Oregon's 'The Sports Bra' bar goes nationwide, expanding women's sports viewing

Jenny Nguyen owns The Sports Bra in Portland, Oregon. (Credit: Dorothy Wang)

Just two years after opening, an Oregon bar, dedicated to showing only women's sports, announced plans this week to go nationwide through a franchise model.

"The Sports Bra" opened in 2022 in Northeast Portland with a "mission to make great food and delicious drinks, and provide a space that supports, empowers, and promotes girls and women in sports and in the community."

"When I first set out on this journey to open up, I had no idea the impact it would have on so many so quickly," Owner Jenny Nguyen said in a 2022 interview with FOX TV Stations. "And we are just getting started."

"Things have happened at light speed compared to what my forecast was," Nguyen recently told The Associated Press. "This tiny spot that I built for my friends and I to watch games and give female athletes their flowers means so much more. And not just to me, but to a lot of people."

RELATED: ‘The Sports Bra’: Bar showing only women’s sports opens

Under the plan, bars and entrepreneurs elsewhere will be able to apply to use The Sports Bra brand for their franchises. Nguyen is open to working with people who already have a physical space, as well as those who may only have a business plan. What matters, she said, is that the potential future partners share The Sports Bra’s values.

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Photos show the inside of The Sports Bra.  (Shannon Dupre)

The expansion will be boosted by funding from a foundation created by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is married to tennis legend Serena Williams. Nguyen said she already has received hundreds of inquiries.

Interest in women's sports is at an all-time high, helped by Clark's exploits this year, when she shattered all-time NCAA scoring records for women and men. The championship game between Iowa and South Carolina on April 7 drew 18.9 million viewers on average, surpassing the audience for the men’s title match for the first time.

A week later a record 2.45 million viewers on average tuned in to the WNBA draft to watch as Clark went to the Indiana Fever as the No. 1 pick. This week it was reported that she was set to sign a $28 million deal with Nike that would be the richest sponsorship contract for a women’s basketball player.

The rise in interest is not just for women's basketball, but other sports as well. The 2023 Women’s World Cup reported record attendance with nearly 2 million fans. A University of Nebraska volleyball game played in a football stadium drew more than 92,000 people last August, a world record for largest attendance at a women’s sporting event.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.