Speaker Topic

Women’s sports have experienced an unprecedented pace of growth since 2018.  Rather than vying for space within the fiercely competitive and saturated Red Ocean of male-dominated sports, which primarily leverages broadcasting for fan engagement and revenue generation, there lies a monumental opportunity to cultivate a Blue Ocean market —a new, uncharted territory ripe with potential for women's sports.

This demands a paradigm shift from conventional models to differentiate professional women's sports and establish a unique value proposition that appeals directly to a largely untapped, digitally savvy, and socially conscious audience.

Developing a tailored business model  

The Blue Ocean opportunity of women sports calls for a reimaged model that can capitalize on the distinct characteristics of professional women's sports fans prioritizing three key pillars:

1. Digital vs. Traditional Media

Female athletes consistently surpass their male counterparts in social media engagement highlighting an opportunity to expand reach and engagement beyond traditional broadcasting. This approach aligns with the consumption patterns of modern fans and leads to increased attendance, sponsorships, and traditional media coverage.

2. Innovation vs. Status Quo

There's a need to disrupt the conventional sports market by exploring new avenues for distribution, fan experiences, merchandise, and content that extend to community and social impact. Highlighting stories of teams and athletes that resonate with values of gender equity, diversity, and inclusivity will attract fans seeking meaningful connections.

3. Unconventional vs. Conventional Partnerships

Establishing collaborations with non-traditional investors, brands, and platforms can open new revenue streams and foster a diverse sports ecosystem. Creating unique content and marketing strategies will continue to increase visibility and attract investments, which will also clear the way to broadcasting opportunities.

Adopting a Blue Ocean strategy for professional women's sports in Canada involves creating a new market by redefining sports consumption and engagement, rather than conforming to the existing landscape. This means innovating from within to construct a sports ecosystem that aligns with contemporary societal values and fan expectations.  

By challenging the traditional model, we can paradoxically strengthen our position in it, becoming a symbol of innovation and inclusivity that reshapes the professional sports scene for women in Canada. Taking a Blue Ocean approach to elevate professional women's sports is about creating a new market – rather than fitting into an existing one - and reimagining the essence of sports consumption and engagement in Canada.  

About Isabelle

Isabelle Perreault, with over twenty years of experience in disruption, innovation, and sports management, champions the exploration of the untapped potential in women's sports. She contrasts the declining, traditional business model favoring men's sports with the "blue ocean" opportunities in women's sports, emphasizing its unique investment value in Canada.  

An ex-competitive boxer and mother to three girls – including twins aspiring to play professional soccer, she founded Differly in 2018 to enhance innovation in small to medium-sized businesses across North America, including the sports sector. The company has fueled growth and innovation strategies for entities like the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Ottawa Senators, and Canada Soccer. Isabelle’s pioneering work, including the first digital maturity assessment for the pro sports industry and her new "Innovation as a Service" model, has set new standards in innovation management.  

A dynamic speaker, Isabelle offers rich insights and actionable strategies, underscoring her commitment to redefining professional women's sports through innovation and disruption.

Recent Speaking Engagements

Panelist: Game Changers: North American Women Founders Shaping the Sports Industry

Hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and Invest Ottawa, Isabelle was invited to join a panel of exceptional sports role models including Jayna Hefford, SVP Hockey Operations PWHL and Diana Matheson, Co-Founder and CEO of Project 8, to talk about the future of sports, what is shaping this industry and the important role of diversity and inclusion for the sustained innovation of this sector.

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“Thank you for your participation at our event on October 16 aimed at connecting and inspiring women entrepreneurs in the sports industry. Your journey from a former boxer to the founder of Differly resonated deeply with our audience and your resilience and entrepreneurial spirit are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for being an inspiration to women in the sports industry.”  

His Excellency David Cohen, U.S. Ambassador to Canada

Panel Moderation on Innovation in Action

A panel for the #Hub350 and the Kanata North Business Association providing perspective on driving the innovation economy in Ottawa with Catherine Callary from Ottawa Tourism, Cyril Leeder from the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and Jens-Michael S. with Invest Ottawa

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Speaker at the Annual Conference for Canadian Society of Association Executives

On the topic of Leading Innovation.

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About the author


Differly is a growth and innovation firm focused on helping organizations leverage technology, optimize operations and member experience while increasing their capacity to innovate sustainably for the years to come.  

Differly is known for its unique Innovation as a Service Model, supporting organizations across 4 pillars:

1. Innovation and Transformation
2. Customer and Member Growth
3. Technology and Digital Strategy
4. Change and Organization Readiness

We are a team of senior leaders and hands-on professionals focused on digitization, technology strategy, customer/member experience and change management based in Ottawa with team members across Canada.  

We take a human-centered approach because we fundamentally believe that digital tools and technology do not disrupt, people do.  

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