Togethxr’s ‘Everyone Watches Women’s Sports’ T-shirts Go Viral

The black T-shirt spells it out in capital letters: “Everyone Watches Women’s Sports.”

In the past few months, the message has been hard to miss. Dawn Staley, the coach of the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, kicked off a social media frenzy when she wore the shirt for a pregame interview in January. The comedian and actor Jason Sudeikis wore a version with yellow lettering to the women’s N.C.A.A. tournament finals in April. Jimmy Fallon got one on “The Tonight Show” as a gift from the recently retired W.N.B.A. star Sue Bird.

The shirt, which was created by a company co-founded by Ms. Bird, has become an unofficial uniform as viewership of women’s basketball has soared, and women’s sports in general have seen greater momentum.

Megan Ramos, 25, saw more than a dozen of the shirts at a W.N.B.A. game last month. “Shipping is a little behind,” said Ms. Ramos, who ordered hers in April, “because everyone wants them.”

The short-sleeved shirt, which sells for $45, was introduced last December by Togethxr, the media and apparel company created in 2021 by Ms. Bird, the soccer player Alex Morgan, the swimmer Simone Manuel and the snowboarder Chloe Kim. (A hoodie is also available for $85.)

The slogan aims to turn a common jab against women’s sports on its head. “It’s a play on people saying, ‘Nobody watches women’s sports’ — like, John590 from Twitter with no profile pic,” Ms. Bird told Mr. Fallon. “Now the numbers show it, which is amazing, so now we actually have data to it. Actually, everyone watches women’s sports.”

More than 18 million people watched the 2024 N.C.A.A. women’s basketball championship game, which outperformed the men’s final. A rookie class that includes Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese led the W.N.B.A. draft to record viewership, and established stars like A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart are contributing to swelling ticket sales for W.N.B.A. games.

The team at Togethxr hopes that the black-and-white shirt can appeal to fans of all the players, no matter the team. “Not putting it in certain colorways, or not making them athlete-specific or team-specific was intentional because we wanted it to feel universal,” said Jessica Robertson, the company’s chief content officer and a co-founder.

The company said it sold $3 million worth of shirts, hoodies and tote bags with the slogan so far this year, including 20,000 of the products during a three-day stretch at the end of this year’s N.C.A.A. tournament.

A similar situation played out in 2020, when a bright orange W.N.B.A. hoodie became a fixture among N.B.A. players (and Mr. Sudeikis). But Ms. Robertson said that companies sometimes still assume that the return on investment for women’s sports merchandise will be low.

“The truth is, women’s sports fans have been here,” she said. “You just have to make it available.”

Jackie Johnston, who makes videos about women’s sports on TikTok under the name Coach Jackie, said she had seen the shirts at women’s soccer games, gay bars and a recent concert for the drummer G Flip.

Ms. Johnston, 22, said part of the shirt’s popularity can be attributed to a built-in camaraderie within a community that has long fought to be recognized. “When a female athlete that I love is wearing something, I’m like, Yes, I want to wear that,” she said. “You want to be like Dawn. You want to be like Caitlin. You want to be like Alex Morgan.”

The shirt seems designed to bridge the gap between longtime women’s basketball fans and newer ones who have been hopping on the Caitlin Clark bandwagon. Other merchandise is a little more pointed.

“If you are just now tuning in to women’s basketball, we told you so,” reads an orange-and-white hoodie by Playa Society, a streetwear brand that makes women’s sports apparel. Playa Society’s website describes the piece as “a statement for those who knew that women’s basketball was dope, before 2024.”

Ms. Ramos, who counts herself among the newer group of fans, said she is happy to exchange a knowing smile with other people wearing the shirt when she sees them in the wild. She is already thinking about ordering one of the Togethxr hoodies.

And the company has new items on the way, including a shirt to be released before the Paris Olympics with a phrase in French: “Tout le monde regarde le sport féminin.” You can probably guess what it means.

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