Kudos to Caroline Fitzgerald, a student in the MS in Global Sport program at the Tisch Institute, for being accepted into the Female Founder Fellowship program! The NYU Entrepreneurial Institute initiative provides training, mentorship, networking, and funding resources to entrepreneurs who advance gender equity in their business. Fitzgerald is the founder of GOALS, the first-ever sponsorship consultancy solely focused on bringing more investment into women’s sports.
Growing up in a large tight-knit family where sports was a central fixture, the Pittsburgh native created her startup venture during the pandemic. Citing pay gaps on and off the field for women’s sports, lower endorsements, poorer facilities, and lack of media coverage, Fitzgerald said, “Women’s sports receive less than 1% of global sponsorship dollars, despite research that shows that sponsors of women’s sports teams have better returns on their investments than sponsors of men’s sports teams. My goal is to increase that percentage and move that needle.”
An avid basketball player, Fitzgerald was largely inspired by the WNBA basketball season of summer 2020 that was dedicated to Black Lives Matter. “In a season where the WNBA demonstrated unprecedented political and social activism, they had record-breaking viewership, sponsorship, and merchandise sales,” Fitzgerald stated. “What I took away from that was that it’s simply good for business for women athletes to lean into their inherent nature as activists.”
Fitzgerald promotes the idea that it is good business to invest in women’s sports through her GOALS social media channels, weekly sports business newsletter, podcast “The Business Case For Women’s Sports,” and by working directly with organizations in the women's sports space to develop strategic brand partnerships and sponsorships. In the brief time since she began her company, she has signed on several professional sports clients, including the women’s ice hockey teams, Metropolitan Riveters, Boston Pride, and Toronto Six; and the nonprofit, Baseball for All.
Prior to creating GOALS, Fitzgerald worked for more than a decade as a marketing and sales professional across various industries, most recently as the senior vice president of partnerships at P3R and the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. She attended Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University, where she earned dual undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Women/Gender Studies.
Fitzgerald enrolled at the Tisch Institute because of its wonderful reputation, incredible faculty, and New York City location. “I wanted to approach my passion as an expert, I want to get every bit of knowledge I can about the women’s sports industry,” she said. “I knew I would be taught by the brightest minds in sports and that I could customize my education to focus on women’s sports and feminism.”