Last Updated on February 22, 2023
Ally Financial Inc. and The Walt Disney Company announced yesterday the digital financial company’s marketing presence expansion to cover women’s sports in the form of a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment to advance equality in women’s sports coverage.
The collaboration features a media investment of 90 percent in women’s sports, focused on expanding game highlights, branded content, and features across the ESPN networks, including regular SportsCenter segments that highlight top women’s sports accomplishments. In addition, Ally has now become an official sponsor of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“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,” said Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally. “This cycle needs to change.”
Ally’s sponsorship will feature the first-ever title sponsorships of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament and Women’s Soccer Championship. In addition, they are also the exclusive presenting sponsor of the 2023 ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship.
“We are taking a major step forward together with Disney and the ACC to change the way women’s media is packaged,” Brimmer said. “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.”
Last year, Ally nudged Disney regarding creating a sponsorship package to put women’s sports at the forefront and promote Ally’s pledge of 50/50 media spending across both men’s and women’s sports. Disney and Ally worked lockstep to implement a strategy that drives gender equality. To ensure that gender equity and allyship are top of mind, Disney’s CreativeWorks team, as a part of this collaboration, will produce two episodes of SportsCenter to be aired later this summer for this cause.
“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,” Brimmer said. “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.”
Ally bank becomes the official retail bank of the Atlantic Coast Conference, holding media branding and activation rights across all ACC Championships, with first-ever title sponsorships of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament and Women’s Soccer Championship, as well as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the 2023 ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship.
Ally’s activation of this collaboration will be showcased in early March with both the men’s and women’s ACC tournaments. This year’s ACC tournaments will feature Ally fan activations and cobranded giveaways. One of the fascinating aspects of the partnership between Ally and Disney structured the media portion of the ACC network to include other financial brands to increase the investment in women’s sports.
“Disney is committed to ensuring our rich storytelling is accessible, where all viewers can see themselves represented,” said Rita Ferro, president, Disney Advertising. “For nearly three decades, we have been intentional in prioritizing 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.”