Women’s sports has a powerful ally. Armed with an audacious goal to level the playing field for women, Ally Financial says in just one year, their plan is already gaining ground. In May of 2022, the scrappy banking brand made a commitment to spend equally on men’s and women’s sports within five years. On the first anniversary of its unparalleled pledge, Ally announced it’s ahead of schedule, expecting a 60/40 split by the end of 2023. “Women’s sports have been surging in popularity,” according to Fast Company. “Yet they receive as little as 5% of sports media coverage.”
Ally is changing that with Watch the Game. Change the Game.
On the 50th anniversary of Title IX – the law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in sports – Ally announced their influential initiative. The challenge they want to overcome was formidable, according to Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally, talking to Ad Age. She notes the Catch-22 in sports with networks not giving women’s sports the spotlight, because there isn’t enough advertising support. But there isn’t enough advertising because there’s no prime-time coverage. “We decided somebody’s got to blink and end this vicious cycle.”
What they’re doing is working. Ally upped its media buy for the National Women’s Soccer League’s championship game, which realized viewership up 71% over the previous year, raising the league’s profile considerably. “When I look back over the past year, I’m in awe of all that we’ve been able to accomplish by doing the right thing, being intentional in the way we’re investing in women and showing up,” says Andrea Brimmer in their media release. “We have no doubt that we’ll reach our five-year goal of parity in spending, but it’s not easy work.”
The commitment to women’s sports is personal for Andrea Brimmer, a former college soccer player herself. In a recent profile, she says she wants Ally’s women’s sports sponsorship to be meaningful, not just “marketing puffery.” To maintain their momentum, Ally needs broadcasters to create even more women-focused content. But rather than waiting on the sidelines, Ally has created powerful support through Team Ally, a “collective of power players teaming up to make women’s sports hard to miss.” The launch of Ally’s new World Cup Ad is also hard to miss.
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