On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams chat with Christy Hedgpeth, president of Playfly Sports Properties, about the rapid changes underway in the business of college sports.
Hedgpeth was a starting guard on the 1992 Stanford basketball team that won a national title, and she discusses the commercial growth of the women’s NCAA tournament. Nearly 5 million people watched the South Carolina-UConn championship game this week on ESPN—more than watched American Idol on ABC in the same time slot—the latest example of a growing audience for women’s basketball. Hedgpeth played professionally and was later COO of the WNBA, giving her a unique perspective on how women’s basketball is changing for athletes, fans, sponsors and media companies.
The trio also discusses new marketing rights for college athletes. The new NIL market has changed the college experience for many athletes, but it’s also dramatically changed the approach for universities as well. Hedgpeth talks about the conversations she had (and questions she’s received) from university administrators and athletic directors across the country.
Playfly manages multimedia rights for more than 20 universities and conferences, including LSU, Maryland, Auburn, Michigan State and the Big Ten. Hedgpeth also discusses how upcoming shifts like conference realignment are altering the balance of power across the NCAA, and what that means for schools large and small.