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Reddit co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Announces Women’s-Only Track Meet With Largest Prize Purse In History

"This is not because it feels good. It’s because I think these women are amazing...fans are going to show up in a big way and be really excited to support it”

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Women’s sport has never been more in demand than right now.

Revenue from women’s elite sports has nearly doubled in the last two years and is forecasted to surpass the billion-dollar barrier, reaching $1.3 billion this year

Women’s sports are growing, people are watching, and entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian is counting on that. The Reddit co-founder and husband of Serena Williams recently announced that his venture capital firm Seven Seven Six will be hosting a new women’s-only track meet in September, the 776 Invitational.

Although details on the meet are sparse, one key particular has been revealed: the prize purse.

The event has promised the largest prize purse ever for a women’s-only competition. The event winners will take home $60,000, second place will earn $25,000, and third place will win $10,000.

This week, Ohanian said in a conversation with sprinter and two-time Olympic medalist Gabby Thomas, who is also a part of the 776 Invitational project, that the main focus of the event was to provide the largest prize purse in history for a women’s track and field event.

Reddit co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Announces Women's-Only Track Meet With Largest Prize Purse In History 1

“Why? Because one, I was shocked when I found out what the current highest one was [$30,000 for a final event in the Diamond League], he said.

“And looking at the existing professional infrastructure, I did some work, and then I just started DM’ing a bunch of track athletes. I was like, ‘Hey, do you mind getting on the phone so I can learn?’ That’s when I realized how low the prize money was and how low the coverage was, and how difficult it was to even watch.”

Ohanian connected with Thomas, and 776 Invitational was born.

Reddit co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Announces Women's-Only Track Meet With Largest Prize Purse In History 2
Photo Credit: Jimmy Su

“Track and field is a very underfunded sport, especially not in Olympics years, so I do think having that additional resource will mean a lot to the athletes and will help a lot of people get into the sport and stay in the sport which ultimately creates a better product,” Thomas said in an interview with ESPN.

“A lot of fans want to see us run,” she continued, “they want to see us compete, they want to be excited, they want to follow our journeys, but when you’re not being compensated for your hard work, it’s hard to make that happen. So, I think this will really change the trajectory of our sport.”

Details on the event’s location and committed athletes are expected to be announced prior to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The event is currently being held as a one-off. However, should it prove successful, we could see future editions.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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