CHICAGO (CBS) –
Funding for women’s professional sports is hard to come by. Just ask the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, who are fighting for equal pay. They aren’t alone. The National Pro Fastpitch Softball League started a new advertising program to help boost salaries. And, the Chicago Bandits are taking advantage of it.
At the Bandits ballpark, there are signs everywhere with sponsors, but now for the first time, there is signage on players. The league started an “On Player Ad Location,” known as OPAL. The ads are on hats, visors and arm sleeves.
“This is such a great opportunity for women to further their career and strive toward that equal pay,” says Bandits outfielder Brenna Moss.
The sponsorships help supplement the players income, the Bandits average salary is $7,000. Twenty seven players on the team have them, 40 in the league. The city of Rosemont has OPALS with most of the players. Jessie Scroggins also has one with technology company Rapsodo and Brenna Moss with Big League Chew.
“People see our arm sleeve, they ask what it is, I have social media about,” adds Moss.
“We have a long ways to go, but we are trying to figure out ways, can climb each step and get us to a better spot,” says Bandits coach Lauren Lappin.
“We’d love to get to a spot where OPALs can be for everyone or the amount of money is higher,” says Bandits outfielder Jessie Scroggins
Now it’s up to each individual sponsor and engage with them directly, the partnerships start at $2500 and they can go as high as the two sides agree on.
“Engaging more people about our league, raising awareness about it, it’s all good stuff,” says Moss.
“I hope other pro organizations and teams kind of buy into this same concept,” adds Lappin.