Media Tip Sheet: NWSL Sponsorship Changes Following Sally Yates' Findings

October 14, 2022

Following the Sally Yates’ findings of systemic abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League, some sponsors have decided to pull their money from the club and instead donate to the NWSL Players Association’s emergency fund. One professor at the George Washington University worries the female athlete will be hurt the most if more companies pull their sponsorships from the league and the teams.

GW Professor Lisa Delpy Neirotti

If you are looking for more context on this matter, please consider Lisa Delpy Neirotti, the director of the MS in Sport Management Program and an associate professor of sport management at GW. She has been a professor of sport, event and tourism management at GW for more than 30 years.

Neirotti says companies are trying to get publicity for supporting female athletes but if there is no financial backing, there will be no league, no teams and no games. She says the female athlete will be the one who is hurt the most.

“What we need to remember is there will be no opportunity for women to play if the league folds and clubs cannot financially survive. I understand what some of these companies are doing but it is not sustainable,” Neirotti says. “If we want to allow women's professional sport to continue to grow and allow more women to participate and more fans to enjoy, then we need to continue to support the league and clubs so they can continue to employ female athletes.”  

Neirotti adds that all stakeholders must be thinking of ways to create meaningful change.

“It is terrible that the women have had to endure inexcusable actions by some coaches, executives, and owners but does that mean ALL NWSL club coaches and administrators are bad? We all need to do a better job of ensuring those who work with athletes reflect a high duty of care and professionalism,” Neirotti says. “The focus should be on supporting the league and clubs on implementing meaningful change.  What about paying to hire someone who will do nothing but do more screenings, surveys, and follow-up with complaints or concerns raised. There are ways to secure anonymous feedback from players about team atmosphere.”

If you would like to speak with Professor Delpy Neirotti, please contact GW Media Relations Sepcialist Cate Douglass at [email protected].