The first-of-its-kind bar called The Sports Bra will play only women’s sports.
PORTLAND, Ore. (March 28, 2022) — Female athletes are getting the long overdue support of The Sports Bra, the first and only sports bar that will only play women’s sports. Located in Northeast Portland, The Bra opens on Friday, April 1, with a mission to make great food and delicious drinks, and provide a space that supports, empowers, and promotes girls and women in sports and in the community.
The response to this game-changing business venture has been phenomenal and widespread. Young and old fans of female athletes are hungry for a place to watch and celebrate women’s sports. Since announcing the opening, owner and chef Jenny Nguyen has received crowd-sourced funding, donations of memorabilia, national news coverage, and social media engagement from Canada, Brazil, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Spain. The launch Kickstarter raised $105,000 over 30 days, which was more than twice its goal.
“When I first set out on this journey to open up, I had no idea the impact it would have on so many so quickly,” said Nguyen. “And we are just getting started.”
She added, “The statistics about girls and women dropping out of sports are staggering. Girls who play sports have higher self-esteem and a more positive body image. The Bra will be more than just a place to view women’s sports. It gives people a space to be together and celebrate. It can start with the viewing, and then expand to how that could grow into a larger movement.”
One of the main goals of The Sports Bra is to give the community a place to celebrate women’s and girls’ sports together. A large part of that is access to quality televised women’s sporting events. The five TVs will play women’s sports games being broadcast on regular TV, satellite or cable, and Just Women’s Sports for some additional limited programing. They will play Portland Thorns games and ATA Football matches.
When people walk into a traditional sports bar, they expect nonstop sports coverage, as there is 24/7 coverage of men’s sports. If there’s not a live game on, there’s a replay, behind-the-scenes or commentary programming. As of right now, that does not exist for women’s sports, as 96% of all sports media coverage on TV is of men’s sports. That means just 4% of all sports on TV is of women.
Nguyen added, “We aim to put that 4% on blast. If it’s on, we will show it. That being said, if it’s not on, we CAN’T show it. We’ve worked hard to develop a few partnerships with several sports media brands to bring more coverage than the measly 4% that’s out there, but this is just the beginning, and even with the added media, there’s not nearly enough content for us to show 24/7. We just want to put it out there that there will be times when there are not any games on TV, and when that happens we may choose to turn the TVs off. We think it’s not only powerful to highlight the 4% that is showing, but also to highlight what is NOT showing. The more attention we draw to viewers demanding women’s sports coverage, the more power we have as a community to push for change and equity!”
The idea for The Bra started in April 2018, when Nguyen and about a dozen of her friends wanted to watch the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament championship game between Notre Dame and Mississippi State at a local sports bar. They grabbed a few tables and slid them together, and got the server to switch one of the televisions to the big game for them. They ordered food and drinks and proceeded to watch what would be one of the best games in NCAA history. When it was all over, they realized they watched the whole thing on a tiny TV in the corner of the bar with no sound on.
Fast forward to 2020, when Nguyen had been running her parents’ family business for a couple years, having left her position as a chef. Between the pandemic and the racial justice movement, the world was being turned on its head. It was a time of change. She had always felt a bit lost since leaving the kitchen but didn’t know what lay ahead. She felt she needed to do something more.
Social movements were pressing harder and further, people were learning and unlearning, and women’s sports were pushing forward and through. Nguyen felt that there was so much distress and upheaval in 2020, but also so much inspiration and reason to fight. Finally, she saw her place in the struggle and how she could do something meaningful. The idea of The Sports Bra was born.
The restaurant will not only spotlight talented female athletes, it will also showcase women in the food and beverage industry. The menu features standard pub food fare such as burgers, sliders and tots, as well as some of Nguyen’s family recipes like Mom’s Baby Back Ribs and Aunt Tina’s Vietna-Wings. Nguyen is sourcing ingredients from women-owned businesses: beef from Cory Carman of Carman Ranch, alcohol from Freeland Spirits and produce from Vibrant Valley Farm.
About The Sports Bra
Opened in April 2022, The Sports Bra is the first and only sports bar to only play women’s sports. Located in Portland, Oregon, the restaurant aims to make great food and delicious drinks, and provide a space that supports, empowers, and promotes girls and women in sports and in the community. thesportsbrapdx.com