9 March 2018
From Russia to The Riverside - Boro Fan TV MD Karen Ross with her son Jacob © Karen Ross
“I took my son to Boro when he was just six weeks old. He was the youngest member of the Rory Club. It’s in the blood.”
Those words from Karen Ross will likely resonate with any football fan. However, not just content with taking her young son (who is now a not so little 20 yrs!), Karen has boldly gone where no female Boro supporter has before.
A mother, grandmother and die-hard season ticket holder in the South Stand, Karen is also Managing Director and co-owner of Boro Fan TV (Limited), an independent, fan-owned production and media company forged from the unforgiving terraces of the Riverside Stadium.
Still very much in its infancy – Boro Fan TV was only founded in April 2017 - it has become one of the fastest growing fan-owned media channels in the UK. With an estimated 4.7m Boro fans spread out across the world, there is scope for even more growth.
“This season was only meant to be a pilot to test the appetite of Boro fans for something different that really engaged using social media and digital platforms,” explained Karen.
“It has just snow-balled and we seem to appealing to an even wider range of fans. The response and feedback we have received has astounded us. It hasn’t just come from Boro supporters too, but from all over the world.
“It has been a very humbling experience and serves to proves that Boro fans are Premier League even if our team isn’t…yet! That’s why we are being relentless in our goal to deliver the independent platform that that they deserve.”
As a woman working in football, Karen has unfortunately also faced what can best be described as a number of ‘institutional’ challenges and biases.
Having been the only girl in her family, she had to learn how to find her voice at an early age in order to be heard. It is just one of the key skills acquired over the years that has stood her in very good stead as she continues to play a key role in taking Boro Fan TV to even greater success.
“I was brought up with three brothers and had to hold my own with them and all their mates growing up, so I am no shrinking violet!” said Karen.
“The game is changing, thankfully, and there are many women in football that are great role models. . Kay is achieving great things in the football media world and we are all really proud of her.”
It is certainly exciting times for Karen and Boro Fan TV, but there is still plenty more to be done according to their MD.
“I’m really keen to get more females involved,” Karen explained. “We have already linked up with a couple of female football teams, which is a good, but there are plenty of other opportunities for input in social media, camera work – that type of thing.
“It is so important to get rid of this stigma attached that there is no place for women in football. It is rubbish because there is, and we have a huge amount to offer.
“Boro Fan TV have a number of big announcements to make soon and what we will bring to the table for Boro fans will be unrivalled and most important, affordable for families.
"Football clubs no longer put the fans first; it is commercial gain first, fans second, or third. That is a fact and many supporters have simply had enough and are looking for alternatives.
"We plan to deliver those alternatives to the fans. At times this may not make the club happy, but if it makes the fans happy, we can live with that.
“If there were more women involved in making this happen, even better!”
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