Sports has always been an patriarchy, be it cricket, football or whatever. It has always been the men on your TV screens giving and sharing their expert views about the games. But now its a topsy turvy time for sports shows. The men in the grey suits are now slowly being edged out of the screen by young gorgeous women with eye catching outfits.
It isn’t an easy task for a woman to survive in the high adrenaline world of sports. The toughest part for them is to make the people see beyond stereotypes and make them realise that women are not used only as a symbol of grace and glamour. When Mandira Bedi, the pioneer of lady presenters, took the seat besides the giants of the game, her apparel was the centre of discussion than her knowledge in sports.
Hit the remote and you might catch Mayanti Langer, one of the stars of this new brigade of sports presenters. She has now become quite a familiar face after presenting an array of sporting tournaments. Kicking off with the ONGC cup, she now has a string of big leagues under her belt. You might have seen her on the screens during the FIH Hockey World Cup and even the FIFA Football World Cup. She has also hit the running tracks for The Asian and Commonwealth games. Hosting the Olympics for ESPN and STAR was the just the perfect icing on the cake for her.
You might be shocked after the revelation that this girl played football for the Super Soccer Academy of Delhi and also provided a helping hand to successfully coordinate the league. For Mayanti, her frantic hours of travelling and pressure to look great all the time was quite a resilient challenge, but her keeda for sports helped her to surpass all the odds.
It all started with the Neo Sports’s Tour Diaries when this Bong girl came into the world of sports. This Get Gorgeous winner quickly graduated to host the Extra Innings T20 show in Set Max. She has made Bret Lee belt out a song and even coaxed Sunil Gavaskar into doing a ramp walk. Archana Vijaya definitely added a tadka to the game with her show Cricket Tadka Marke.
Another veteran of the sporty female crew is Shibani Dandekar who started out as a television anchor in American television. Being a model and singer, she had formed a band, DMajor, with her siblings long before she stepped into the arena of sports. The lively twosome are currently holding the fort on Set Max’s extra innings T20 and have added a dash of glamour to the lively action of the IPL.
Let’s get one thing straight away. These women were not hired to share their sporting expertise. They were hired to add a generous splash of glamour to high profile sporting events. The qualification required were high looks quotient and vivacious personality. Don’t expect to catch them on screen in a tracksuit or anything remotely sporty. Be it in the studios or on the field, they will be dressed to the nines in the haute little numbers.
Some TV channels argued that introduction of women presenters has helped them to draw more women viewers. While some others said that it was a natural stage in the evolution of sports broadcasting in the country. Alok Guha, supervising producer of Sony said, “Women are best suited for the role. They can speak a tongue without intricate technicalities and are more comprehensive to the average audience”
Its a fact that an overwhelming percentage of sports viewers are men. Thus, to approach sports with a human interest angle and explore its more buoyant side could have been the thought that struck the minds of show producers. These great looking girls have a special appeal for the male audiences and their fan base on social media will attest to this fact.
The art to talk without inhibitions and urge to try something new is what lies behind the presenter’s desk. Clearly, what was once man’s fortress is fast becoming a woman’s show ground. Girl power is scoring big as glamorous, young women are spicing up sports shows and are giving us the lowdown from sporting arenas all around the world in their infectiously bubbly tone.