SAWSports Spotlight: Chandrima Chatterjee

One of the goals I have with SAWSports is to get folks to learn about other South Asian women in the sporting industry. Chandrima Chatterjee is one of those individuals that has herself submerged in many areas of the industry. She’s doing some pretty amazing things that I want all of you to know about. Here’s more on Chandrima…

ChandrimaHSChandrima Chatterjee, co-founder and director of Street Soccer Philadelphia, is a sports and social change program developer, event manager, promoter, digital media specialist and curator. She is the social media director and interim communications manager of Street Soccer USA. Her background in public health, biology and community management for various political campaigns across the nation, contribute to her unique ability to assess and address issues that global and national nonprofits face in a methodical manner. She has worked with sports for social change NGOs across the world. She is also occasional writer for Brown Girl Magazine, Corner of the Galaxy and editor/director/writer/photographer for Women United FC, a women’s media group covering soccer in North America and beyond. Her ultimate goal is to bridge the gap between the sports outreach/NGO space and the professional sports networks. By working together, an optimal sustainable and accessible social change and growth environment can be achieved.

Asked, how did you get to where you are today?

It was one fortuitous evening while in graduate school that I happened to stumble upon a move called Kickin It. It showed a world where sports had the power to impact poverty, homelessness, educational deficits, women’s and girls’ rights, barriers to health, child marriage and human trafficking, all over the globe. It was love at first sight. I signed up for the 2009 Homeless World Cup in Milan, Italy as an international volunteer the next day, which happened to be their final day of applications. It was meant to be. I have never looked back. The rest has really been constant networking, raising social awareness in various mediums and working with as many organizations as possible to constantly challenge myself and grow by learning from others. We have so much to offer each other as a global community. What’s been lacking has been the constant communication, but that is slowly changing.

Chandrima shared a recent story of how her work has impacted the industry.

There’s a huge need to connect athletes, celebrities and other influencers to causes and organizations that they care about and have a direct personal connection to. Often they are unable to do the research on their own, or through their agents to find authentic and credible matches. By integrating a real interest, even if it’s just a seed in their mind that hasn’t yet taken shape, into a campaign they can get a true handle on, the impact is far greater than if you force an unnatural connection. Often the larger NGOs get more than their share of promotions and awareness campaigns, but a lot of the amazing work that’s being done around the world is by smaller non-profits that focus exclusively on programing and not on PR. That means there are tons of connections that can still be made, and millions of people who can still be empowered. C2 Media, which I founded last year, is basically about transforming this process into one that both parties feel empowered by, while teaching tools that are translatable to post-campaign situations. Event promotions, management, fundraising and social media for social good are the heart of what I do daily. Connecting the smsports powerhouse Tagboard to Street Soccer USA, and watching people’s hearts uplifted at SSUSA events is one of the most recent highlights of this summer. Social media is a tool for a lot of the softer, but much-needed social work, and it’s helped bring our SSUSA community (which spans across the country in 16 cities) together. Our players often use social media to reach out, check in, ask for help and support. It’s never going to replace a face-to-face exchange, but it is the next best thing. And being there for each other no matter what is what I think makes SSUSA’s social media setup different. There’s a huge potential out there for social media networks as a tool for mental health support. We’ve barely hit the tip of the iceberg.

Since Chandrima is an avid soccer fan and does a lot of work in this space I asked what her thoughts were on the media coverage for the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Coverage in the U.S. of the 2015 Women’s World Cup was phenomenal. It was a real convergence of networks, traditional media, innovative social media, star quality players, powerful underdog team stories and the ratings to boot a win for the USWNT. The TV ratings for the WWC2015 broke records for soccer of either gender in the U.S. and better than ever in Japan, Canada and France. Fox was the broadcaster for the Women’s World Cup, and set a record for the most-watched soccer match in the U.S., men or women, with the USA’s 5-2 win over Japan in the final. The match posted a prodigious 12.9 household rating/share with 25.4 million viewers, and peaked at 30.9 million. EspnW pulled a record 8.1 million unique visitors in April and, almost matched it in the traditionally slow months of June (7.8) and July (7.4). It led to 65 million other unique June visitors to the rest of ESPN digital, which almost exclusively covers men’s sports.

Though these are positive indicators, there’s still a long way to go: continued growth in attendance, media coverage and corporate sponsorship will all play crucial roles in the trajectory of women’s sports coverage in the U.S. where media coverage of women’s sports runs between 2 to 4 percent of total media sports coverage. There’s a lot of work to be done, and half the battle is continuing that WWC high from the mid-summer, competing with the male-dominated sports coverage makes it all too easy for the casual fan to overlook women’s soccer for another four years. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. But it means keeping it in the conversation and mainstream media.

Lastly, I asked her to tell me more about Women United FC.

I’m the current director and editor of Women United FC, dubbed WUFC 2.0. Basically Women United FC began as a forum for conversation, learning, promoting and discussing the beautiful game of soccer for all women, and has been transforming into both a platform for fans of the game and for aspiring media professionals to practice their craft. All soccer topics are on the table. All leagues are open to discuss. We’ve covered MLS, WWC, EPL, USOC, Politics & Soccer, International Players, Female Soccer Players, Fan Profiles and we’re just getting started! We’re a fun group too – hosting events around the country that will bring together the WUFC community and the soccer world around us. WUFC 2.0 is one of the many ventures I’ve chosen to promote and work with from the inside-out. And yes, the obvious question is when will you start promoting the Women’s Game – my answer is, as soon as we can recruit women who are ready to create content around it!

Thank you Chandrima for taking the time and telling us about your story, your love for soccer and more! Follow her on Twitter at @chandrimatweets.

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