More than 40 years after the passing of Title IX legislation, ESPN is capturing watershed moments in women’s sports in a new display unveiled yesterday on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus. The wall dedication was a fitting part of the festivities leading up to the first-ever primetime telecast of the WNBA Draft, held in Studio E and aired on ESPN2, ESPNU and WatchESPN.
The 560-square foot wall (just down the hall from ESPN’s newsroom) features iconic moments in women’s sports history, from Billie Jean King’s triumph in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match against Bobby Riggs in 1973, to ESPN’s pioneering female sports broadcasters of the 1970’s and 80’s, to “The Year of Women’s Soccer” in 1999.
The display also highlights key moments in ESPN women’s sports coverage. Among the milestones captured: the first telecast of a WNBA game in 1996 and coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals, which earned the highest TV ratings ever for a soccer match on ESPN. A robust collection of stats and information depicting the growth of women’s participation in sports — both as passionate athletes and fans — is also on display.
“The wall is a celebration of how far women have come in sports as athletes, fans and broadcasters,” says Laura Gentile, Vice President of espnW.
“We want to show employees and visitors that ESPN has always been on the cutting-edge when it comes to women in sports as well as to pay tribute to the dynamic growth of women’s sports over the last 40 years.”
The idea for the wall came from ESPN’s facilities team, who decided to use the space to highlight the growth of women’s sports following the company’s commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX last year.
“It was an incredible team effort between facilities and the espnW team,” says Rick Abbott, Vice President of Facility Operations.
“Laura and her team set the vision for the design, content and branding for the wall and then it became our job to help them bring that vision to life.”
Below is a time-lapse video of the construction of the espnW display. Above, there is gallery of photos from the dedication of the espnW wall and the WNBA Draft.