Sportsnet and Ryerson University Partner to Launch the Sportsnet Diversity and Gender Equity Initiative

–  Partnership with FCAD sees Sportsnet invest $100,000 in scholarships and workshops to promote diversity and inclusion in Sport Media program –

TORONTO (January 30, 2020) Teaming up to champion diversity and inclusion in sports media, Sportsnet and Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communications & Design, FCAD, have announced the Sportsnet Diversity and Gender Equity Initiative, set to launch for the Fall 2020 semester. 

The Sportsnet Diversity and Gender Equity Initiative empowers students from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in sport media. Sportsnet has committed $100,000 to FCAD’s Sport Media program to provide scholarships to four students, plus year-round diversity workshops at the university’s Global Experience Sport Lab (GXS). The scholarships will be awarded to two high-performing third-year students and two students entering the program who identify as a woman, Indigenous, and/or a member of an equity-seeking group. 

As part of the partnership, Sportsnet will also provide resources and mentoring opportunities to foster a culture of diversity in the workplace for Sport Media students. 

“Sportsnet is dedicated to cultivating a new generation of media professionals that reflects Canada’s diversity,” said Bart Yabsley, President, Sportsnet. “The Sportsnet Diversity & Gender Equity Initiative embodies the core values and identity we strive towards as a network and media leader in Canada. We are tremendously excited to work with Ryerson to offer this program to Sport Media students.” 

“It’s through important partnerships like this with Sportsnet that enable us to provide a unique program centered on diversity and inclusion to prepare students to become tomorrow’s changemakers and thought leaders,” said Charles Falzon, Dean of FCAD at Ryerson.

“At FCAD, we foster a community for women and men to come together and engage in activities and discussions related to gender equity and diversity in sport media,” said Laurel Walzak, Director, GXS and Assistant Professor of Sport Media at FCAD. 

As Canada’s #1 sports network, Sportsnet is committed to the unification of diverse communities across the country through the power of sport. In addition to the national production of Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Editionfor the past six seasons, Sportsnet has been a key contributor to the Blue Jays: Pinoy Edition broadcasts on OMNI Television and the historic NHL broadcasts in Plains Cree on APTN. 

Based on 70 years of excellence and renown, FCAD at Ryerson is recognized as a prominent thought leader and educator in media, design and the creative industries with strong links to influencers and strategic partners from around the world.

About Sportsnet

Sportsnet is Canada’s #1 sports network. Uniting Canadians through sport, Sportsnet’s multimedia offerings include Sportsnet (consisting of 4 regional channels: East, Ontario, West, and Pacific), Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet World, the Sportsnet Radio Network,, Sportsnet NOW, SN NOW+, the Sportsnet app, and podcasts. Sportsnet is the official Canadian NHL national multiplatform rights holder, and is the regional broadcaster for the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Sportsnet also has extensive coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors, as well as NBA, MLB, Grand Slam of Curling, Rogers Cup, CHL, IndyCar, WWE, Premier League, and FA Cup. Sportsnet is part of Rogers Media, which is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX, NYSE: RCI). Visit

About FCAD at Ryerson University

FCAD is an impactful education hub and innovation ecosystem at the heart of Canada's media, design and creative industries. It is grounded in Canadian values but with a truly international perspective and scope. It is home to many of Canada's top schools and programs in their field and recognized as a leading institution around the world. The GXS Lab is the connection between scholarly research and industry practice in sport and sport media that focuses on the intersection between globalization, digitization and commercialization.

Media Contacts

Sportsnet - Meghann Cox,, 416.258.3296

FCAD at Ryerson – Sarah Twomey,, 416-979-5000 x7924

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The Global Experiential Sport Lab at Ryerson University partners with She’s4Sports to move the dial on issues that impact women in sport

September 05, 2019


"Out on Air"

Additional Information

In partnership with the Global Experiential Sport Lab and exeQutive, the forum for Toronto's LGBTQ leaders, we are proud to present this discussion on LGBTQ+ awareness and visibility in sport media and how we can begin to challenge and address stigma in the industry. 

The Panel

Devin Heroux  has been a journalist and reporter with CBC Radio Canada for over 10 years. He has been a cross platform contributor covering many sports, including curling, most recently with CBC Sports for the World Youth Olympic Games of 2020 in Switzerland.

Anastasia Bucsis is a two time (2010 and 2014) Olympian in the sport of Long Track Speed Skating. She is currently the on air host of the CBC Sports podcast Player's Own Voice,  bringing her unique backstory and voice to conversations with high performance athletes, exploring their stories and issues.

Scott MacArthur is a multi-platform media contributor working in the Sport media industry for close to two decades. He has worked as a reporter, on air anchor,  host and play by play announcer at various media outlets including Rogers TV, Chum Radio, TSN, and Bell Media. Scott can currently be found at Sportsnet 590 The Fan as host of their Morning Sports Talk Radio show Lead Off with Ashley, Ziggy and Scotty Mac.

Get your ticket/s

Register for Free, Click on Link Below

Shes'4Sports and GXSLab present Be Bold 2020 Speaker Series.

 Kicked off on Jan 16/20 with four exceptional sports professionals:

  • Dr. Jen Welter, First Female Coach in NFL
  • Brittni Donaldson, Youngest Assistant Coach Toronto Raptors
  •  Kayla Alexander, Chicago Sky Player, WNBA
  • Shireen Ahmed, award-winning Sports Activist focusing on Muslim women in spor


Nominated for Ryerson University: Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Employee Award

November 6, 2019

Our Founder and Director of the Global Experiential Sport Lab, Laurel Walzak, has been nominated for the  Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Employee Award.  

"Alan Shepard was provost and vice-president, academic of Ryerson from 2007 until 2012, and a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion. OVPECI is proud to sponsor the Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Employee Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals or teams/committees who advance EDI through their work and/or their volunteer contributions in the Ryerson community.

  • Champion and demonstrate behaviours reflecting equity, diversity and inclusion - serves on departmental, faculty, and/or university committees and champions EDI; demonstrates inclusive leadership; promotes the importance of EDI.

  • Identify and address systemic barriers to full participation in university life - develops, supports, and/or implements administrative and organizational structures to coordinate and monitor EDI progress; institutionalizes systemic processes that minimize and/or eliminate barriers to EDI; champions policies and/or practices to make the learning environment more inclusive, equitable and accessible.

  • Develop innovative programs that enhance Ryerson’s ability to facilitate full participation - infuses EDI into curriculum and promotes pedagogical strategies that encourage student involvement and respect for diverse perspectives; recruits, hires, retains, and promotes employees who will enhance EDI across the university; provides professional development activities that assist employees in the understanding of their own and other cultures.

  • Serve and provide access and opportunities to underrepresented students, faculty and/or staff - serves diverse demographic populations to increase access and participation in related programs; recruits and retains students from diverse backgrounds; creates and/or implements programs and activities to foster an inclusive campus environment". (Source World Wide Web:

Laurel Walzak, GXSLab

Laurel Walzak, GXSLab



AnnouNCING Student Leadership Team

GXSLab Partners with She's4Sports

Sept 5, 2019


The Global Experiential Sport Lab at Ryerson University partners with She’s4Sports to move the dial on issues that impact women in sport.


TORONTO, September 5, 2019 – The Global Experiential Sport Lab (GXSLab), based at Ryerson University’s FCAD, the Faculty of Communication and Design, is teaming up with She’s4Sports, an organization that focuses on giving women a larger voice in sports. 

Through the GXSLab,both organizations will collaborate to amplify the contributions of women in sport and address gender diversity and barriers women and girls face in sport. The Own It event, which is the first initiative led by the two organizations, kicks off on September 17 at Ryerson and will highlight the achievements of six diverse female entrepreneurs in sport.

“The GXS Lab is a natural fit with She’s4Sports, as it focuses on bridging the gap between scholars, students, faculty and industry, to address issues and trends that impact the ever-evolving sport and sport media industry. This includes diversity and issues that impact women and girls with the goal to mobilize change and eventually achieve equitable opportunities for women and girls to participate in sports on all levels,” says Laurel Walzak, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University, RTA School of Media, Sport Media, and Director of the GXSLab.

Both organizations will work together to create event programming and digital content to engage the students, academic and sports communities on gender diversity in sport and develop opportunities for female students at Ryerson to participate in the sports industry through industry mentorship,” says Ainka Jess, Founder She’s4Sports. “This partnership will not only create a safe space for women to come together to discuss sports but will transform the narrative and even the playing field for women and girls to thrive in sports without barriers.” 

The GXSLab is housed at FCAD’s Catalyst, a 5,000 square foot interdisciplinary research hub, home to 20 labs and centres with a mission is to promote and support the Faculty’s SRC. 

The Global Experiential Sport Lab (GXSLab)
The GXSLab is the connection between scholarly research and industry practice in sport and sport media. GXS focuses on the intersection between Globalization; Digitization; and Commercialization. Under the GXS Lab’s Gender in Sport platform, it’s GXS Women in Sport is an initiative and a community for women and men to come together and engage in activities and discussions related to gender inequities in sport, sport media and sport business. The GXSLab is physically based at Ryerson’s downtown Toronto campus within the Catalyst, FCAD’s interdisciplinary research hub.

She’s4Sports is a Toronto-based digital and events platform that brings women together to have a larger voice in sports. The network represents a community of over 3000 passionate women and men who want to amplify and celebrate the contributions of women in sports. 

FCAD at Ryerson University
Ryerson FCAD is an impactful education hub and innovation ecosystem at the heart of Canada's media design and creative industries. It is grounded in Canadian values but with a truly international perspective and scope. It is home to many of Canada's top schools and programs in their field and recognized as a leading institution around the world.



Laurel Walzak, Assistant Professor

Ryerson University, RTA School of Media, Sport Media 

Director, The Global Experiential Sport Lab (GXSLab) 

Ainka Jess, Founder




Laurel Walzak



  • Hockey & Basketball
  • Gender Equity & Inclusion in Sport 
  • Women in Sport  
  • Sport Business
  • Professional Sport
  • Sport Governance
  • Sport Media



--ON SPORT MEDIA: "It’s understanding the fan and how to monetize the viewing consumption experience is exactly what everyone is trying to figure out," said Walzak.

--ON SPORT SPONSORSHIP: "In the end, it’s likely McDonald’s decided it needed to change its overall marketing strategy and the Olympics were no longer a good fit. The Olympic brand, however, still faces its own challenges", Walzak wrote.

--ON HOCKEY SPONSORSHIP: We're talking multi-million [dollar investment]. We're not talking about some free apparel and some free running shoes here and there, said Walzak, when referring to women's hockey (CBC Sports Jamie Strashin Nov. 18, 2019)

--ON BODYBUILDING: “Don’t hesitate – sometimes women are afraid to go into the weight room because it’s predominantly men in there, but I can tell you from experience that they are usually helpful and supportive,” she says. “I recommend working with a trainer or using a buddy system with a friend, and celebrate every milestone. And it doesn’t matter your shape or size because when you are physically strong, you go through your life also feeling strong and confident, said Walzak.


1. CBC News Nowhere to go: Girls can still dream in wake of CWHL's collapse, just not too big | CBC Sports by Jamie Strashi

2. CTV News, October 8, 2019, NBA and China

3. Full Stream Ahead by Jeff Hamilton, Winnipeg Free Press Laurel's opinion on Broadcast and Streaming Sports   "It’s about trying to get a piece of a very lucrative pie that comes with owning the streaming rights for live sports," said Laurel Walzak, an assistant professor who specializes in sports media at the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University in Toronto.

4. The Olympic-McDonald’s breakup: It’s not you, it’s us, by L. Walzak via The Conversation

5. Business of the Mayweather vs. McGregor Mega Fight (CBC Radio Interviews)

6. Laurel's Expertise Broadcast and Streaming Sports Article 

7. Laurel's Opinion - Mayweather vs. McGregor "Mega Fight" August 25, 2017

8. Laurel's Opinion  - Cam Newton comment shines light on women's struggles in sports reporting via @torontostar  October 5, 2017 by Maija Kappler

9. China Europe International Business School, CEIBS, Shanghai, China

10. WiSE

11. DAIS/Bell Media/ Ryerson

12. Business & Burn Out 

13. 500 Women Are Transforming Canada's Economic Strengths

1. International Women's Day


June 5, 2018 

Video gamers may soon be paid more than pro athletes co-authored with Dr. Louis-Etienne Dubois, Assistant Professor, Ryerson University

February 9, 2018

via Washington Post Olympic Athlete's Love McDonald's.  But its role in PyeongChang will be the smallest in decades.

October 5, 2017 

Via Toronto Star Article: Cam Newton comment shines light on women's struggles in sports reporting by Maija Kappler (opinion L. Walzak) 

September 20, 2017

Jay Onrait inspires Ryerson’s first sport media generation

August 26, 2017

Bars hope to Cash in on Mayweather and McGregor fight, Walzak weighs in

August 25, 2017  

Tune in to learn what Laurel Walzak thinks about the Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregar "Mega Fight" on CBC Radio

Big money fight

SCHEDULE - August 25, 2017  6am to 9am EST

5:45  Toronto--Metro Morning  Matt Galloway 

6:10  LONDON - London Morning  Host: Rebecca Zandbergen     

6:20    Ottawa - Ottawa Morning Hallie Cotnam

6:50    Cape Breton (Sydney) - Steve Sutherland

7:20  Winnipeg - Information Radio  Marcy Markusa 

7:40  Windsor - Windsor Morning  Tony Doucette 

7:50  Ontario AM  Wei Chen 

8:00  Whitehorse - A New Day  Sandi Coleman 

8:10    Calgary--The Eyeopener  David Gray      

8:30    Prince George / Prince Rupert - Daybreak North  Hosts: Robert Doane (PG) Carolina DeRyk 

8:40    Regina - The Morning Edition  Host: Sheila Cole

8:50  Vancouver - The Early Edition  Rick Cluff 

July 11, 2017

The Conversation - McDonald's and the Olympics by Laurel Walzak

March 8, 2017 

What does international women's day mean to you?