Meet The Girl Who's Creating A Space For Sports Fangirls
Tracy Sandler is a huge football fan; specifically a huge 49ers fan (if the jersey didn't already clue you in). But after so many years of watching Sunday football and ESPN, she realized how little sports content was targeted towards women. So she did what any budding entrepreneur would do: she created Fangirl Sports Network, a website made for and run by women who love sports.
From getting more women involved in sports to the best outfits to wear to the game, Tracy is sharing how she started her site and how she hopes to make it the go-to source for female sports fans everywhere.
SIMPLY: How did you go about creating Fangirl Sports Network?
TRACY SANDLER: I launched Fangirl Sports Network as 49ers Fangirl in 2015, and expanded the company to encompass other professional teams in 2016. I have been a huge San Francisco 49ers fan pretty much my whole life, and I was eager and excited to turn my passion into my career.
I received an incredible response after the first season as 49ers Fangirl, and I realized every professional team should have a Fangirl—a knowledgeable, loyal, and humorous woman who could talk sports with the best of them—but who also enjoyed being feminine and sophisticated.
Why was it important for you to create a space where women could discuss their love of sports?
Most sports content is geared towards men, but there is a large contingent of female sports fan who are not being reached. 60% of women watch sports on a regular basis, while 45% of NFL fans are women, and 30% of both MLB and NBA fans are women. I wanted to create a space where women could not only discuss stats, routes and game analysis, but also the lifestyle aspects of sports.
It’s okay to know every record Tom Brady hold and still want to enjoy your inner Gisele. That’s the Fangirl! She’s intelligent and witty, loves to cook and has great style. She has an educated opinion about Monday night’s game but also enjoys champagne, cuddling puppies and anything that sparkles. She lives for game days whether she’s cozied up on the couch, tailgating, or at a bar. She’s the friend you always want to hang out with, and she’s always down to talk sports.
Among other content, Fangirl Sports Network provides women with themed cocktails, healthy game day recipes and a workout to squeeze in during halftime, and ways to look good and feel comfortable on game day.
How have you expanded Fangirl Sports Network since launching?
I first expanded FGSN in 2016 with additional of the Rams Fangirl, and then added both a Clippers and Warriors Fangirl for the 2017 NBA playoffs. I am now proud to say we have eight NFL Fangirls covering the AFC West and NFC West, which includes the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals.
How do you handle being a woman in an extremely male-dominated industry?
I have been incredible lucky during my years covering the 49ers. I can honestly say all of the writers are very welcoming and supportive of women in sports, which is definitely a reflection of the organization. The 49ers organization really is amazing in that way.
That being said, the sports industry is definitely male-dominated, and there are the inevitable bad apples. I let my knowledge and my work speak for itself. I know I belong here, male or female, and I am confident in the job I do.
What are some areas you would like to see more women involved with in the sports world?
I would love to see more women holding leadership roles in organizations; meaning female general managers, team presidents, and coaches. Katie Sowers is a wide receivers coach for the 49ers, and a very talented one at that, but we need a lot more Katies in the NFL.
Since SIMPLY is fashion and beauty focused, what's your advice on supporting your team in style at games?
Every season we produce “Looking Good at the Game” segments on our website, and it’s always super fun content. Our Fangirls are very into bedazzled jerseys from Junlyn Delas-Alas, t-shirts from @FangirlbyMegan, and Touch by Alyssa Milano. Forever 21 also makes really cute team gear! I recommend pairing a cute top with cropped jeans and sneakers that have your team colors. As the temperature drops, I like to layer a bomber jacket and a scarf that incorporates team colors.