Starting this month and running through June, ESPN will mark the 40th anniversary of the landmark Title IX law that gave women equal opportunity in college sports. When the legislation was introduced in Congress, sports was hardly mentioned, but when the bill became law in 1972, colleges applied it to athletic programs and 40 years later, the impact on women’s sports has been enormous.
ESPN will mark the anniversary with “The Power of IX”, a company-wide initiative to show the influence of Title IX throughout the last 40 years. There will be nine ESPN Films documentaries that will be produced with Title IX as the theme. espnW, the site devoted to women will kick off the initiative on March 26 with a Title IX microsite. ESPN the Magazine will have articles pertaining to the 40th anniversary and there will be other content that will be announced in the coming days and weeks.
Here’s the ESPN announcement.
ESPN to Spotlight 40th Anniversary of Title IX with Multiple Initiatives
The Power of IX to Explore Current and Future Landscape for Female Athletes
With four months of multiplatform coverage – television, online, print — planned, ESPN will highlight the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The Power of IX is a companywide initiative designed to recognize this legislation with the goal of engaging fans with fresh, provocative content. The Power of IX will debut on espnW.com on March 26 and run through June 23, the anniversary of when Title IX was passed into law.
“Our commitment to the coverage of women’s sports remains as vibrant as ever,” said John Skipper, President, ESPN. “We’ve analyzed the impact of Title IX in the past, and to emphasize the impact of the law at its 40th milestone, we’re expanding our efforts in a way we have never done before. From specific television programming to an entire issue of ESPN The Magazine devoted to women in sports to a robust microsite on espnW.com, we intend to shine a spotlight on the evolution of women’s sports.”
The Power of IX will include perspectives and participation from a number of contributors including Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, Julie Foudy, Bonnie D. Ford, Steve Wulf, Kate Fagan, Sarah Spain, Luke Cyphers, Jane McManus and Jessica Mendoza.
The Power of IX highlights:
The initiative begins March 26 when espnW.com launches a dedicated microsite offering a range of content that will both celebrate and examine the impact of Title IX on sports and society. ABC News’ Katie Couric will help kick things off with a personal essay the week the site debuts, and espnW will serve as the digital hub for the company’s Title IX efforts throughout the project, driving content across multiple platforms with a mix of in-depth feature stories, first-person athlete perspectives, a series of fun and informative lists of nine and more.
SportsCenter will count down the top 40 female athletes of the last 40 years beginning April 30, with the top athlete revealed on June 23. In addition, the week of June 17 will feature content across various studio shows and conclude on June 23 with ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic featuring women’s sports programming throughout the day.
ESPN The Magazine will use its customary deep dive to look forward at the future of women in sports, examining everything from the executives, lawmakers, trainers and athletes who are paving the way for new roles/iconography for women in sports to the groundbreaking research and reporting that are revealing counter-intuitive factors behind Title IX’s success and its limitations when it comes to female athletes.
ESPN Films will air a series of documentaries in Spring/Summer of 2013 that will highlight women in sports, all by female storytellers. Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts and Tribeca Productions co-founder Jane Rosenthal will be executive producers of the series.
espnW’s Title IX social media program, launching in early April, will assemble the largest collection of user-submitted female athlete photos of all time. In addition, content will be featured over Facebook.com/espnW and Twitter.com/espnW.
Additional Title IX content and programming will be announced throughout the initiative.
That will do it.