Thank you Marc Riccio, CEO of USA Lacrosse, for your transparency and objectivity. As a woman in sports, I know that inequality is real and frustrating, but at least we have the CEO of the governing body of lacrosse to put forward a more solution-oriented approach. And with a solution that does not hurt either side, but in fact, could only have an upside. Obviously at this stage, we can't speak to whether or not there will be follow through and this isn't the "thing" that will solve our equity issue in NCAA sports, but it's a step in the right direction.
Gender inequality exists in sports. Period. Men's sports generate more revenue than women's sports. Period.
OR you could say...
Men's sports are more commercially supported, so they inherently make more money.
When it comes to sports, if you don't invest, the fans won't either.
I'm also encouraged by Mr. Riccio's letter because it was less of a soliloquy and more of a directed action plan. He is speaking to the bottom line, which is where athletic event investors start.
If you have only a $1 to spend, you have to make choices.
He understands that if you give a business proposal that has creative and financial upside, you are going to get more buy-in.
I also found his approach to potentially relate the book, Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim. If you have value innovation, which is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost, you can create a strategic canvas that will push your business value into a direction that has little or no competition. He says, "Lacrosse must maximize, not splinter, its fan base whenever possible."
What if Marc Riccio is forecasting women's lacrosse as the next Blue Ocean? I know that's where my mind is going.
Where do you see growth and demand, but very little strategic business opportunities?
Lets look at the numbers...
In the last 10 years, women's lacrosse participation in the NCAA has grown by 68% (7,683 vs. 12,931). Additionally, there are 58% more Division I women's programs than men's (117 vs. 74). And even more telling is the amount of TOTAL NCAA programs - women's lacrosse has 524 vs. 397 men's.
Actually, women's lacrosse participation has the steepest growth trend compared to ALL OTHER NCAA women's sports.
Growth in numbers doesn't necessarily mean growth of revenue, but what I am seeing is potential. Mike wrote, "to get different outcomes, we must take different actions."
Untapped market demand is where profits live. This is the first open letter that I believe is actually speaking to a viable solution that includes growth AND equality - which is a winning strategy.
Thank you Marc Riccio, I'm impressed.
Triad Athletes mission is to grow women's lacrosse.