Events and Attractions

Gentile, ESPN pleased with 12th espnW Women + Sports Summit

By Chris Smith
espnW Founder Laura Gentile said the most recent Women + Sports Summit is the fourth consecutive iteration to sell outESPN IMAGES

ESPN last Friday wrapped up its 12th espnW Women + Sports Summit, which it hosted at the Torrey Pines golf course in La Jolla, Calif. This year’s summit -- espnW’s first to be held in person since the start of the pandemic -- featured appearances from the NHL CMO Heidi Browning, LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan, Seattle Storm co-Owner Ginny Gilder, Angel City FC President Julie Uhrman and actress Halle Berry, who is starring in and directing the upcoming Netflix MMA film “Bruised.” Laura Gentile, ESPN Exec VP/Commercial Marketing, Networks and espnW Founder, said it was the fourth consecutive summit to be sold out, and that this year’s edition had an even wider digital reach. “With the livestream, we just keep growing the audience,” said Gentile. “The last livestream audience we had was 200,000 views, and that’s incredible for us.” The event was sponsored by Toyota, Gatorade, New Balance and Google, the last of which was involved for the first time with an espnW in-person event after partnering for recent virtual summits. Gentile said Google did not play a major operational role but will likely be more involved on the back-end for ESPN’s upcoming Fifty/50 initiative to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX next year.

NEW STUDIOS CRITICAL FOR SUCCESS: Gentile also spoke about the importance of the recently announced W Studios, which will allow espnW to produce expanded content offerings. “We want to create more stories. We announced W Studios because we want a place within ESPN that’s really dedicated to female storytelling,” said Gentile. “So women directors or women moving behind the cameras, just really going deeper into that space. We’ve dabbled, we’ve done Nine for IX, which was the nine-film series with the 30 for 30 team for the 40th anniversary of Title IX. But we don’t want to be a commemorative thing anymore. We want to tell these great stories every day.” 

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