This article was originally published in ToyNews on 5/18/2021 by Robert Hutchins.
An American toy company is on a mission to not only change the face of sports toys but also the narrative around women’s sports with the launch of a new series of talking plush toys dedicated to some of the country’s biggest names in the genre.
Sports Bigs has made no secret of its desire to disrupt the $1.25 billion US plush toy industry with a new host of celebrity-inspired plush toys, celebrating only women’s sports. It’s part of the firm’s bigger plan to ‘reveal the true potential of the marketability of women sports stars.’
“In the past, if you were an athlete in girls’ and women’s sports, you didn’t have many visible role models. And you certainly didn’t have a talking sports action toy that encouraged you to use your own power and voice while training like a pro athlete,” said founder Pam Kosanke, a six-time competitor in world championships across three different sports, who is also a mom and a professional marketer.
“This changes all that, and so much more.”
Sport Bigs has teamed up with three of America’s biggest women’s sports legends, including five-time WNBA champion, basketball all-star and current Minnesota Lynx assistant coach Rebekkah Brunson; professional football legend and current football commentator and analyst Lori Lindsey; and four-time world champion, multi-gold medalist and current UCLA softball head coach Lisa Fernandez.
Through their partnerships, each have provided their likenesses and voices to the first round of Sport Bigs. Over time, the plan is to build out the roster to include more women’s sports personalities over time.
“When I think about the 25th anniversary of the WNBA, I can’t help but think about how long the league has been around, but also how young it is,” said Brunson. “Now that I’m in a position to inspire young girls and empower them to be their authentic selves, I wish that I’d had something that represented me when I was a child – something that I could play with that showed strength and power, and wasn’t packaged as male.
“Sport Bigs are so exciting because they fill that space. They inspire young girls and allow young people to imagine strong, powerful women who dream of what they can be, and what the world should look like. They’re about being big, speaking big, acting big and living big.”
To support its bigger goals around changing the women’s sports landscape, Sport Bigs will funnel portions of proceeds from the toys into women’s sport sponsorships, athlete compensation and additional grassroots efforts.
“As a kid, I was starved for trading cards, memorabilia or toys that looked like me,” said Kosanke. “Today you have a few special-edition toys – used as one-off stunts – that come across as wimpy and barely marketed. Nothing really comes close to respecting the breadth of sizes, shapes and big-time attitudes of real athletes in women’s sports.
“This toy line is a first in the market and necessary for all ages to truly celebrate big athlete identities in women’s sports.”