SBS has kicked off a new online hub solely dedicated to women in the sporting world, and it’s name is Zela.
Zela will be a one-stop shop for women’s sport from across Australia and the world, and the only outlet of its kind in Australian mainstream media.
Conceived and driven by SBS’s The World Game host Lucy Zelic, the title is a subtle nod to her high school nickname, and promises to be a fresh and distinctive voice in sport media.
“The name represents everything I want women in sport to be: strong, valued, opinionated, successful and worthy,” Zelic said.
Zela is an online community which will have a strong presence in social media feeds with the latest video, highlights, news and views delivered straight to followers.
Zela will profile the best established and up and coming female athletes across a range of women’s team and individual sports, as well as personalities in the sport industry. Zela will host stories celebrating achievement, delve into challenges female athletes face, and cover widespread topics in the sporting world from a female perspective.
In addition to original content, Zela will connect with and promote existing networks and blogs in the field, syndicating and amplifying their content out to a wider audience.
Following what was a huge year in women’s sport with successes for Australian women in the football and netball World Cups, The Ashes, and a rousing Melbourne Cup win by trailblazing jockey Michelle Payne in 2015, Lucy Zelic said there has “never been a better time to bring something like this to life.”
The 2015 Women’s World Cup was the first time outside of a men’s World Cup that all matches were available on an SBS platform – 41 live matches and all 52 games streamed online. Australians responded, with 2.6 million tuning in during the tournament.
Zelic said, “The effect The Matildas had on the Australian public was remarkable, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Australia fell in love with the women’s national team.”
“The Women’s World Cup went so well that we began to explore what else we could do to service women’s sport, a badly neglected area of the current media landscape, especially in the mainstream media.”
Newly-appointed Zela editor Danielle Warby, an advocate for women in sport and award-winning founder of Sporting Sheilas, wants to move beyond complaints of ‘it’s not fair we don’t get coverage’ and other clichés to really delve into the challenges facing female athletes.
Because the success of women’s sport depends on fans really knowing and identifying with the athletes, Warby said profiling interesting personalities in each sport would be a key focus.
“With Zela, I hope to lead the way, to prove the audience is out there if you provide them with interesting and engaging content.”