Women’s soccer company Ata Football and sports media platform Just Women’s Sports have formed a partnership to enhance exposure for and coverage of women’s soccer. The female-focused companies, both founded in 2020, are launching a new show that combines both of their assets: Ata Football’s women’s soccer media rights and Just Women’s Sports’ production abilities.
Just Women’s Sports, best known for its popular podcast, Just Women’s Sports with Kelley O’Hara, will utilize footage from Ata Football to produce The Soccer Show. The weekly highlights-driven offering is a new type of programming for Just Women’s Sports, which produces podcasts, newsletters and digital content—and a new asset to sell.
Just Women’s Sports said it will not pay Ata Football for the rights to the footage it will use in its shows. With sponsorships and advertisements serving as the startup media company’s main source of revenue, Just Women’s Sports’ does, however, expect to find a financial return in the new show.
“We have more sponsorship interest than inventory at the moment. This new show will hopefully help with that,” Haley Rosen, former professional player and the Founder/CEO of Just Women’s Sports said in a phone interview. Heineken has previously sponsored her company’s flagship podcast, and brands including fitness company Whoop, protein cereal company Magic Spoon and vitamin brand Ritual have also sponsored different digital assets. The company has already fielded interest from and started to secure sponsors for the new show, Rosen said.
Beyond the monetary potential, the partnership also ties into Just Women’s Sports’ broader mission. Rosen says moving women’s sports into the mainstream comes down to making games accessible to fans on television or online. That’s where Ata Football fits.
“On the other side of it, we need great content,” she explained. “We need marketing and promotion and storylines. You need to know who these athletes are and what’s going on. We can really help on that side of it. That’s what this show is about.”
The show will cover the 12 teams in the FA Women’s Super League (WSL), the highest level of English women’s soccer, for Just Women’s Sports’ audience of more than 1 million followers and listeners. The WSL includes Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
Just Women’s Sports has a number of athlete partners including decorated women’s hockey player Hilary Knight, five-time Olympian volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, two-time Olympic water polo gold medalist Maggie Steffens, and former NWSL goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer.
Kopmeyer will host the new show alongside trainer David Copeland-Smith, whose clientele has included UWSNT star Alex Morgan and English national team player Rachel Daly. Episodes will air on both the Just Women’s Sports YouTube page and the Ata Football online platform—attempting to reach both of their growing audiences.
The partnership marks the first collaboration of its kind for Just Women’s Sports, and an additional showcase for Ata Football’s growing portfolio of rights. Ata has invested in media rights of multiple women’s leagues since its launch last fall, including the FA WSL and the top French women’s league, D1 Arkema.
“When we launched Ata Football, our vision was always to work in partnership with others that were doing similar work to elevate female athletes and, in our case, women’s football players,” said Esmeralda Negron, the co-founder of Ata Football along with former Sky executive Hannah Brown. “Working with [Just Women’s Sports] is a great way for us to do that. Additional content helps promote, elevate and spotlight the stars of the sport and what we’re doing at Ata.”
Ata Football’s exclusive FA WSL deal brought the English league to NBC Sports and to an American audience for the first time, allowing U.S. national team fans to see stars such as Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Christen Press in their U.K. stints.
The startup venture’s approach flips the traditional media rights model on its head. Serving as the intermediary between teams and leagues and broadcast partners, Ata Football invests in women’s football rights (largely acquiring U.S. distribution rights and those in other untapped international markets for now) and offers fully produced matches to broadcast partners, like NBCSN, for free.
It’s a long-term play, betting on an eventual financial return from the audience development that the company is confident will come from getting the sport on television, even without an immediate financial payout. Establishing an audience is key to eventually earning the rights fees that broadcasters pay more established sports leagues. Content like The Soccer Show, Negron says, will help generate and cultivate that audience—all contributing to their end goal of making women’s soccer rights profitable.