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Fans celebrate women’s sports in Seattle during busy weekend

It's been a big weekend for women's sports in Seattle between the NCAA women's tournament and the season opener for the OL Reign.

SEATTLE — It's been a big weekend for women's sports in Seattle. Not only are thousands of fans packing Climate Pledge Arena for the Women's NCAA Tournament, but fans are welcoming the return of the OL Reign in Sunday's season opener.

It's a day many women sports fans in Seattle have been waiting for with the OL Reign season opener. Despite the game being away, fans made their way to what many consider to be the team’s home away from home -- a place where they can actually watch the games.

"I'm one of those folks, that go to a bar and say 'Hey can you turn on the OL Reign? Can you turn on the Storm?' and it's frustrating to have to do that, they should just already be on, you should be supporting the city you live in," said Liz Wolter.

It's that inaccessibility that motivated Jen Barnes to open Rough & Tumble in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood last December, becoming Washington’s first women's sports-focused bar.

"We just need to make space for women athletes and fans of women athletes because we're all here and I think that anybody who is not participating in that is missing out on a financial investment opportunity on creating great spaces, safe spaces wonderful environments for us to watch women's sports," said Barnes.

Not only were women sports fans flooding Ballard, but thousands of women's sports fans have also been packing Climate Pledge Arena this weekend for the Women's NCAA Basketball Tournament.

"It's just been incredible to see women's sports just get more and more popular over time with the sponsorships, the NIL, the outspokenness of a lot of the advocates of the different teams," said Jess Molberg.

It's this presence at Climate Pledge and Ballard this weekend, that fans hope will encourage more people to watch and support women's sports. 

"Do it! You will just be completely captivated by the amount of talent, the amount of entertainment you're going to see. It's completely worth it and you'll be hooked," said Wolter.

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