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Volume 23 No. 28
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The Collective starts women’s think tank

Wasserman division will research several aspects of sports and fandom

The Collective, a division focused on women within Wasserman, is launching The Collective Think Tank this week to research multiple aspects of women and sports, including female fandom, purchasing power and gender inequities within the industry.

“The goal is ultimately to move women forward,” said Thayer Lavielle, The Collective executive vice president, about the new partnership with multiple universities. “The unique thing about this think tank is it doesn’t exist in sports today, as it is, certainly in the women’s sports space.”

Wasserman, which represents about 160 of the world’s best-known female athletes, launched The Collective in July 2019 to promote and market women and raise their visibility through sports. From the beginning, the plan was to research women, Lavielle said, but shortly after it was announced, universities and professors began reaching out to The Collective.

The Think Tank is working with 10 universities, including professors and student groups, as well as the schools themselves. School partners include North Carolina, Oregon, UNLV and Massachusetts Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management.

Schools participating in Wasserman’s The Collective Think Tank:


Ohio University: College of Business

Ryerson University (Canada): Ted Rogers School of Management

University of Oregon

University of Nevada, Las Vegas: Sport Research & Innovation Initiative

University of Guelph (Canada): Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg School of Management

University of North Carolina

University of South Florida: Muma College of Business

University of St. Gallen (Switzerland): Sports Business Club

George Mason University: School of Sport, Recreation and Tourism Management

“Women’s sport tends to be left out or overlooked when academics craft their classes or consider their research questions, just as the media tends to ignore women’s sport,” said Nancy Lough, professor and co-director of the Sports Research and Innovation Initiative at UNLV. “Because of the think tank, my students will witness exciting examples of how women’s sport is disrupting the men’s sport normative default and shifting the sport industry in new and exciting ways.

“My students will also be on the front line of exposure to cutting-edge thinking and approaches, even potentially engaging directly in these new lines of inquiry and models of innovation.”

The think tank already has 10 research projects started studying different facets of women’s fandom, including consumption, purchasing power, and the effects of social justice. Other research underway looks at the state of women in the sports industry, including underrepresentation and sexism.

Millennial and Gen Z women have a lot of purchasing power and that is going to grow in the next 10 years, Lavielle said. The think tank will be able to create targeted research for brands, properties, organizations and communities on specific issues.

But the other main goal is to “provide leadership” in the industry by having a consortium of free thinkers studying women and sports, Lavielle said.

“We win when women win and not only from our athletes’ perspectives, but from the business we do with our brands and properties in the women’s space,” she said.