This New Streaming Service Is About To Change The Way We Look At Women's Sports

"We're on the hunt for a better sports experience."

When Megan McNally was fed up, she found a way to turn her frustration into a full-fledged startup

McNally, a business lawyer from Seattle, is a women's bike racing fan and, after constantly struggling to find a place to watch it, she realized there was more to the issue than she thought. 

So last year, she sat down with friends and people who work in media to talk about why women's sports aren't as readily available on broadcast as male sports. After a lot of research and time spent pulling "apart the argument that women's sports aren't commercially viable," Diana SportsTV was born. 

Diana SportsTV — a new digital streaming platform launching later this year — is a Netflix and Hulu-inspired service for women's sports that will feature live and on-demand coverage, interactive ways for fans to get together during games, and talk with athletes. The platform will also feature original documentaries and shows like The Downstage, featuring episodes with athletes who tell a story to the camera.

"It's really about an entirely different sports experience with a whole lot of those rich stories," McNally says.

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McNally notes that the name Diana is inspired by the Roman goddess of the hunt, and is the same and Wonder Woman's mortal name

"We like to say we're on the hunt for a better sports experience," she says. 

For McNally and her team, that hunt is bringing women's sports such as bike racing to the streaming forefront. While women's tennis and golf games are shown on major sports networks, Diana SportsTV wants to bring that same accessibility to women's sports fans. 

"We are women who are fans of sports, and a lot of the sports that we love are women's sports and we truly just got tired of waiting for somebody else to give us access to the sports that we're missing," she says.  

Photo Credit: Diana SportsTV

Like many female-founded startups, Diana SportsTV has had its fair share of obstacles. For them, many of these challenges are rooted in the fact that male sports dominate sports media. 

"One of the challenges that we run into is certainly lots of people who question whether or not women can get a sports network off the ground, whether or not there's really a sustainable audience for women's sports," McNally says. "We run into the challenge of people expecting proof around the audience. It's hard to prove something that doesn't exist yet until you actually deliver the content."

Diana SportsTV isn't the first attempt to bring female sports front and center to audiences. There have been previous attempts to create television networks. But what sets this new channel apart from them — according to McNally — is its commitment to creating a "dynamic community experience" people have been craving.

"We know that launching a sports network is not an easy task," she says. "We know that building audiences in a digital age is not an easy task, but we're in this for the long haul."

Photo Credit: Diana SportsTV

When it comes to getting different sports leagues on board with streaming on Diana SportsTV, McNally says their enthusiasm about it shows how "hungry" people are for women's sports content.

"We were pleasantly surprised to find that many of the conversations were really about how quickly can we get launched so that they can stream their content, their games, their races, their matches on our network," she says. 

McNally added that there's also been "amazing feedback" about the network.

"We're so lucky to have support from all corners," she says. "Male athletes that we talk with are excited about what we're doing. Female athletes are so excited because they're looking for platforms to connect with their fanbases and to tell their stories. There's a huge amount of support and the response has been overwhelmingly positive."

Photo Credit: Diana SportsTV

As the company prepares to launch Diana SportsTV, McNally also believes that the streaming network can make an impact on the way women are seen and inspire future generations.

"We think that the audience for Diana SportsTV [are] not just sports fans, it's people who are really hungry to see women portrayed differently and to get to see this full expression of femininity," she says. 

And at the end of the day, it's about making a significant change in the way people perceive and enjoy women's sports. 

"There's an audience of over 35 million fans of women's sports — everything from soccer to cycling — that's being ignored," she says. "They're begging for content, they're searching for content, and they can't find it. So we really think it's important. That's a problem that we can solve in 2018. So we're really excited to solve that." 

Cover image: Martin Charles Hatch / Dziurek / Shutterstock.com

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