espnW Women + Sports Summit Drives the Conversation on Women in Sports

The 2015 espnW Women + Sports Summit, held last week in Dana Point, California, concluded Friday, October 16, for more than 300 participants—the event’s first sellout in its six-year history.

On Wednesday, Laura Gentile, vice president, espnW, welcomed the attendees with a presentation that addressed the brand’s history, present and future. She said that 49 percent of people who identify themselves as sports fans are women. “It’s a big opportunity, and it’s a lot of women to serve as we’ve never served before,” Gentile said. “We’re going to continue to drive the sports conversation across the entirety of The Walt Disney Company.”

Wednesday’s slate included panelists such as UnderArmour CEO Kevin Plank, NBA players union head Michele Roberts and swimming legend Amy Van Dyken; Thursday’s agenda included presentations from various ESPN executives.

“ESPN Spotlight: This is SportsCenter. . . Now,” featured Senior Vice President, Sports Center and News, Rob King, citing the contributions of women to the network’s franchise property.

“Future Vision: ESPN’s Commitment to Women, espnW + the Burgeoning Marketplace,” moderated by espnW’s Julie Foudy, included panelists Gentile; Executive VP and CEO, ESPN, Christine Driessen; Executive VP, ESPN Digital and Print Media, John Kosner; and Editor-In-Chief, espnW, Alison Overholt.

Front Row asked Driessen, Gentile and King for their thoughts on the espnW Summit’s effectiveness and the lasting impression the 2015 conference has made on them.