2020 WNBA Draft Gets Rave Reviews from League Insider Khristina Williams

Girls Talk Sports TV founder, Khristina Williams. Photo Courtesy of Khristina Williams

During ESPN coverage of the WNBA‘s Draft last month, there was a 123 percent increase according to Sports Pro Media.

Addtionally, the 2020 Draft garnered 6.5 million million video views and 1.3 million minutes watched.

That’s a big deal!

Appearing on this week’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I checked in with WNBA credentialed expert Khristina Williams, founder of Girls Talk Sports TV, a digital sports media platform that balances interviews, sports news and updates.

A Conversation with LA Sparks President & COO Danita JohnsonLos Angeles Sparks President & COO #DanitaJohnson joins Girls Talk Sports TV's Khristina Williams for a conversation on the impact of the coronavirus on sports, the 2020 #WNBA Draft, and media coverage in women's sports. #GirlsTalkSportsTV2020-04-28T20:46:23Z

Williams and I discussed everything from the coronavirus, tons of WNBA, NBA tidbits and her growing brand.

Check out notes from our dialogue below:

Khristina Williams on her thoughts on this year’s WNBA Draft:

“The Draft happened on April 17th, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, they had to adjust and have it virtually. And ESPN ended up moving it from ESPN2 to ESPN the main channel and we saw those ratings go up 123 percent compared to last year’s draft so, for the FIRST ever virtual draft, I think it was done really well considering the time we had to set it up, and I think that it was really well done. We got to see a little bit of player’s back stories, we got to see them a little bit at home, their families and they also honored Kobe and Gianna [Gigi] Bryant and the other victims from the helicopter crash that perished. I think that the league REALLY did it well.”

Khristina Williams on what took so long for people to embrace the WNBA:

“I think people can’t embrace what they don’t see. Statistics show that only 4% of media coverage goes towards Women’s Sports followed by 1% of sponsorship dollars go to Women’s Sports. So like, if you can’t see it, you can’t embrace it. And so I think that the WNBA Draft happening viturually happened at the perfect time because all eyes were literally, on Women’s Basketball. And that night we saw where the Women’s game stands and needs coverage that hasn’t been covered otherwise. So I think that we see a shift happening where people are beginning to focus more on the ‘W’as more NBA players and public figures begin to advocate for women’s basketball we’ll see that crossover happen.

I think that’s one of the reasons why we don’t see people embrace it because we just don’t see it.

Khristina Williams on the success of the Draft and the increase of ratings and consistency:

“So do think that those numbers will carry over, mainly because; if you look at the 2020 Draft Class it’s totally stacked! On Draft night you saw Sabrina Ionescu go number one, she signs a shoe deal with Nike so, marketability right? We have the new CBA signed was signed in January and on Draft Night, you had people like Lil Wayne shouting out Chennedy Carter for the Atlanta Dream. So when you see that intersection of sports and culture happening especially based on this league with this 2020 Draft class, so I do think and I’m very sure that I will see that interest carry over into the 2020 season, if we have a season for sure.”

On challenges being independent and the relationships that she has built over the years:

“So, when I started Girls Talk TV I founded my brand on three values: visibility, giving women a voice and giving them really a platform to safely to talk safely about sports and deem that sports is deplorable. There are many challenges when you start your own business. One, there is the independent going up against the big media heads, so that’s one thing. But so, just a year and a half in I was seeing myself having a lot of great success and mainly because in business, you want to have build great relationships with people. And, as a woman especially a black woman at that, we’ll see those challenges but I think because of the relationships that ended up building within the sports industry, I’ve been able to see success and also open the door for other women as well. So, there has been many, many challenges but I feel like this industry is starting to embrace me and my mission and what I’m trying to build. This past week I actually was speaking to L.A. Sparks President and C.O.O. Danita Johnson and she gave me one of the biggest compliments that I could ever receive and it really made me feel good because, it kind of validated me even though I don’t need validation from anyone but, it validated what I was doing and trying to build with my platform. She respects what I’m doing and to have her embrace me and my platform like that, really meant a lot.

Khristina Williams on what Danita Johnson said to her:

“She loved how I’m growing the game for women in media. And that’s basically what she said, and I still praising her caption that she wrote on Instagram. She made the post last night actually. But she just respects what I’m doing and how I’m trying to grow the game and how I’m giving women opportunities in sports.”

Khristina Williams on her background before she started Girls Talk Sports TV:

“My background in sports…well, where should I begin? [laughs]. I played sports growing up and that translated into me becoming a micro-influencer for different brands in New York City so, playing the activation games, promoting products and things like that. I guess you could consider that a governing influencer. I also had my hand in producing different celebrity charity basketball events on the East Coast and West Coast and also in the community where live, giving back to the community starting basketball teams, AAU circuit here in New York and coaching as well. But as for my experience and my journalism goals, I have a degree in journalism and prior to sports, I was actually a reporter for a fashion network covering New York Fashion Week, Red Carpet and things like that and started my own platform that I really wanted to marry my two passions of sports and storytelling journalism and that’s really how Girls Talk Sports TV idea was complete.”

Khristina Williams on missing sports on television:

“Of course I miss sports on television! [Laughs]… But I’m grateful for this time that we do get during this pandemic. Mainly because, on social media you see everyone trying to come up with different narratives and storylines of hypotheticals of what could have been and what should have been, so I have missed sports in that sense to give people something to talk about or things to look forward to, but I also appreciate the journalism side where you like, to have now dig up new stories to tell especially on the women’s side. We’ve seen through this pandemic a lot of different great conversations happening; one being with Sue Bird and really how they have taken off with their Instagram Live…it’s a really interesting time for sure, I definitely do miss sports. Training camp for the WNBA was supposed to start last week and the season was supposed to start May 15th, so right now everything’s postponed so I do miss sports dearly.”

Khristina Williams on what the WNBA is doing for a possible 2020 season:

“So we haven’t cancelled anything yet, we did indefinitely postpone training camp. Media Day was supposed to kick off this coming week; they did postpone it. What we’re hearing now just being in the WNBA circle and even in the NBA side, they want to bring back sports in a safe way – they just gave one location that was proposed. I heard on the NBA side [not the WNBA side], they were trying to see if Disney World could work, but as far as the WNBA’s season, we’re just waiting to hear what happens this season. It hasn’t been cancelled yet, it’s just been postponed at the moment.”


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