UMass Amherst Joins Think Tank Dedicated to Advancing Women in Sports
October 01, 2020
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a launch partner for The Collective Think Tank, a global consortium of some of today’s greatest academic minds and industry leaders focused on gender parity and improving diversity. A first of its kind, this group will share data, insights and information to promote more opportunity for women to succeed in sports. The Think Tank – operated by sports and entertainment marketing agency Wasserman’s women-focused division, The Collective – will cultivate partnerships between universities and researchers, as well as brands, properties and media companies to educate and create solution-based strategies for industry-changing activations, campaigns and platforms. (Photo: a meeting of McCormack's Women in Sport Management club.)
Harnessing intel and thought leadership from professors and students alike, The Think Tank will research the inequities of women in sports to garner insights that inform action. The group will publish ongoing thought leadership across a multitude of topics that affect women in sports to raise awareness of issues among fans, consumers and participants. UMass Amherst is on track to lead new ideas around gender equity and inclusion which will be amplified and supported by the group.
The Collective Think Tank will launch this fall with ten research projects focused on the many facets of a woman’s fandom (consumption, purchasing power, effects of social justice) and how women who work in the business of sport are represented (sexism, lived experiences of underrepresented women). Several of those projects will be led by students, the future generation of sports marketers, while the balance will be led by the expertise of faculty academics. These efforts will be complemented by a series of white papers, starting this week with How Gen Z and Millennial Women Will Own the Purse and Change the World, followed by a look into women sports fans in partnership with espnW in October.
"At UMass Amherst's Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, in the Isenberg School of Management, we are committed to experiential learning and a curriculum rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion," says Nefertiti A. Walker, PhD, UMass Amherst's vice chancellor and chief diversity officer and a McCormack associate professor. "Being a part of The Collective Think Tank allows us to leverage the power of multiple institutions and researchers in our efforts to produce industry-changing research and insights on the economic power and social impact of women in sports."
Comprising 10 university partners, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, The Collective Think Tank spans the globe. The entity will also work in concert with brand partners such as AT&T, Concacaf, espnW, EVERFI, Nationwide, and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), who support research around the women’s sports landscape. Wasserman’s representation of over 160 of the world’s most elite women in sports means The Collective Think Tank can also draw upon their seasons of experience, where needed.
The group is jointly led by Thayer Lavielle, EVP, The Collective, and Shelley Pisarra, EVP, Wasserman Global Insights and Strategies. “The opportunity to partner with some of the world’s leading experts in the field is a privilege. To provide data and insights, coupled with the participation of brands, properties and media partners who can provide actionable solutions to these insights, is exciting beyond belief,” says Lavielle. “Ultimately, with this group, we aim to better the ecosystem for the many women who participate therein.”
“Women in sports – as participants, fans and consumers – currently face inequities ranging from a lack of exposure, to limited access and pay, and everything in between. Our goal with the Think Tank is to uncover the underlying basis for these inequities and address them head-on to set women on a clearer path to parity,” said Pisarra. “We want to look at all angles of the industry and, by tapping into an incredible group of academic experts, we feel confident we can make a tangible, positive change.”
Launched in July of 2019, The Collective has already partnered with brands including AT&T, Orreco/FitrWoman, Snow Monkey, Google, CONCACAF and the International Cricket Council, while serving insights across a multitude of other clients. Additionally, The Collective has acted as a connection point between women athletes and the many brands with which they are partners.
Ohio University College of Business
Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University (Canada)
University of Oregon
University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Sport Research & Innovation Initiative
Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph (Canada)
University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg School of Management
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of South Florida: Muma College of Business
Sports Business Club at the University St. Gallen (Switzerland)
Dr. Jacqueline McDowell, Associate Professor of Sport Management, George Mason University: School of Sport, Recreation and Tourism Management
ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST
UMass Amherst, one of the nation’s top public universities, is the flagship public higher education campus in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, making a profound, transformative impact to the common good. Founded in 1863, it is the largest public research university in New England, distinguished by the excellence and breadth of its academic, research, and community outreach programs. For more information, visit: www.umass.edu.
Wasserman is a partner to the world’s most iconic brands, properties and talent in their endeavors across sports, entertainment and culture. Our purpose is to transform the businesses and careers of clients. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Wasserman operates globally in more than 20 cities, including London, New York, Toronto, Raleigh, Carlsbad, The Hague, Portland and Shanghai. Learn more at TeamWass.com and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.