Ally and Disney partner to advance equality in women’s sport
Ally Financial Inc. and The Walt Disney Company announced a partnership with a multi-year, multimillion-dollar investment designed to advance equality in women's sports coverage.
At current, women’s sport receives less than 10% of media coverage and is often an add-on to men’s packages.
The collaboration features a media investment of more than 90% in women's sports in order to increase representation and coverage. ESPN networks will feature more game highlights, branded content, and special features featuring women's sports, including regular segments on SportsCenter that highlight their accomplishments.
As a result of this partnership, Ally will become an official sponsor of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), including sponsoring the first-ever ACC Women's Basketball Tournament and Women's Soccer Championship as well as hosting the 2023 ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship as a presenting sponsor.
"For too long, women's sports programming has been treated as an afterthought in the media buying process, perpetually giving women athletes the short end in terms of media exposure and income opportunity while limiting investment opportunities for brands. This cycle needs to change," said Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally.
“We are taking a major step forward together with Disney and the ACC to change the way women's media is packaged, and through this barrier-breaking partnership – that channels funds directly to women's sports and begins to level the playing field for female athletes – we hope to create the kind of systemic change needed to significantly increase visibility, opportunity and fandom in women's sports."
A partnership prioritising gender equity
Ally challenged Disney to develop a first-of-its-kind sponsorship package to spotlight women's sports and advance the brand's pledge of reaching 50/50 media spending across men's and women's sports. Both companies worked together to create a new and innovative package based on gender equity.
“The roadblocks we kept running into are that women's sports are generally sold as part of a men's package or as an add-on, and with an already scarce landscape locked up through category exclusivity, it made it nearly impossible to reach our internal investment goals," Andrea says.
“We pushed all parties involved to get creative. Disney and ESPN were willing to dig deep with us to think in fresh ways to buy women's media directly and create opportunities where there weren't any."
Additionally, the package features a partnership with Disney's CreativeWorks team, which aims to create custom creative with gender equity and allyship in mind. Later this summer, the spots will appear in two exclusive SportsCenter episodes.
“Disney is committed to ensuring our rich storytelling is accessible, where all viewers can see themselves represented," said Rita Ferro, president of Disney Advertising. "For nearly three decades, we have been intentional in prioritising and spotlighting the accomplishments and stories surrounding women's sports. We are proud that brands like Ally are joining us as we level the playing field and help build a future where sports investments are truly equitable.”