sports | April 10, 2016

New Videos: Stacey Allaster on the Profound Impact of Women in Sports

This March, The New York Times revealed that Stacey Allaster, former WTA Chairman and CEO, was coming out of retirement. As the new Chief Executive for Professional Tennis of the USTA, Allaster has once again taken a managerial role with a leading sports organization that celebrates female athletes in youth, college, and professional categories (and according to Katrina Adams, current USTA chairwoman, she’s “the perfect candidate” for the job). Now, in these three new video clips, Allaster describes the vision behind her accomplishments with the WTA—including finding new markets, generating new revenue, and improving the overall fan experience. She also shows how investing in women and girls, as athletes and as leaders, isn’t just the right thing to do—but it also makes good business sense.

In our first clip, Allaster admits that tennis has a “Quiet, please!” reputation, in direct contrast to the way most sports are sold and marketed today. But her vision for the WTA, and for women’s sports in general, was to elevate the sheer grandiosity and visual appeal of the sport to match the NBA, NFL, or NHL—and in Singapore, no less. It would take marketing savvy, tremendous investment, and an overhaul to the core philosophy of the sport, but she managed to get the right people to buy into the idea. For tennis fans, the results were unforgettable. As she states here, she “took what was a tennis event, and transformed it into a 10-day, sport-entertainment spectacle.”

Amid the recession of 2008, Allaster led the WTA in making a “big bet on China,” only to watch the gamble pay off in a major way: within a few years, their two fledgling events grew to 10 profitable attractions. In this short clip, she describes the incredible new sporting facilities now being built across Asia: locations that attract “300 to 350,000 fans” for live tennis events. She shows how fortuitous circumstances (like finding superstar Li Na) combined with good business sense to create a solid foundation for success in the foreign market. And she describes how now she’s “got a fantastic story to tell” about building a brand in China.

In this third clip, Allaster makes a passionate appeal for investment in women’s sports: not merely for an economic payoff, but for cultivating strong and healthy role models for girls. “For me,” she says, “it is about our athletes on the stage being treated equally, and what a positive message that sends to little boys—and to little girls—about female athletes. And that’s what the journey has always been about.” When we make a substantial investment in youth sports programs, and when young people absorb empowering messages, we make an investment into the whole person—future leaders, innovators, and more. After all, she argues, it should come as no surprise that “94 percent of women in leadership roles played sport.”

For a passionate advocate for women—in the boardroom, as well as on the field—and for a business leader with an incredible track record of success, Stacey Allaster represents the total package. To book Allaster for a keynote on leadership, motivation, work, women in sports, or business strategy, contact The Lavin Agency, her exclusive speakers bureau.

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