home AFLW, Women in Sport Media Inside the Playbook, with Gemma Bastiani

Inside the Playbook, with Gemma Bastiani

Siren intern Pyper Denneman speaks to Siren Sport co-founder Gemma Bastiani to reflect on all she’s achieved covering the AFLW.

After the conclusion of AFLW Season 8, I had the opportunity to sit down with Gemma Bastiani, Siren Sport co-founder and AFLW analyst renowned for her expertise in the field of sports media. Our conversation delved into her remarkable media journey and the valuable insights she had for aspiring individuals like myself looking to carve a path in sports media.

Training: Laying the Foundation

Gemma’s path into the sports media industry was unconventional, initially starting as a music journalist. She underscored the importance of passion and practice, highlighting her immersion in football analysis through platforms like ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), which played a pivotal role in building her brand and eventual success.

“I used to live tweet games on X [Twitter] for fun.” She said.

Making the most of developing the Siren Sport platform and lots of downtime in the pandemic, Gemma got to work flexing her storytelling muscle. Collaborating with fellow Siren co-founder, Kirby Fenwick on a three-part feature on the development of women’s footy in Queensland, showcasing local footy pathways and the media’s role in amplifying their impact was one example of the ambitious projects Gemma took on to create a space for her work and voice.

“We’re in lockdown. We don’t have work.” Gemma reflects. “Let’s do this thing that we’ve always wanted to do.”

Gemma’s journey into football analysis is a testament to the power of self-teaching and relentless dedication. It’s an approach that mirrors that of an athlete, letting her craft speak for itself as she honed her skills and expanded her reach.

Game Day Warm Up: Fine-Tuning Skills

Gemma’s talents soon garnered attention, leading to opportunities to further refine her content creation skills. After co-founding Siren Sport, Gemma wrote for the Sydney Swans website, ABC Sport and started to get involved with commentary. Despite the dominance of ex-AFL players in the media landscape at the time, Gemma’s unique perspective as a sports consumer set her apart. Drawing from her background in music journalism, she brought refreshing honesty and clarity to her work. 

“I didn’t play footy really, like properly, I haven’t coached so I’ve not been in that club environment with the like, club lingo. So I’m coming at it from a fan perspective, and I’m explaining it in the way that I understand best. So that’s maybe why it’s relatable.”

The Big Dance: Mastering the Game

Gemma’s expertise in game analysis and statistics is evident in her work, resonating with fans for its clarity and depth. Her content caters to both hardcore footy enthusiasts and casual fans, striking a balance between accessibility and complexity. Embracing various roles such as freelancing for the AFL covering the AFLW, being an analyst, statistician and commentator for other outlets, Gemma ensures her messaging remains consistent, catering to diverse audiences with different consumption preferences.

“I want to talk about, you know, why a team won, like what specific things they do.”

Post-Game Analysis

Reflecting on the past year, Gemma highlighted the unprecedented growth and excellence witnessed in AFLW. “It’s the best season we have had” she said.

The increased talent pool, driven by academy systems, promises an exciting future for the sport. The recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in AFLW marks a significant milestone, granting players more freedom in contract lengths and reshaping club dynamics.

In the realm of sports media, Gemma’s advice rings true: remain open-minded, maximise opportunities, and cultivate a personal brand aligned with your niche. For Gemma, that niche is analysis.

“Building a personal brand of what you do and what your niche is, can actually go a really long way toward finding work and being known when you do pitch, because the reality is sport is a lot like music it’s word of mouth.”

A Bright Future

As we look to the future for the continued development of this exciting competition, we’ll also be following Gemma’s journey in AFLW coverage, whether in TV commentary or providing in-depth analysis within club settings, her trajectory promises to be extraordinary and we can’t wait to see what else she is able to contribute to the sports media space with her unique skills and perspective.

One thought on “Inside the Playbook, with Gemma Bastiani

  1. A remarkably talented woman. Has a great instinct coupled with insightful and silky storytelling. Take notice everyone – she has more to give.

    Great article – Pyper

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