Sports & Wellbeing

Battle of the Sexes

21st Century Fox has strengthened its partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) with the release of a free Battle of the Sexes curriculum guide for the classroom. Inspired by the true story of world tennis champion and WSF founder, Billie Jean King, the curriculum offers materials for teachers to guide their students through discussions on sexism, LGBT rights, inclusion, and the landmark Title IX legislation, as well as handouts and activities to supplement key themes. Along with the curriculum’s release, 21CF is also making DVD copies of Fox Searchlight’s Battle of the Sexes available free of charge to educators in high school and college classrooms across the United States.

Battle of the Sexes tells the story of the historic 1973 tennis match between King and former men’s world champion, Bobby Riggs, played by Emma Stone and Steve Carrell. One of the most watched sporting events of all time, the match represented a convergence of the social and cultural issues underway, including LGBT acceptance and the fight for equal pay between men and women. King rose to enduring prominence not just for her unrivaled tennis skills, but also her relentless advocacy for female and LGBT athletes. “I knew this match was about social change. It wasn't [just] about tennis,” she said in a recent interview. “All I wanted was to get the essence of the fight for equality and what we were going through on all fronts… We need equal pay for equal work.” After the Battle of the Sexes match, she founded the Women’s Sports Foundation, and has led the organization in awarding over $50 million in educational and financial grants to advance participation, research, and leadership of girls and women in sports.

21st Century Fox helped fund the creation and distribution of the curriculum guide by donating 79 cents to WSF from every ticket sold during the film’s September 2017 opening weekend—drawing symbolic attention to the 79 cents that women in the United States earn for every dollar paid to men for the same work. A portion of the donation also went to a special edition of WSF’s Travel and Training Fund, which provides financial support to promising female athletes who could not otherwise afford coaching, equipment, and necessary travel.

The film campaign continues a long running relationship between 21st Century Fox and the Women’s Sports Foundation to help ensure equal access to sports. Since 2014, 21CF businesses have collectively donated over $1 million to WSF, and 21CF, FOX Sports, and Fox Networks Group regularly support WSF's Annual Salute to Women in Sports, a gala recognizing the world's top female athletes.

High school and college teachers in the US can download the Battle of the Sexes curriculum and request a free DVD to screen the movie for students at www.foxconnect.com/battleofthesexes.

Battle of the Sexes is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD.

Learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, including their research into how sports programs benefit young girls, their grant and scholarship programs, and more.


21CF Impact Week Volunteer Community Service

For six days and nights in October, nearly 3,000 colleagues from across 21st Century Fox businesses gave back to the communities around them as part of the second annual 21CF Impact Week. Building on the success of 21CF’s first ever company-wide week of service in 2016, which was piloted in New York and Los Angeles, colleagues in 25 U.S. cities took part in 99 service activities that benefited kids, veterans, the environment, victims of Hurricane Harvey, and many more. It is estimated that these efforts, which collectively totaled more than 9,000 hours of service, made a positive difference in the lives of more than 83,000 people. The company plans to further expand 21CF Impact Week to its global locations in 2018.

“I’m honored to work for a company that made Impact Week such an ambitious, visible initiative,” one volunteer said. “I would like 21CF to continue to send the message of encouragement to employees at Fox that we are ordinary people who can do extraordinary things for other people when make a diligent community effort.”

21CF worked with local leads at each of its U.S. based businesses to organize volunteer opportunities around its Social Impact focus areas: Creativity & the Arts, Sports & Well Being, Knowledge & Exploration, Sustainability & the Environment, and Diversity & Inclusion. Service projects included preparing meals for the homeless, cleaning up parks and gardens, building school libraries, packaging supplies for military servicemen and women, and mentoring local youth, among many others. 21CF Impact Week gave colleagues the chance to build thriving communities while strengthening their relationships with coworkers and forging new connections across the business.

In total, 21CF colleagues packed 45,800 pounds of food, made and served 82,884 meals, removed one ton of trash from lakes and rivers, collected 1,019 toys, and created 9,440 backpacks, kits, and care packages, culminating in nearly 9,050 hours of service.

Learn more about Impact Week by reading our in-depth feature and by browsing #21CFImpactWeek on Twitter and Instagram.

21CF Impact Week Volunteer Community Service


Shorty Social Good Awards Fox National Geographic

21st Century Fox and National Geographic took home top honors at the second annual Shorty Social Good Awards on November 15 for developing social media campaigns that engage audiences on important social issues and empower them to take action. The winning campaigns included 21CF’s contest to award free screenings of Hidden Figures to communities across America, as well as initiatives from Nat Geo to encourage women in STEM, expand access to clean water, and inspire the genius in each of us. The Shorty Social Good Awards launched in 2016 to celebrate the power of digital storytelling tools to raise awareness and make change.

The full list of awards for 21CF businesses is as follows:

The Hidden Figures national screening series aimed to make the film available to communities where it might have the strongest impact. The film tells the “untold” story of three African American female NASA mathematicians during the Space Race of the 1960's, and it has a particular resonance for young women and women of color looking to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 21CF invited schools, community groups, and nonprofits around the country to apply for free screenings, and distributed 3,500 free tickets throughout the spring season as a result.  

In May, National Geographic launched the Chasing Genius digital community, inspired by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Genius miniseries on the channel about Albert Einstein. Members of the community, which grew to more than 30,000 users over the summer, submitted videos detailing big ideas that could address sustainability, global health, and world hunger. The site received more than 3,000 videos, generated 230 million impressions, and sparked 3.2 million social conversations. Four winners were selected and each awarded $25,000 to develop their projects.

The Shorty Awards also recognized National Geographic for two of its partnership campaigns. Its #MakeWhatsNext campaign, a collaboration with Microsoft, won the Live Streaming Video category and aimed to recruit more young women to the STEM fields. Leading female National Geographic Explorers took part in the campaign, which celebrated International Women’s Day and included six live events in Microsoft stores across the U.S. National Geographic also partnered with Stella Artois for a water conservation campaign centered around World Water Day.

Learn more about the Shorty Social Good Awards, including the full list of winners and details on each campaign.


Team Rubicon Disaster Relief Fox

Photo courtesy Team Rubicon

As Puerto Rico continues to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in September, Fox Networks Group is set to unveil a new documentary series about the nonprofit Team Rubicon and its disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the continental United States, and beyond. The series will air in short segments across FNG’s full portfolio, including FOX Broadcasting, FX, National Geographic, and FOX Sports. Each installment will highlight the organization’s relief operations, which include the provision of clean water and medical care. The program will culminate in a feature length documentary set to air on FNG channels next spring.

“At Fox Networks Group, we love to tell stories that entertain but also stories that inspire,” said Joe Rockhill, VP of Integrated Sales & Marketing at FNG. “We have these incredible storytellers across our portfolio that always latch onto inspirational stories, and… ultimately we wanted to tell the story of the men and women who are part of Team Rubicon, the heroes that are helping rebuild these communities and bringing help where help is needed.”

Academy Award-nominated director Kief Davidson will helm the project, which will air across FNG channels throughout the rest of the fall season, including during the Daytona 500, the World Series, and Thanksgiving and Christmas NFL games on FOX Sports. FX featured the documentary shorts during its Veteran’s Day programming initiative. The months-long effort also represents an opportunity for brands to get involved and connect with their customers on the causes that matter to them.

“The idea is to showcase the different parts of Team Rubicon, what they’re doing across the U.S. and the world, and help bring those stories to life in an interesting way,” Rockhill said. “We can use the awareness that we have and the audiences we have to help tell those stories and make sure people aren’t forgotten.”

Team Rubicon pairs American military veterans with disaster relief projects both within the U.S. and internationally. The organization is currently leading efforts to provide aid to victims of the recent California wildfires and Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. In Puerto Rico, their activities include delivering medical care and supplies, clearing debris within communities and on transit roads, and distributing clean drinking water.

Learn more about Team Rubicon, including their relief efforts in the U.S. and around the world.


Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke, FOX - Global Sports Mentoring

FOX Sports is participating in the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP) for the first time this year. The initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of State, organizes one-month mentorships for emerging women leaders from around the world each year in the hopes of empowering them to better serve their local communities through the power of sport. Through Women of FOX Sports, FOX Sports is hosting accomplished Nigerian sports journalist Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke, the first female anchor and sports analyst for SuperSport Nigeria.

One of this year’s 17 GSMP participants selected from a pool of about 100 women nominated by U.S. embassies located across the globe, Chisom has been spending time with Jennifer Pransky (Senior Coordinating Producer, Features, FOX Sports) and Lindsay Amstutz (SVP and General Manager of FOX Sports West and PrimeTicket, and FOX Sports San Diego). During her monthlong mentorship, Chisom is tasked with developing an action plan to address a specific challenge facing young women in Nigeria. While with the FOX Sports team, she will have opportunities to meet with executive leadership to gain new perspective that she can incorporate into both her action plan development and own career.

To kick off Chisom’s time with FOX Sports, the Women of FOX Sports hosted an event to showcase Chisom, alongside fellow GSMP Emerging Leader Carmen Pozo Rios (first female journalist in Bolivia), and Program Director Dr. Sarah Hillyer.

We recently spoke with Chisom to learn more about her journey, the role of sports in Nigeria’s culture and her action plan.

Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke with FOX Sports

Getting noticed

Chisom ran track in high school and knew at a young age that she wanted to work in the sports industry. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English, Chisom knew she had to find a way to get noticed in an industry that didn’t take women seriously. So she went online and found a FIFA agent licensing program, which no woman in Nigeria had yet passed.

While Chisom had no interest in becoming an agent, she thought if she did that, it would get her noticed. So she took the exam and passed, becoming the first female FIFA-licensed agent.

“Suffice it to say that it got me the attention that I wanted,” she said.

The head of SuperSport Nigeria, one of the country’s largest media outlets, was one of the many people who noticed Chisom’s achievement. After a successful audition, she became the first female soccer analyst on SuperSport and remains the only female anchor on the network.

In her 10 years at SuperSport, Chisom has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world, including the World Cup and the Olympics. She has also started her own production company, Fortem Lens, which aims to give African women the opportunity to tell stories and cover sports.

Journey to the GSMP

About seven years ago, Chisom received a call from the U.S. Embassy of Nigeria, which was running a program to empower schoolgirls. They said they thought she was a role model who should participate as a mentor.

"I can't really understand why, other than the fact that I seemed to be in a male-dominated world and doing OK,” Chisom said.

She took part in this program for two years and remained in contact with the U.S. Embassy. Then earlier this year, Chisom received another call – this time, the embassy nominated her to be mentored at the GSMP.

“It definitely fit into my plans, into my vision, into my goals in life.” Chisom said she took the nomination seriously and was “eternally grateful” when she was selected as a participant.

Sports in Nigeria

Nigeria is home to hundreds of tribes, languages and ethnic groups, and there are cultural divisions and issues among them. “The one time everybody comes together…is when the country is involved in a sporting competition,” Chisom said. “Once somebody puts on green and white, everyone comes together and we forget all the problems. Because of that, sports – especially football – is very massive in Nigeria.”

The Nigerian football team has 18 players from different parts of Nigeria, but when one of them makes a nice move on the pitch, everybody in the stadium cheers and chants his name. It’s these instances when Chisom realizes the power of sport in the nation.

Where some see a recreational activity, Chisom sees a unifying phenomenon that governments around the world should be tapping into. “We really need that right now.”

Chisom Mbonu-Ezeoke with FOX Sports

Action plan and personal takeaway

Chisom’s action plan, which has changed since she arrived at the GSMP, is to create a lasting positive impact in the lives of young girls in Nigeria. To do this, Chisom wants to bring a network of successful women from around the world to participate in a monthlong program, Fortem Inspire (“fortem” means brave in Latin), where they would spend two hours each Saturday and Sunday to mentor young women in Nigeria through the power of sport. She hopes mentees will learn how to overcome adversity, have self-respect, build leadership skills and embrace diversity in their home country.

"In the end, we want them to leave with a mind that has not been lost, to believe they can be whatever or whoever they want to be in life, without any hindrances,” Chisom said.

During her time with FOX Sports through the GSMP, Chisom said she’s noticed a common thread in everyone she’s met: a support system that helped them build plans at a very young age. She now carries a desire to ensure her children, nephews, nieces and others in Nigeria have that too.

“It’s a new burden for me now.”