Gabby Thomas, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian To Launch 776 Invitational – A Women’s-Only Track Event

By Chris Chavez

April 23, 2024

Olympic bronze medalist Gabby Thomas and Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit co-founder who now heads the venture capital firm 776, have announced plans for the 776 Invitational – a women’s-only track event in September.

The announcement came at the TN50: The Business of Women's Sports Summit in New York City on Tuesday. Details of the league were first reported by Sportico.

Here’s what you need to know:

– The meet will have the largest prize purse for a women’s track meet. The winner will take home $60,000. Second place will be awarded $25,000. Third place will earn $10,000. This is more than the Diamond League pays out to their top three at every individual meet. A victory at the Diamond League pays out $10,000. Second place is awarded $6,000. Third place earns $3,500.

– The 776 Invitational website touts the following key points: “1. A track event bringing together the fastest women in the world with the largest purse ever for a female-only track event; 2. A must-attend, must-watch entertainment event that will challenge the convention of current-day track events; 3. A broadcast and fan experience that modernizes viewership for sports fans everywhere.”

– Ohanian has been a major advocate for women’s sports. He is the principal owner of Angel City FC and announced that his 776 Foundation would invest and expand The Sports Bra (a Portland, Ore. bar dedicated to showing women’s sports on its TVs). He is married to tennis icon Serena Williams.

– Thomas has been a vocal critic of the visibility and marketability of track and field in America. At a ‘100 Days To Go Until Paris 2024’ event by her watch sponsor Omega, Thomas was asked what she’d like to see changed for the sport’s top stars to get more attention. She spoke out against the Diamond League’s upcoming move from Peacock to behind FloSports’ paywall starting in 2025.

"I'm most critical of decisions like that because it does eliminate visibility and there is a pretty big paywall behind watching our track meets now,"

Thomas said. “Paying $30 a month to watch a track meet is not reasonable for a lot of people, to be completely honest...There's probably a long line of fixes we can make just to the structure of the sport in how we line up our races as well. We can get creative. We can have teams. We can do some fun things that other sports do. But I think the first step is: the fundamental access to watching track and field."

Here’s what they said via press release:

Thomas: "I am excited to partner with forward-thinking organizations like 776 that share our vision for advancing women's track. Through this investment, we hope to not only provide athletes with the resources and visibility they need to have enduring careers but also to inspire fans worldwide with a reinvented format to experience the best of our sport."

Ohanian: “At 776, we believe in the power of sports to drive positive change and inspire future generations. By investing in women’s track, we aim to elevate the profile of female athletes and create a more inclusive and equitable sporting landscape.”

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.