Sports Endeavors, Inc.
431 US Highway 70A East
Hillsborough, NC 27278
MEDIA CONTACT: For Immediate Release
Patti Latimer 919.640.6048
Sports Endeavors, Inc announces acquisition of Vivo Girls Sports, Inc.
HILLSBOROUGH, NC October 4, 2011: Sports Endeavors, Inc today announced the acquisition of Vivo Girls Sports, Inc. (vivoGS), based in Mill Valley, California. vivoGS is a thriving online community and resource for teenagers and young female athletes who share a passion for sports. The acquisition will enhance Sports Endeavor’s recent launch of HERosport, the female brand extension of SOCCER.COM. “Half the young athletes in this country are girls. vivoGS has done an excellent job tapping into what they need and want in order to play their sports and to communicate with each other. This brings an influential, very sophisticated audience into the SOCCER.COM community,” says Brendan Moylan, Sports Endeavors, Inc. co-Founder and COO.
Over 15 million female athletes 13-24 years old will participate in organized sports in 2011 and the number is growing rapidly, over 10% per year. “In addition to team sports participants, with another 10 million young female athletes participating in other fitness activities, you’ve got a very broad and powerful niche of female consumers,” says Mr. Moylan.
“We are thrilled to tell our vast network of hundreds of thousands of young athletes, parents and coaches across the country about the commitment SOCCER.COM is making to the female side of sports, especially soccer players, “says vivoGS founder and CEO Marilou McFarlane, mother of two teenage girl athletes, recognized expert in teen and college marketing and social media, and a lifelong competitive athlete herself. “Young female athletes crave a place to communicate with their peers on Facebook and easily find and buy all they need to play from one place, with one-stop shopping to find all the best gear and apparel.”
The vivoGS community, founded in 2009 in Mill Valley, California, is made up of prominent and well-respected experts in sports medicine, nutrition, female health, physical therapy, and sports psychology, as well as professional and college female athletes who all donated their time to offer answers and support that teenage girls need. “Teenage girls communicate differently from the boys; vivoGS provides a unique community that encourages female athletes to keep playing, by telling them they’re not alone with their concerns and questions,” says Ms. McFarlane.
Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, showed that increasing girls’ sports participation had a direct effect on women’s education and employment. Changes set in motion by Title IX, celebrating its 40th anniversary this month, explain about 20% of the increase in women’s education and about 40% of the rise in employment for 25-to-35-year-old women. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/as-girls-become-women-sports-pay-dividends/
“There needed to be an outlet where girls could get information, and get as much attention and respect as boys,” vivoGS founder’s 16-year-old daughter Darcy McFarlane says. “To have this open place where you can get help and advice that you wouldn’t have access to, it’s great. Plus I can find what I need to play soccer easily now at SOCCER.COM.”
“As parents of two competitive girl athletes, my husband and I were continually frustrated by how difficult it was to find the apparel, cleats, sports bras, compression shorts, socks, all the things they continually need because they wore them out or grew out of them so fast. I don’t spend a nickel on my own sportswear until they have what they need to play,” explains Ms. McFarlane. “The commitment that Sports Endeavors is showing to this vibrant side of their potential customer base is very gratifying and I’m thrilled that our global community of fans on Facebook will continue to be inspired and supported by such a popular and successful sports organization.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Well, here we go. There it is front page of the NYT today. “This is one of the last industries where the subject is off limits,” said Mr. Welts, who stands now as a true rarity, a man prominently employed in professional men’s team sports, willing to declare his homosexuality. “Nobody’s comfortable in engaging in a conversation.”
Not only are we unwilling to engage in the conversation, millions of incredible athletes are ostracized consistently for who they love. Who they LOVE. Who is anyone to judge who someone else loves? Hard to believe it is 2011. We used to tell races that they had to fall in love and marry ONLY someone from their own race.
When investors blatantly diss female entrepreneurs who are trying to empower young female athletes with comments such as…
“You aren’t the right DNA for us to invest with…”
“If this was easy, women would do it.”
“Are you worried about the lesbian influence in your vivoGS community?”
You could say that one’s entrepreneurial naivete takes a pretty good bashing. We’re proud of vivoGS. The powers that be at ESPN W and ESPN Rise Girl told me last week how much “we inspired them” when they were putting their own content together to empower this demographic.
As Teddy says, no regrets. Our vivoAngels, our team, our incredible fan base, our clients all believe in us. We went for the gold. There is only dignity when you give it your all.
You can only regret what you don’t attempt. And I can only hope that the hate that is rampant in our society today will subside as my daughters grow into adults. Why should someone as awesome as Rick Welts have to live in agony, afraid to be who he is?
Last night the vivoTeam came over to celebrate the holidays together. I mean, the WHOLE team. The kind, smart folks who answer questions that teenage girls across the country ask. Our willing and experienced advisors who are there for me at all hours to talk me off the ledge. And a slew of my “Family and Friends” who invested in vivoGS; what would an entrepreneur do without the F&F?
Our incredible staff brought over incredible food. And they dress up nice! Kristin, Sam and Meagan are drop dead gorgeous, inside and out. These young women just blow me away. I am so proud. Katarina, Laurie, Holly, Lynda so beautiful. Jared with his fabulous Donkey and Goat Wine. (We missed you, Tracey!) Ha and the lovely, very pregnant Jenny.
The kids were home from college from all corners of the country, including my girl who flew in from North Carolina in time to help decorate cookies with her pals. (Now that she’s home we can put the angel on top of the tree! Our home is complete!)
Surprise visit from Santa completed the magical evening. My husband is simply the best.
There is magic underway with vivo, ladies and gentlemen. Stay tuned for more info. A potential merger with another company that would make everyone happy, especially our audience and our investors. Can’t wait to share more - This could be the best Christmas gift of my life. The dream is alive!
Exciting, memorable times underway. These are the good ole days. Ho Ho Ho!
“Maybe the reason I love to win is because it hurts so much to lose. And I can’t stand pain. You may call it neurotic, but when you think about it, almost anybody who has been successful in life - in sports, the arts, business or everyday living suffers pain when they lose.
To be a winner you must have total self-awareness. You’ve got to be aware of how much training your body needs, how much practice you need, and how much time you need to prepare yourself mentally.
Most people understand the need for training and practice, but they don’t know what I mean by mental preparation. By that, I simply mean, Imagine yourself doing something right! This applies to all of the goals you might want to achieve in life.
Envision yourself winning.
Know your opponent.
Review after each game what you did right and what you did wrong to better prepare for next time.
Know yourself and what you did to win.
Have measurable goals.
Could have been written today, right? All excerpted from an article written by the one and only Billie Jean King, a heroine to every single one of us who loves to play our sport. Kathy and I had the extraordinary pleasure of dining with Eva Auchincloss and Holly Turner recently. They were co-Executive Directors of the Women’s Sports Foundation in its first years. As the pioneering Eva put it, “We were ahead of our time”. No kidding.
These editions of Women’s Sports Magazine are beyond precious. Every single piece of editorial content is relevant to me and my daughters and all of our sisters and teammates everywhere. The photos are priceless. I will post a few on our fan page for comment. Some of the ads are laugh out loud, but every single photo of a female athlete is inspiring. The mothers of today’s top athletes! Pioneers!
I asked my own 15 year old to imagine her life without her teammates, her practices every day, her competitions on the weekend. She wonders if she would miss it, since she wouldn’t know what she was missing. But I reminded her of how it felt to play on the playground as a young girl, running around freely, competing equally with the boys in dodgeball and foursquare. What if the boys got to keep doing it officially and she didn’t? That resonates.
I’m dismayed by those who want to attack Title IX today. The internet conversation today includes many who feel that boys are being penalized by “reverse discrimination” and point out how boys have limited opportunities because of mandatory equitable participation for girls.
You could say that in our country today, football, basketball and baseball for males fully dominate the sports conversation, the media coverage, and that it has nothing to do with girls or Title IX. As long as the big budgets at all schools, and yes, the big revenue, is dominated by these sports, it will be a struggle to support all the boys and girls who want to participate in sport.
It’s a conversation I’d love to have. And it’s not easy. But attacking Title IX isn’t the answer. I became a teenager the same year that Title IX passed. Had I not been able to play sports year-round, as mandated by Title IX, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like. Seeing the boys play and know I couldn’t play too?
Let’s keep talking about it. And stay tuned for some of these incredible photos and stories of female athletes from the “early days” of women in sports. Thank you, Billie, Eva and Holly! And Donna deVarona! We are grateful!
…“A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” Oprah.
Great story in NYT today about being secure with being insecure as a CEO.
“For whatever reason, people believe that when they get to that spot, they have to know everything. They’ve got to be in total control, and you can never show weakness. I would say one of the underlying strengths of a great leader and a great CEO - not all the time, but when appropriate - is to demonstrate vulnerability, because that will bring people closer to you and show people the human side of you,” Howard Schulz, CEO of Starbucks. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/business/10corner.html?_r=1
Our team is strong and we will prevail. A rogue wave may come but our ship is steady and sailing to the shore of success, where millions of girls await. Feedback from Facebook chats with members this week also provides unending validation that vivoGS must exist. Boys who play sports have support, the girls deserve it too.
Thanks to meeting with Andy last week, I have even more confirmation that the content and community we are building is in high demand with brands and advertisers who want to reach this powerful audience of influential, highly social female athletes. On their way to ruling the world.
Compete.com shows awesome hockey stick for our visitors. Makes me happy, as does sitting here watching my 15 year old play soccer in the middle of nowhere California with her state team.
Onward and upward.
Perched in their chic Manhattan headquarters, Jenny Carter Fleiss and Jenn Hyman may be miles—literally and figuratively—from the high school track and volleyball court on which they once broke a sweat. The recent Harvard Business School grads are the co-founders of Rent the Runway, an innovative online service in which women can borrow designer frocks for weddings or other occasions, Netflix-style, at recession-friendly prices—that’s grown exponentially since it launched last year.” More here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-09-29/women-and-sports-why-athletic-ladies-excel-in-business/
None of this is surprising to me, there are so many life lessons to be gained from participation in sports. Teamwork, leadership, courage, strength to get back up when you get knocked down. Finding joy in the journey.
Our vivoTeam rocks. Meeting today with Kristin, Sam, Alex and Ryanne just made my day. These girls will be running it all one day. If I do my job well. And I intend to!
(Vera Wang, champion figure skater)
Great week for vivoGS! This article in the Wall Street Journal says it best… the time is right for consumer web start-ups like vivoGS to wildly succeed. Especially those with meaningful content, like our Q&A and product review sections, to a very targeted vertical in the marketplace, girls 13-24 with a shared passion for sports and an active healthy lifestyle.
Our story got picked up by Seventeen.com/CosmoGirl and numerous other relevant sites since our official media launch on September 1. http://www.seventeen.com/cosmogirl/vivo-girls-sports
My girl is playing lots for Carolina and my goddaughter is running great at UPenn. I’m adjusting to the house being more quiet, and grateful for Darcy, her friends and our parakeets. And of course, Poppy, the black dog who goes with me everywhere, even places she shouldn’t.
Off to the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, to help out Gina and Billy in the Dipsea beer booth.
Onward and upward!
So excited to see our fan page continue to grow and to welcome new sponsors aboard! The engagement we provide with our girls across multiple platforms, giving them the trusted and supportive environment they deserve, allows meaningful engagement with the brands that want to reach them. We’re providing a vital hub for all.
Welcome HINT Water, KIND Healthy Snacks, MaxClarity and HairShots!
Can’t wait to go with Sam and Ali to So Cal Blues soccer tournament in gorgeous Laguna Niguel this Labor Day weekend. Stay tuned for updates from the hub of the action in Rancho Capistrano. We are grateful to Paul already for all of his help featuring us so prominently on the best field and on his own home page, front and center!
But before that, several really exciting meetings this week with angel investors. Love sharing our story and can’t wait to move ahead with our first equity partners. They believe in vivoGS, as do our first 37,000 girls on our fan page!