NEW YORK, July 14, 2023 - Women athletes, teams and leagues continue to make tremendous strides for progress and as a partner of Angel City FC and NJ/NY Gotham FC, Johnnie Walker proudly celebrates the trailblazing spirit and accomplishments these powerhouse teams and all women athletes have achieved.
Though women make up more than 40% of all athletes, they receive less than 10% of total sports news coverage*. As a brand that has a longstanding commitment to gender equality, Johnnie Walker and Emmy Award-winning actress Hannah Waddingham are on a mission to help close the visibility gap for women in sports. Together, they are encouraging fans across the nation to ‘Watch Women Sports’ and to recognize the positive impact they can make by simply tuning into a game.
Record breaking reach and attendance for this summer’s global soccer tournament shows progress is being made, but there is more work to be done to ensure the teams and athletes on the local level receive equal visibility and recognition, not just every four years, but every day like their male counterparts.
Beginning today through August 20th, anyone 21+ can go to www.justwomenssports.com/watchwomenssports to learn how to receive ‘Match Day Memos’ from Hannah and view this summer’s game day schedule. These inspirational video reminders will be sent ahead of this summer’s most exciting games to ensure fans never miss a match and will also highlight how watching and supporting women’s sports can contribute to much needed change for cultural equality. Johnnie Walker is donating $100,000 to its nonprofit partner, the Women’s Sports Foundation, to support the critical work they are doing to expand access and opportunities for women in sport so they can play, compete and lead without barriers.
“We must do better to ensure women receive the same visibility, recognition, and accurate portrayals as their male counterparts,” says actress Hannah Waddingham. “I am excited to collaborate with Johnnie Walker, a brand that is steadfast in its support of gender equality, to help celebrate women athletes and inspire a culture that values the talents and potential of all women.”
With a shared ambition to bring women’s sports to the masses and to tap a community of dedicated women’s sports fans to help amplify the call to action, Johnnie Walker partnered with Just Women’s Sports, a digital-first media platform committed to unleashing the energy and hype that defines women’s sports.
“Everywhere you look, women’s sports are on the rise,” said Just Women’s Sports Founder and CEO Haley Rosen. “Investment, viewership and participation are all up — but media coverage is still stuck at a shockingly low percentage. Johnnie Walker shares our vision of what women’s sports can be, and we’re thrilled to be teaming up on this unique and needed initiative to drive more equitable coverage.”
Hannah and Johnnie Walker’s ‘Match Day Memos’ were scripted and produced in partnership with Hello Sunshine’s in-house agency Solar. Hello Sunshine is a media company which believes in the power of story to broaden perspectives and change the world for women. Highlighted in each memo are empowering insights curated by the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“The time to invest in women’s sports is now, and everyone, from brands to fans, has a role to to play, which is why Johnnie Walker is doubling down on our partnerships to build an even broader fanbase for these bold athletes,” stated Sophie Kelly, Senior Vice President of Whiskies at DIAGEO North America. “Women athletes have the power to help shape culture, inspire other women as positive role models, and break societal narratives so please join us in celebrating them and tuning in as we cheer them on all year long.”
On July 2, the brand’s NWSL partners NJ/NY Gotham FC and Angel City FC competed against each other at Red Bull Arena during the Women’s Empowerment Game presented by Johnnie Walker. During warm-ups, players from both teams wore tops designed by celebrated illustrator, Monica Ahanonu, representing a one team approach towards achieving gender equality. Monica’s illustrations depict how “we lift each other up as we rise and break through barriers” and fans can purchase these limited edition tops at Angel City FC and NJ/NY Gotham FC online merchandise shops. The teams will be donating a portion of sales proceeds to Johnnie Walker’s nonprofit partner, the Women's Sports Foundation.
“Seeing a brand like Johnnie Walker use its platform to educate and empower people across the country to watch women’s sports is thrilling,” said WSF CEO Danette Leighton. “We at the Women’s Sports Foundation know from our extensive research that it is imperative to have brands, organizations and corporations invest in women’s sports to reach true equity. As millions tune in to the Women's World Cup, it is our hope that this campaign inspires everyone to continue following women athletes in all sports throughout the year and encourages them to uplift all women in their communities so they can thrive on and off the field.”
The ‘Watch Women’s Sports’ rallying cry is a continuation of Johnnie Walker’s First Strides initiative, an ongoing commitment to celebrate, inspire and enable more meaningful firsts in culture. To learn more, visit www.johnniewalker.com/firststrides.
ABOUT JOHNNIE WALKER
Johnnie Walker is the world’s number one Scotch Whisky brand1 (IWSR 2021), enjoyed by people in over 180 countries around the world. Since the time of its founder, John Walker, those who blend its whiskies have pursued flavor and quality above all else. Today’s range of award-winning whiskies includes Johnnie Walker Red Label, Black Label, High Rye Blended Scotch Whisky, Double Black, Green Label, Gold Label Reserve, Aged 18 Years and Blue Label. Together they account for over 18 million cases sold annually (IWSR, 2021), making Johnnie Walker the most popular Scotch Whisky brand in the world.
ABOUT DIAGEO NORTH AMERICA
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan's whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Casamigos, DeLeon and Don Julio tequilas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE: DGE) and their products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world.
For more information about Diageo, their people, brands, and performance, visit www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo's global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice. Follow at Twitter and Instagram for news and information about Diageo North America: @Diageo_NA.
ABOUT JUST WOMEN’S SPORTS
Established in 2020, Just Women’s Sports Inc. is the leading multimedia platform exclusively dedicated to women’s sports. Through online content, social media, newsletters, podcasts and more, Just Women’s Sports brings fans everything they need to see and know in the world of women’s sports. Find Just Women’s Sports online, subscribe to the newsletter, and follow on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.
ABOUT THE WOMEN’S SPORTS FOUNDATION
The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. From its inception to Title IX’s 50th anniversary in 2022, WSF invested over $100 million in these impact efforts, helping to shape the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports® To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.
Hannah Waddingham is an Emmy-Award winning television, film, and theater actress and singer. She is best known for her role as “Rebecca Welton” in the award-winning Apple+ series “Ted Lasso,” and has garnered Emmy, Critics Choice, and HCA Awards, as well as Golden Globe and SAG nominations for this role. She made her hosting debut at the 2023 Olivier Awards and continued at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. She was recently seen in Masterpiece & ITV’s miniseries "Tom Jones” and earned an HCA TV Award nomination for her role as ‘Lady Bellaston’ in the limited series. Next, she will appear in Fox’s animated series "Krapopolis” premiering on September 24th and her own Christmas special on AppleTV+, “Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas.” In 2024, she will appear in the new animated adaptation of Garfield, and feature films The Fall Guy and Mission: Impossible 8. Waddingham is also known for her on-screen roles in Hocus Pocus 2, “Sex Education,” and “Game of Thrones.” She is also known for her contribution to musical theater with three Olivier Award nominations for her roles in Kiss Me Kate, A Little Night Music, and Monty Python’s Spamalot.