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10 Ways Women Athletes Can Boost Your Bottom Line (1)-1
Elizabeth MontavonMay 2, 2024 at 4:45 PM8 min read

Leveraging Women’s Sports: 10 Strategies for Boosting Your Bottom Line

10 Ways Women Athletes Can Boost Your Bottom Line (1)

Source: Parity


In a recent webinar hosted by Parity, industry leaders convened to discuss the profound impact women athletes can have on marketing strategies and community engagement. Through insightful dialogue and firsthand experiences, our speakers shed light on how brands can authentically integrate women athletes into their marketing efforts while fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.


Filled with concrete examples and actionable methods for tracking success, our speakers presented these 10 strategies that brands, regardless of size, can utilize to enhance their profits by capitalizing on the growth of women's sports.

1. Brand Awareness Through Authentic Engagement


Joan Zhang, co-founder and CEO of Arise, captivated the audience with her insights on the transformative power of early engagement with women athletes. By sharing real stories from real athletes, she not only helped to build authentic brand awareness but also played a crucial role in dismantling stereotypes surrounding eating disorders. Zhang's emphasis on authenticity in marketing resonated deeply, highlighting how genuine connections with athletes can forge lasting bonds of trust with consumers.


"How do we create a model of care that actually is flexible and takes into account all of these other parts of our identity and our priorities? And so, really engaging with athletes has been such an important part in being able to reach out to this community; that has really allowed us to build a lot of trust with communities who often have felt really isolated." — Joan Zhang




2. Investing in Women's Sports


Kelley Puckett, CMO at goodr, is a trailblazer in championing the investment in underserved sports communities, with a particular focus on supporting the Special Olympics and professional women athletes. Her strategic approach not only reflects goodr’s core values of fun and authenticity but also demonstrates a keen understanding of the immense potential and reach of women’s sports. By actively engaging with these communities, goodr not only enhances its brand reputation but also reaps significant returns on investment, showcasing the power of inclusive and purpose-driven marketing strategies.


"We think it's really important to champion female athletes, to amplify their voices, and to further their position within sports. Our first partnerships were with women and it's something we continue to do. We have a really strong female customer base, and it creates an incredible connection with our audience." — Kelley Puckett


116907945_689474561607384_5704480574362181021_nSource: goodr

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3. Strategic Visibility During Sporting Events


Elizabeth Montavon, Parity's Director of Athlete Marketing and a 9-time U.S. Champion water skier — a male-dominated sport, delved into the strategic significance of forging partnerships between brands and women athletes during prominent sporting events. Drawing upon the "Women With Drive" presented by RBC Wealth Management initiative at the Formula One Miami Grand Prix, Elizabeth highlighted how brands can leverage such opportunities to amplify their visibility in traditionally male-dominated spaces. By strategically aligning with women athletes in these high-profile settings, brands not only showcase their commitment to diversity and inclusion but also tap into a powerful platform for reaching new audiences and driving engagement. The synergy between brands and women athletes not only elevates the profile of the athletes themselves but also paves the way for inclusive and impactful marketing campaigns that resonate with a diverse range of consumers.


4. Athletes as Content Creators


Kelley outlined how goodr collaborates with women athletes to create engaging content that resonates with their audience on a deeper level. By recognizing the unique perspectives and experiences that athletes bring to the table, goodr ensures that their content is not only fun and authentic but also emotionally impactful. This emphasis on genuine connections allows the brand to forge strong bonds with followers across various social media platforms, resulting in increased brand engagement and a loyal community of supporters. 


"Obviously, they know their audience better than anyone, so we really want to lean into what they want to do and what is exciting to them, and then make sure we're bringing the fun. It's a really collaborative process where we're brainstorming together from start to finish and creating content that we think is fun; that's going to resonate with their audience and with our community."

— Kelley Puckett





5. Athletes as Talent in Campaigns


Joan elaborated on the strategic advantage of utilizing athletes as campaign talent, emphasizing that not only does this approach offer cost savings compared to hiring traditional actors, but it also adds a layer of authenticity and relatability that deeply resonates with consumers. By featuring athletes in marketing campaigns, brands can tap into the genuine passion and dedication that athletes bring to their craft, creating a powerful connection with audiences. This is particularly impactful when addressing sensitive topics such as mental health, as athletes' personal stories and experiences can evoke empathy and understanding in a way that traditional advertising may struggle to achieve. By showcasing athletes as the face of campaigns, brands not only save on costs but also create a meaningful and impactful narrative that truly speaks to the hearts of consumers, fostering a sense of trust and authenticity in their brand messaging.


"I think especially when we think about budget constraints, we are an early stage startup, we're a seed stage startup. We're not in the position to be able to just go hire a big celebrity to be part of our team yet. Partnering locally with athletes has actually been really strategically aligned with our growth strategy." — Joan Zhang



6. Storytelling to Craft Compelling Narratives


 Elizabeth's emphasis on the art of authentic storytelling highlights the unique ability of athletes to connect with fans emotionally and create lasting impressions. By delving into the athlete's experiences, brands have the opportunity to craft compelling narratives that go beyond mere marketing tactics, tapping into the raw emotion and passion that drive these individuals to excel in their sport. Through the lens of the athlete's personal narrative, brands can weave a tapestry of real-life struggles, triumphs, and aspirations, infusing their messaging with a depth and authenticity that captivates and inspires. This approach not only enhances brand messaging but also fosters a sense of empathy and connection with audiences, forging a bond that transcends traditional advertising techniques. 


"It's special and it just can't be replicated. You can create something similar, but it won't be the same as working with women athletes." — Elizabeth Montavon






7. Product Development Insights


Kelley explained how goodr involves athletes in the product development process to ensure their offerings meet the real needs of active consumers. By collaborating closely with women athletes, the brand gains valuable insights into the specific requirements and preferences of athletes, allowing them to tailor their products to the demands of professional sports. This direct feedback loop not only helps refine the quality and functionality of their offerings but also ensures that they are well-suited to the unique challenges and performance standards that goodr's customers deserve. Elizabeth further emphasized the importance of this approach by highlighting how traditional influencer marketing feedback falls short in comparison, as athletes bring a level of expertise and firsthand experience that is essential for driving innovation and excellence in research and development efforts. 


"An actor can't give you the best practical feedback on a product necessarily... the type of feedback you're going to get about your product, your service, your brand is very unique and it's really not something that can be bought." — Elizabeth Montavon



8. Local Community Impact


Kelley shared how partnerships with women athletes have not only positively impacted local communities but have also fostered a sense of empowerment and unity among individuals. Through collaborative efforts in organizing inclusive events and initiating meaningful conversations about mental health, athletes have become catalysts for positive change, inspiring others to embrace diversity and champion important social causes. Their presence in these initiatives not only strengthens community bonds but also elevates the brand's reputation as a socially responsible entity dedicated to driving positive impact at the grassroots level. 


"We partner with national run crews across the country. And again, a lot of these are women led run clubs. So it's a great way to connect with these runners, to connect with these communities." — Kelley Puckett



9. Women Athletes as Employees


Elizabeth emphasized how the resilience, determination, and discipline cultivated through sports participation uniquely equip women athletes with invaluable skills that seamlessly transition into professional roles within brands. Their ability to thrive under pressure, adapt to challenges, and work collaboratively as a team not only sets them apart as exceptional individuals but also positions them as natural leaders in the business environment. Their innate understanding of teamwork, goal-setting, and perseverance serves as a powerful asset in driving innovation, fostering growth, and inspiring success within the corporate landscape. Elizabeth highlighted how these qualities make women athletes not only valuable assets to brands but also catalysts for positive change and transformation in the professional realm.


"As somebody who competes at the highest level in sport, I understand firsthand how those skills and experiences I've gained translate into professional success." — Elizabeth Montavon



Elena Bruckner LinkedIn


10. Consistent DEI Efforts


Lastly, Kelley and Joan emphasized the crucial importance of brands integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles into their marketing and community engagement strategies as an ongoing commitment, rather than a mere symbolic gesture during special occasions. By consistently placing a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusivity across all facets of their operations, brands can authentically connect with their audience, fostering a loyal customer base rooted in trust and shared values. Elizabeth proposed that a meaningful way to truly embody DEI initiatives is to engage women athletes as speakers and in other impactful roles.


"The reality is that people are smart, right? People are observant and they can uncover when you're just doing it for performative reasons." — Joan Zhang





About Parity
Minority-founded in 2020, Parity's mission is to close the gender income and opportunity gap in professional sports. By developing high-impact collaborations between brands, professional women athletes and their fans, Parity has proudly put more than $3.5 million in the pockets of women athletes, attracting dozens of brands to the movement in the process. The platform offers connections to more than 1000 women athletes from 80+ sports, including well over 200 Olympians and Paralympians. For more information on how to tap into the rapidly rising influence and popularity of women athletes, visit or follow us on InstagramLinkedInFacebookX (formerly Twitter) and Threads




Elizabeth Montavon

Elizabeth Montavon works at Parity as Director of Athlete Marketing and Social Media. Elizabeth has a lengthy resume in marketing and joined Parity for the opportunity to help close the pay gap in sports – and to give women athletes more autonomy and power over their careers in the process. She is a professional waterskier and 9-time national champion, U.S. Open champion and Pan-American games champion.



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