The Women's Flat Track Derby Association

The WFTDA Challenges ESPN to Improve Their Relationship with Non-Mainstream and Women's Sports

After dealing with dismissive treatment from ESPN, The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is calling out the worldwide leader in sports for the mocking content created to promote ESPN “The Ocho.”


Austin, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/09/2018 --Erica Vanstone, the Interim Executive Director of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, produced an open letter to ESPN in response to the return of ESPN "The Ocho" and the promotional materials that have been released leading up to the Ocho's broadcast. The letter explains the WFTDA's disappointment over the portrayal of "seldom seen sports" as being equivalent to clumsily jumping hurdles or boxing with a KFC bucket on one's head. Vanstone also details her interactions with ESPN over the past several years and says that this day of coverage of non-mainstream sports being presented as a comedic event falls in line with a pattern of behavior by ESPN that demonstrates the lack of respect they have for flat track roller derby, women's sports, and the LGBTQ community.

The WFTDA supports Vanstone in making this statement. The WFTDA is a leading organization in the movement for better coverage of women's sports, and as a relatively young sport (in comparison to major professional sports leagues), we also push for better representation of other lesser-known sports. ESPN could do more to make the world of sports more inclusive, to adequately cover and promote women's sports, and to properly represent non-mainstream sports.

We are calling on ESPN as the worldwide leader in sports coverage to do better. The satirical presentation of flat track roller derby and other sports on the Ocho is just one of the ways ESPN marginalizes certain sports, and even with this channel existing for only 24 hours to cover these sports, there is still only one hour dedicated to women's sports. At one time, ESPN showed signs of a growing respect for women's sports, but as many of the people who were pushing for that change have been replaced and reassigned, those glimmers of hope have faded. In light of all of this, we are challenging ESPN to do more to diversify the world of sports rather than continuing to perpetuate systems of marginalization and exclusion.

About The WFTDA
The Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is the international governing body of flat track roller derby representing more than 450 member and apprentice leagues on 6 continents. The mission of the WFTDA is to govern and promote the sport of flat track roller derby and revolutionize the role of women in sports through the collective voice of its member leagues around the world. The WFTDA sets the international standards for rankings, rules, and competition each year and provides guidance and resources to the sport of flat track derby.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact us via email at

Contact: The Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Phone: 512-710-8543
More Info: