Ally and Disney/ESPN | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

Ally and Disney/ESPN Create First of Its Kind Media Deal Leading With Women’s Sports

Ally Financial

The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Women’s Sports Partnership



Up until now, the traditional sports-media spending structure has funneled 90% of spending into men’s sports, leaving just 10% for women’s sports – and that’s not right. Ally is aiming to break the mold as part of the brand’s five year commitment to reach equal spending between men’s and women’s sports by 2027.

To that end, Ally collaborated with one of the largest media companies today to think in a new way about how media packages are built and sold and to help Ally to create systemic change. Ally partnered with Disney/ESPN to design a first-of-its-kind media deal that led with women’s sports–giving fans the coverage they crave and women athletes the center-stage they deserve, while driving tangible business results.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The Ally/Disney deal breaks the “vicious cycle” that’s been holding back women’s sports–namely, that brands say there’s not enough media coverage to justify advertising dollars, while broadcasters say there isn’t enough advertising dollars to justify media coverage. This deal proves that when both sides come together, premium women’s sports inventory and investment is the result. this tackles both ends of the problem and shows other sponsors and media companies that it can done.

Ally and Disney/ESPN created a whole new sponsorship model the industry has begun to replicate. Women’s sports as the leading component of a media package is the new benchmark. And it’s more access for fans of women’s sports – giving them what they crave, while helping to pave the way for more deals and media verticals built around women’s sports.

The SportsCenter takeovers normalized giving women’s sports the center-stage it deserves on a sports broadcast, and showed viewers what it looks like to elevate women’s sports.


The old traditional sports-media spending structure has, up until now, funneled 90% of spending into men’s sports, leaving just 10% for women’s sports treating it as a value-add—and that’s not right. Ally is aiming to break that and create a new model media companies use to build media packages that include equal spending between men and women’s sports.

To drive change, in 2022, Ally made a first of its kind pledge to spend equally on sports media across men’s and women’s sports within five years.

There are many barriers to investing in women’s sports, including the lack of inventory because of the traditional way media is packaged. Eager to move the needle towards its 50/50 goal, Ally started crafting an innovative deal with Disney centered around women’s sports.

Women’s sports is usually considered an afterthought and an “add-on” to a men’s sports deal. Part of Ally’s commitment to leveling the playing field is to treat women’s sports as the showcase it is, not as an “extra” to the men’s game–and the Disney deal does just that. It’s the first major broadcast deal of its kind – 90% of it anchored in women’s sports.


Strategy & Execution

By increasing women’s sports coverage, the Ally x Disney/ESPN deal gives the modern sports fan more content, like expanded game highlights, features across ESPN networks, and regular SportsCenter segments focused on women’s sports. As part of our investment with Disney, Ally and Disney teamed up to create two first-of-their-kind SportsCenter takeovers. What made these creative Ally SportsCenter Takeovers truly standout is that from the behind-the-scenes work, to the on-camera talent, they were led by an all-female team. The takeovers aired throughout the 11 p.m. ET editions of SportsCenter on July 27 and August 11.

We’re rethinking sports sponsorships, making gender equity a core value in these deals. Working with a legacy media partner like Disney/ESPN broadens the impact and sends a message to the industry—change is possible.

Timed around the 2023 Women’s World Cup, the deal included expanded game highlights and coverage to get people thinking differently about women’s soccer.

With women’s college basketball more popular than ever among fans, the innovative Ally x Disney/ESPN deal paved the way for Ally’s unique and new sponsorship of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which featured the first-ever title sponsorship of the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament.


  • Ally Financial
  • Disney/ESPN


Andrea Brimmer
Chief Marketing and PR Officer
Ally Financial

Bridget Sponsky
Executive Director of Brand and Sponsorship Marketing
Ally Financial

Stephanie Marciano
Head of Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Ally Financial

Jill Ellis
Manager Lead, Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Ally Financial

Maggie Myers
Sr. Marketing Specialist, Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Ally Financial

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.