July 11, 2023
Locked on Women’s Basketball: Megan Perry and Athletes Unlimited are here to grow women’s basketball
Howard and Megan Perry talk all things Athletes Unlimited — the importance of growing women's basketball and fan engagement
It’s time for another Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast episode. Megan Perry is deeply immersed in the world of women’s sports, particularly women’s basketball. So it matters that Athletes Unlimited hired her as the Director of Basketball and that Perry sees a bright pathway for AU’s future. She joins host Howard Megdal to talk about the positioning of AU, intellectually and chronologically, in the growing women’s basketball landscape.
Megan Perry talks about why she chose Athletes Unlimited as her next career move:
“When I think about AU, and I think about now, I’m really excited about this opportunity because, for those that may not know a lot about my background, I’ve been in women’s basketball my whole life; it’s been this common thread in my journey. And I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to grow the game. And I think we’re at such a critical juncture within the women’s basketball space where we are right about to take off. I feel like we’ve been growing and growing and small steps. But I think there’s so many eyeballs on the space.
And I think the combination of my business background and that understanding and that savvy from years spent at the WNBA league office, sometimes it’s been in the broadcast media side, and then the relationships that have developed over the years with our players and being able to put those two things together, I think there is a right formula to help grow something special with AU. I think they have proven that this is a strong platform, and it’s a platform that is off to a really strong start. And I just think that me coming in, will give us the opportunity to take it up another notch. So I’m excited for an opportunity to grow the game. And it’s important to me because the game is in one of the best places it’s been in a long time, and I want to continue to help drive that forward.”
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Megan Perry talks about Athletes Unlimited unique format:
“I will say like my background has been strong in women’s sports just overall. So understanding the growth of women’s sports, and particularly its fans of women’s sports, during my time prior to joining Athletes Unlimited, I was with Sports Innovation Lab as their vice president of executive engagement and women’s initiatives. And part of my time there, I spent time releasing a report called the “fan project,” which talked all about how fans of women’s sports engage across multiple platforms and we understand like basketball is basketball. I think the game is the game. But I think the engagement around it is different. And so what I love about Athletes Unlimited is they’ve taken an approach that is incredibly well aligned with the behavior of women’s sports fans.
We know that fans of women’s sports are like digitally native; we know we’ve been forced into communities online because we’ve not always been a part of that linear television community. We’ve had to figure out how to consume it differently, how to watch and engage with the athletes differently. And all those things, I feel like all that grunt work and grind is starting to pay off for us now we’re able to use it to our advantage. But what I love about Athletes Unlimited is it’s really forward-thinking; the model is a little bit actually upside down, what the traditional model is, right? It is driven and it’s player-centric. It is a model that allows and rewards both team performance and individual performance.
I love the incentives that Athletes Unlimited provides around the game. And I think it provides a unique way to like not only incentivize the athlete but incentivize and really engage the fans in a way that we have kind of like been doing so naturally. But now we’re, like, actually have formal ways to do so someone’s inviting us formally. In the way the AU structures thing. So you know how I think there’s a little bit of like a learning curve and that some fans might go through, there’s their first time engaging with Athletes Unlimited and watching the game, but like the best product, high caliber athletes on the floor, and they are just competing, there’s so many opportunities for them to win along the way, the way that things are structured, is it’s something that it really grabs you, it really grabs you.”
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