new commercial partnerships.  I also have in depth experience of bidding for, creating and delivering major women’s sports events which will complement Y Sport’s existing business.
Y Sport launched in April 2016, founded by two industry leaders Sally Hancock and Sally Horrox. The consultancy has grown swiftly in this time and developed a strong reputation for providing original and impartial advice to global brands, media partners and right holders across elite and grassroots sports, with a particular belief and interest in the value of women’s sport. With a client base that includes UEFA, SKY, TSB and Nissan, Y Sport also works closely with a number of federations and rights holders.

How do you see the potential of women’s sport?
My background is in international sport – leading the development of women’s football for FIFA and UEFA over the past 20 years. Working internationally across many countries, I have witnessed the positive impact that grass roots sport and world class events can have on people, business and communities. Making the business case for investment in women’s sport – not just football - is becoming easier, as the audience grows, and there is proven demand.  I oversaw the organisation of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. Digital and social media audience for these events surpassed the Tour de France and the Rugby World Cup.
The public and fans want to see it. It is cool, it is trendy, it is different. It is something new and, in a mature market, that makes it very appealing.

Can you see the start of a new era for women's football?
I believe this is the start of the next chapter of growth for women’s football - so many things are changing for the better as the sport becomes more organized and professional. New competition structures, increasingly professional leagues, the environment and salaries for players and the club structures are all changing. Investment by men’s professional clubs is increasing as they see the benefits of a more inclusive approach to football. Long term investment is starting to make a positive impact as we see the sport grow, more girls and women playing and becoming lifelong football fans.

What is the biggest challenge for women’s football?
The biggest challenge for women’s football has been the lack of investment in the sport. Attracting this investment has been difficult without media profile at the top of the game; right now this is changing. The sport is more visible on media platforms, digital and social channels, and we are seeing long term investment, for example by FIFA and UEFA to fund global growth and development of the sport. We are in the early stages of this investment cycle – the challenge is to plan and commit to this for the long term over the next 5 – 10 years.

The other challenge we must address is to make sure that sport is completely inclusive. Any time you speak about sport, it should be about boys and girls, men and women. It should be inclusive. It should be diverse, open to all ages.  It should take the whole society into account and offer opportunities for all.

How do you feel part of the growth and professional development of women’s sport?
To work in women’s sport right now is tremendously exciting. To be involved in football and to see it grow and become fully inclusive so that girls and boys have the same opportunity to play – whether that be for fun, friendship and health or to pursue a professional career - is incredibly rewarding.  One day to say that we have played a part and helped to achieve that, then I think we should really be happy and proud of ourselves.

Y Sport
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Global Women’s Football Expert Joins Y Sport Leadership Team

Leading strategic sport and brand consultancy Y Sport has added global women’s football expert Tatjana Haenni to its leadership team with a key focus on the expansion and development of the consultancy’s work across women’s sport and international football.

Previously Head of Women’s Football at FIFA between 1999 – 2017, Tatjana has over 20 years’ experience of working at the top of international football. Her football career started on the Swiss National Women’s Team before a move into coaching, then into UEFA and FIFA in various senior management and board roles. During her time at FIFA, Tatjana oversaw the organisation of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011, the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 and a number of FIFA Women’s Football Committees. Tatjana is currently President of FC Zürich Frauen.

Sally Horrox, Founding Partner of Y Sport commented, “We are absolutely delighted that Tatjana is joining our team. We’ve had a phenomenal first year and Tatjana is a perfect fit in terms of her skills, experience and ability to further strengthen our business, whether that be acting for clubs, leagues, international federations or brand partners. Tatjana also brings a wealth of experience bidding for, creating and delivering major sports events which will complement our existing business‘’.

Tatjana added, ”I am very excited to be joining Y Sport, I have a huge amount of respect for Sally Hancock and Sally Horrox and look forward to playing a key role in helping them accelerate the growth of their international business“.

Y Sport launched in April 2016, founded by two industry leaders Sally Hancock and Sally Horrox. The consultancy has grown swiftly in this time and developed a strong reputation for providing original and impartial advice to global brands, broadcasters and right holders across elite and grassroots sports, with a particular belief and interest in the value of women’s sport.

With a client base that includes UEFA, SKY, TSB and Nissan, Y Sport also works closely with a number of federations and right holders.

The Importance of Women's Sport Week - What We've Achieved and Why There's Still a Long Way to Go

October 3 2016

Today marks the start of Women’s Sport Week, 2016.  Originally imagined by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2015, the week celebrates all that is great and good in women’s sport and highlights all that is not.  The BBC, Sky and the charity I chair, Women in Sport, are the principle partners, and we’ll see a plethora of events, content, debate and, hopefully, positive commitments for the future.

 

Why do we need this? And what has changed since the first Women’s Sport Week in 2015?  We have a lot to be proud of and celebrate.  Women won a record 46% of all Team GB medals at Rio 2016, making up 43% of the team, a success exceeded by Paralympics GB where our female athletes won almost twice as many gold medals as men. Women’s sport has new heroes.  Not only our hugely successful athletes in domestic and international competition, but the extraordinary numbers of women and girls getting active for the first time, and sharing their experiences with others. Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign has seen nearly 3m more women and girls claiming to take part in exercise and activity as a result, although, still 1.73m fewer women than men are active on a regular basis.

 

The correlation between playing sport, improved health and better life chances for women and girls is now better understood.  Sport and exercise builds confidence, teamwork and self-belief, and brings skills to girls that can’t be taught in the classroom. At the launch of Investec and Women In Sport’s insight into of how female sporting success benefits business this week, it was noted that 48% of female business executives take part in sport/exercise at least once a month, compared with 40% of women generally.  Globally, 74% of executive women say a background in sport can accelerate a woman’s career.  Hannah McLeod, Team GB Rio 2016 Hockey Gold Medallist noted at the launch that “Increasing self confidence, accountability for your own actions, and managing healthy conflict” had made her a better Olympian and business leader. 

 

Corporate partners are, at last, stepping up to the plate.  SSE’s landmark, long-term partnerships with both the English and Scottish FA demonstrates the energy company’s commitment to its female customers and its female workforce.  This is not simply an act of corporate good citizenship.  The commitment of The FA, the BBC and Wembley to the long-term future of the SSE Women’s FA Cup ensures significant impact and ROI too.  Newton Asset Management ensured, with the BBC, equal billing for the Women’s Boat Race with the Men’s, and with the support of Kia, the ECB successfully launched the Women’s Super League, with six new cricket franchises created and a new, elite competition now firmly in the sporting calendar.

 

Our direction of travel is changing, for the better.  The Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future, and Sport England’s response, Active Nation, signal a new way, placing greater emphasis on diversity and female engagement, and recognises the importance of engaging older, and younger people too.   And, finally, increasing numbers of women are driving change and influence through senior positions in sport.  Women in Sport’s Trophy Women report noted an increase from 21% to nearer 30% in the number of women on the Boards of NGB’s between 2009 and the end of 2015.

But for all the achievements of the last 18 months, the journey towards a level playing field in sport still has a considerable way to go.   Why is it that, with the exception of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and a few dedicated broadcast partners, coverage of women’s sport in the last 12 months, whilst having improved, has still remains at the margins? And why is it that, when women’s sport is featured in broader media, too often the focus is on body image rather than achievement?

 

Where are all the sponsors?  Why do we have so few female performance directors? Why can the experience of live sport for female fans still be so unpleasant and intimidating? Why do we continue to have to argue for proportionate pay and rations for elite sportswomen? How and why do we continue to allow this? Isn’t it time to be more vocal? Disruptive?

 

We need greater commitment from broadcasters and media to increase the visibility of women’s sport further. Not just for events that come around every four years, but every week, with a regular drumbeat of coverage that embeds women’s sport more regularly into mainstream sports media and beyond, into new and different platforms. But it’s also time to move the focus on not just achievement, but also participation, benefit and outcomes. This needs to become the new normal - the rule, not the exception, and clearly communicated in the classroom too.

 

The default position for the vast majority of sponsors should not continue to be male sport. Brands must be prepared to challenge the status quo, and not simply accept the bundling of women’s rights in with the men’s. By separating these, brands and broadcasters, however defined, have a greater opportunity to support the growth of the sport, and drive new, compelling competition, content and commitment.  Without the support of the boardrooms of FTSE 250 major companies, however, with strong brands, significant customer bases and an ambition for change, progress will continue to be slow.  We need to turn words into action, forge partnerships with integrity, and create new conversations.  

 

I’m pleased to be a judge of the Sports Industry Awards again in 2017, and I’m looking forward to seeing more entries that showcase sport for women, and celebrate our continued achievements. For now, onwards and upwards with Women’s Sport Week!

 

Sally Hancock

Managing Partner, Y Sport, and Chair, Women in Sport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is this is the end of the game for Maria Sharapova?

Sally Hancock writes;

45 years ago, in 1971, Billy Jean King became the first female player to challenge the inequalities in that existed in her sport.  She argued, quite simply, that women should be paid on the basis of their performance not their looks, and should be able to earn a living from their sport.

Despite women finally achieving the right to equal prize money with men at Grand Slams, 2016 has not started well for women in the world of tennis.  The Indian Wells Tournament Chief Executive Raymond Moore was forced to resign after making a number of controversial comments about female players, who, Moore said, "should get down on their knees" to thank their male counterparts such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for boosting their profile.  Moore also said the women's game "rides on the coat-tails" of the men - a view described as "sexist" by the United States Tennis Association, and "offensive and very inaccurate" by women's world number one Serena Williams.

This view then appeared to be endorsed by the world’s number one male player.  Rather than stand up for the rights of his female counterpart, Novac Djokovic added to the debate by saying that, since the men’s game, he believed, attracted a bigger audience and was therefore more popular, men should be fighting for even more prize money.  He has since apologized for his remarks.

However, perhaps the biggest scandal ever to hit women’s tennis was the confession in March by Maria Sharapova, the highest earning female athlete of any sport in the world, of a positive drugs test at the Australian Open in January.  Sharapova called a press conference and admitted that she had tested positive for the drug meldonium, which she had been legally taking for “a medical condition” for 10 years. The drug had been added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) banned list on January 1, which Sharapova claimed not to know.

Owning up to failing a drugs test is a rare occurrence.  By taking control of the message, Sharapova was able to stage manage the event, the message, and her image.  The media were however quick to challenge her version of events. “Brand Sharapova” has a huge team behind her, and was warned five times before the substance was finally banned, so claiming she was unaware of this makes little sense.

Before this news became public, Sharapova appeared to be the perfect sports ambassador. This however is starting to look like an illusion. And this, as with every doping case, raises serious ethical questions about the responsibility of athletes as role models who capitalise on their apparent phenomenal physical power to get ahead. Sharapova has been using a drug that has known physically-enhancing side effects for 10 years, for which a usual course lasts four to six weeks.  Indeed, the World Anti-Doping Authority, (WADA) noted that 17% of all Russian athletes have been found to be taking the drug.

Sharapova has been the highest paid female athlete in the world for the last 11 years, and is currently ranked seventh in the world in terms of play. Serena Williams, on the other hand, earns less than half of the total endorsements of Sharapova, despite Sharapova having only taken one set off Williams in their last 14 matches.  Almost immediately, Nike suspended her £50 million eight-year sponsorship deal, Porsche dropped their £2 million deal and Tag Heuer suspended renegotiations of her £2 million contract.  Her racket sponsor Head, on the other hand, extended her contract in recognition of the “honesty she has displayed, admitting her mistake”. Athletes who reach those highest levels become a ‘brand’ and drive sales of products. But even if she is found to be “clean”, will the public continue to buy into her? 

Is Sharapova being treated any differently because she is a female athlete? Yes, and no.   In March 2015, Nike renewed the contract of Justin Gatlin (banned for doping twice), before a year of scandal, across sport, brought ethics to the top of the agenda. In 2016 there is now no hiding place for cheats in sport and it’s essential that corruption, of whatever kind, is dealt with. And only after the International Tennis Federation’s investigation and her sentence, will Maria see what she might have to do to make a comeback. 

 

This article first appeared in Sporto Magazine, April 2016

The Lionesses have set the standard and now we need to act.

From behind the scenes at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Sally Horrox - FA Consultant and CEO Y Sport - reflects on England’s tournament and the need to seize the moment to change women’s sport for good.

2.4 million viewers watched England’s agonising World Cup semi-final defeat to Japan in the early hours of Thursday morning.  The match epitomised the drama of sport and the team gave it their all – it’s an attitude that has won them legions of fans and captivated an ever-growing audience for women’s football.  

Today we take on Germany for the bronze medal and after that match the girls won't pull on an international jersey again until the autumn when they play Estonia in the European qualifiers. But they know their work is not done.

As they return to their clubs and to the Women’s Super League next week, the women know that they will carry the legacy of this World Cup with them.  They understand how important their success is to everyone back home and what a difference it can make; and from what I have seen of Mark Sampson and his team making a difference really matters to them.

I have no doubt when they return you will see the girls promoting the game and not just with their sponsors and the media but in their local community in schools and clubs. Changing the attitude of a nation so that more girls can play is incredibly important to every one of them. Playing football 'like a girl' has taken them to the World Cup semi final but they know that football has so much more to offer. 

Success on a world stage in front of millions of viewers changes attitudes and I am sure there will be more money available for women’s football in the aftermath of this World Cup. Companies that did not previously see the value in women’s sport will now want to be associated with a winning England team. What brand would not want to work with these 23 impressive, authentic and approachable women with a great story to tell. 

This group of players and staff has impressed me so much. I've had the privilege of getting to know them and seeing them close up here in Canada.  I’ve witnessed first hand how seriously they take their responsibilities as role models.

This week the Sports Minister came out to Edmonton to support her team and in the aftermath of the biggest game in their history, the girls spoke to her about how they could use their success to make a difference back home.  9 of the team spoke to the media in the mixed zone after the game and Mark Sampson gave an impressive and heart felt performance in his press conference. The focus was not just on today, but on what happens tomorrow. It was so positive, ambitious and refreshing. 

So, what's my message? Mark Sampson and his team deserve our support. Not just here in Canada but back home after the memory of the World Cup fades. If we want more girls playing football, more active, healthy kids, equal opportunities in sport and across the board we need to commit. We need to act. The Lionesses have set the standard.

Parents, introduce your boys and girls to sport in equal measure, no matter what your experience growing up. Broadcasters and media report women's football as a sport worth watching in its own right. Fans give it a go, buy tickets and support your WSL club. Get down to Wembley for the fist ever SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on the 1stAugust. Corporates, make a smart business decision, and prove you care about the women in your business and your consumers, invest in women’s sport. 

Get behind this team - they deserve it. Let’s not lose the momentum generated by this remarkable group of women and men. It’s time for us to show them what we can do too. 

Women's sport proves the best buy for business

This week, Y-Sport featured in the Independent on Sunday in an article focussing on the growth and development of women’s sport.

Currently, most female sports team representing England are not professional, largely due to the lack of commercial backing. We aim to change that. Women’s sport should be viewed as just as commercially valuable as men’s sport, if not more. Key sponsors such as Kia and Newton Investment Management are big fish in a small pond. The return they get on their investments is far greater then what they would get were they working with men’s sport.

Sponsoring women’s sport is a tangible way for businesses to demonstrate that they care about the girls and women in their workforce. In a cynical world, it’s about actions speaking louder than words.

“The opening game of the FIFA Women’s World Cup pulled in more viewers than Sky Sports’ coverage of Barcelona vs Juventus in the Champions’ League final on the same night. True, that game was also shown free-to-air on ITV, but the gathering power of women’s sport is clear.

“In the 1970s, Rachael Heyhoe Flint, the England women’s cricket captain, regretfully had to refuse sponsorship for her cash-strapped team from a company that had the word “rubber” in its name; at the time, it was felt that a connection to condoms could only represent the social abyss. So for the team it was back to self-funding and begging M&S for the odd blouse.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/womens-sport-proves-the-best-buy-for-business-10318471.html

Y SPORT’S £1 MILLION POUND PLEDGE.

As we come to the end of the first Women’s Sport Week, Y Sport makes the case for greater investment in women’s sport. Sally Horrox, Chief Executive, explains why she and her business partner Jo Bostock, are committed to developing this emerging market and how they will do it.
3 weeks ago Jo Bostock and I launched Y Sport, a new women’s sport business that will focus exclusively on the commercial and professional development of women’s sport. I stood up at the #BeAGameChanger Awards and pledged that Y Sport, with the support of its partners the Women’s Sport Trust and Helena Morrissey’s 30 % Club, would work to attract £1 million of new investment into women’s sport over the next 12 months.

So, why would a business want to invest in women’s sport, and how will we make this happen?

Inclusion, Diversity and the Power of Sporting Role Models

Inclusion – the shared agenda between business and sport.

Business and sport both need to attract the best talent, connect with audiences, expand their markets and achieve high performance.  Diversity and inclusion are vital to realising these ambitions.  Michelle Moore, Board Advisor to the Women’s Sport Trust talks about why in this personal and persuasive article.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games provided many powerful role models from diverse backgrounds. It was great that athletes like Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Christine Ohuruogu, and Hannah Cockroft were celebrated but the common conclusion that this “proved” Great Britain was at ease with diversity was a fantasy.

Y-Sport Launch at the Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChangerAwards

Y-Sport, a sports marketing and sponsorship consultancy with a focus solely on women’s sport, launched this week at the Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards.

Led by business experts in women’s sport, Jo Bostock and Sally Horrox, and operating under the founding principle of supporting and advancing the political, business and social agenda of women in sport, Y-Sport is aiming to reinforce the rationale for commercial investment by:

  • Reimagining and redesigning current commercial opportunities in women’s sport
  • Creating new commercial opportunities through increased investment
  • Demonstrating a genuine return on investment

At the awards, attendees were encouraged to make a pledge of their choice to Women’s Sport Trust. As part of this, the Y-Sport team pledged to raise upwards of £1 Million for women’s sport over the coming year, an amount that would make a huge difference to the athletes and organisations that need financial backing to be the best that they can be.

However compelling the case for investment, it’s not always easy to navigate an emerging market such as women’s sport, and convert positive corporate intent into firm commitment. Expert guidance and insight can match the right businesses to the right sports, events or individuals. To help achieve its goals, the Women’s Sport Trust will be partnering with Y-Sport on this.

To find out how Y-Sport can benefit you and your company, please contact us.