Three Long Beach women are trying to break the stereotype of a typical sports bar — one full of TVs showing baseball, football and other men’s sports — by opening a bar focused on female athletes and their competitions.

There’s no set opening date or location for the business yet, but three women, Jackie Diener, Megan Eddy and Chef Charlie Ray, say they’re determined to open this year and take advantage of a growing market they think is untapped in Long Beach.

The group hopes to have a location locked in soon and is aiming to open before the Olympic Games begin this summer. They’ve partnered with LA Sparks and Angel City FC to fundraise for the venture by getting some ticket proceeds from select upcoming games going toward the bar.

They say the time is right in part because the interest in women’s sports has skyrocketed over the past few years. Viewership for the WNBA draft increased by almost 45% in just one year as television networks have begun to prioritize events like the 2023 Women’s World Cup and sponsors are shifting their focus. Still, the accessibility to view women’s sports, especially in bars, is scarce.

The first bar to show exclusively women’s sports was The Sports Bra in Portland, Oregon which opened in 2022. Long Beach’s bar will only be the fifth of its kind in the entire country, said Diener, who explained that opening the bar would fulfill a lifelong dream.

The business’s name Watch Me! Sports Bar, will be a tribute to that determination.

“What do you say when someone tells you that you can’t do something?” Diener said. “Watch me!”

From a young age, Diener was always playing sports.

“I was the kid on the kickball field, the only girl out there,” Diener said.

Over the years, she would work her way up to the varsity level in soccer and softball, where she was always surrounded by the camaraderie and competitiveness that comes with being on a team.

In college, she majored in recreational management, but eventually other job opportunities took her off the sports path. Over the years, she hopped from childcare to entertainment to directing content production for Living Spaces, a chain of furniture stores, where she’s been for the past eight years.

“I had to think about what would feed my soul,” Diener said. “What’s always been dormant is wanting to open a sports bar.”

But opening a bar is a costly and time consuming endeavor. But Diener and her wife and co-owner Megan Eddy say the time has come.

“Long Beach is fertile ground for women’s sports,” Diener said. “Anyone we’ve talked to about it has been really validating.”

Long Beach, where Diener and Eddy have lived for several years, is the only place they have considered opening the bar. Currently, they are searching for the perfect space to open, but it’s been difficult to find a place that has what they’re looking for — ample parking and a kitchen.

Once they get the doors open, the bar will show women’s sports about 95%, but they do plan to air the bigger men’s events like the Super Bowl or the World Cup. While they don’t wish to alienate fans of men’s sports, Diener said there are plenty of other sports bars they can go to.

Watch Me will bolster female athletes that don’t get the same level of exposure. Aiming to make the space inclusive and accepting, the bar will open early and be kid-friendly so families can spend time together while rooting for their favorite teams.

“Long Beach is such a diverse place,” Eddy said. “[The bar] is about inclusivity, so it’s about hitting everyone.”

Part of that will be offering a variety of vegan and vegetation food options and an extensive mocktail list for those who don’t drink alcohol. To help them see that vision through, the couple have brought on Chef Charlie Ray, an experienced traveling private chef who is now based in Long Beach.

“We’re going to go for upscale bar food, like a gastropub,” Ray said. “We’ll offer everything from someone who goes to a sports bar for hot wings to someone who wants a really nice steak and potatoes.”

The menu will focus on locally sourced, fresh, seasonal produce. For Ray, zero-waste is also a priority so she plans to implement items like onion ash (charred onion skin) and a housemade aioli to top a burger.

“Because Long Beach has the personality it has, I think they’ll take to this concept really well,” Ray said. “Yes it’s a bar, yes it’s a burger, but utilizing our ingredients to their fullest potential and utilizing local vendors will draw people in.”

Ray’s perspective on food and the way she’ll lead their kitchen is perfectly aligned with the culture Diener and Eddy plan to foster in both guests and behind the counter.

“It’s not just a sports bar, we’re looking for longevity and representing Long Beach accurately,” Eddy said.

Find fundraising efforts for the bar here. For updates, follow Watch Me on Instagram here.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Jackie Diener and Megan Eddy are the only owners of Watch Me! Sports Bar.