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Key Points for Sarah Walsh

  • Sarah Walsh, an ex-professional athlete with 70 caps and 35 goals for Australia, left her mark in major tournaments including the 2004 Olympics and 2007 FIFA World Cup.
  • Rising from the Australian League to the United States Women’s League, she captained Western Sydney Wanderers after a storied playing career.
  • Transitioning to a sports executive, commentator, and speaker, she champions social change, equity, high performance, and innovation.
  • As Head of Women’s Football at Football Australia, she spearheaded the Matildas' triumphant home World Cup, unlocking a $557M investment, earning accolades as one of News Corp's 100 most influential women in sport.

Topics for Sarah Walsh

  • Breaking new ground: When Australia fell in love with the Matildas
    In 2023 even before the Matildas reached the semi-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup they had broken all of the records. They achieved record TV viewership, record match attendance, record merchandise sales, and a record number of kilometres covered by a single player, Katrina Gorry in the midfield. It was also a record that Katrina Gorry was a new mum returning to play professionally, enabled by an industry leading parental policy. Australian politicians took to social media to be associated with the team. The Minister for Defence announced that his portfolio could be managed by Matildas Goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. The Minister for Sport declared she would like to be the Minister for the Matildas. Sam Kerr's calf made record headlines. We saw whole flights of passengers watching in-flight entertainment - the Matildas penalty kick-out against France in the Quarter Finals. Several millions of fans in stadiums and fan sites around Australia celebrated at the Cortnee Vine goal that sealed the record performance of any Australian national team at a FIFA World Cup. And finally, at the end of the journey, even though the team didn't take home the silverware, they delivered a win for women and girls across all sports, attracting a further $200M from the government to improve community facilities.
    So what was the on and off-field strategy, operational and commercial innovation around the Matildas that managed to capture the hearts and minds of over 40% of Australians? And what changes now in the industry of sport, broadcast, media, corporate and broader society as a result of Australia falling in love with the Matildas?
    As the Head of Women's Football in Australia and a former Matilda (played from 2004-2012), Sarah shares the incredible story that led to record broadcast and engagement metrics for any Australian sports team ever, men's or women's. Sarah also looks at the innovation around the Matildas that managed to create a 5x multiplier in brand value, and questions what changes now as a result of Australia falling in love with the Matildas.

Testimonials for Sarah Walsh