Go “In the Arena” with Serena Williams & Disney ESPN+ for Exclusive Mini-Series 

Serena Williams cheering with a tennis racket in her hand. Disney ESPN+ photo Serena Williams cheering with a tennis racket in her hand. Disney ESPN+ photo
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Disney ESPN+ Expands Support of Women’s Sports 

Starting July 10th, Disney ESPN+ and Serena Williams launch a new eight-part miniseries, “In the Arena: Serena Williams,” presented by Morgan Stanley, which chronicles her long career and offers insights into her daily life.  

“With its presenting sponsorship, Morgan Stanley sees a chance to shine a larger spotlight on women’s sports overall,” says Alice Milligan, the company’s chief marketing officer.  The financial services giant notices an opportunity to show itself as having “old school grit,” but “new world vision,” she says, and “I can’t think of anyone more gritty or visionary than Serena herself.”

Between July 10 and August 28, Morgan Stanley will sponsor elements within the ESPN+ series, including custom vignettes and logo bugs; social posts from ESPN that appear across Instagram and Facebook; and promos for the miniseries that appear in shows such as “First Take,” “Get Up” and “SportsCenter.”

Increase in Advertising Dollars Being Spent in Women’s Sports

More companies are investing in women’s sports, which reflects societal values, business strategies, and market dynamics.  Some key factors driving this trend are:  

Growing Audience and Popularity: Women’s sports have seen significant growth in viewership, with more fans tuning in to watch events in person and via broadcast and streaming platforms.

Fan Engagement: The fan base for women’s sports is expanding, with passionate and engaged followers who are eager to support their favorite teams and athletes. 

Societal and Cultural Shifts

Gender Equality: There is a broader societal push for gender equality, and supporting women’s sports aligns with these values.

Representation: Companies recognize the importance of diverse representation in sports and its positive impact on young women and girls who see role models in female athletes.

Brand Alignment and Corporate Social Responsibility

Positive Brand Image: Investing in women’s sports can enhance a company’s reputation by demonstrating a commitment to equality and inclusivity.

Corporate Social Responsibility: Many companies have initiatives that focus on promoting gender equality and supporting women’s empowerment, making investments in women’s sports a natural fit.

Untapped Market Potential

Market Growth: Women’s sports represent an underdeveloped market with significant growth potential, offering new opportunities for sponsorships and partnerships.

Consumer Base: Companies can reach new segments of consumers, including women and families, who may be more inclined to support brands that champion women’s sports.

Economic Incentives

Return on Investment and Sponsorship Value: Studies show that sponsorship of women’s sports can provide a high return on investment, often at a lower cost than men’s sports.

Merchandising and Licensing: There is growing demand for merchandise and products related to women’s sports, providing additional revenue streams for companies.

Athlete Advocacy and Influence

Influencer Marketing: Female athletes are increasingly influential as brand ambassadors and social media influencers, providing companies with powerful marketing partners.

Advocacy for Social Causes: Many female athletes are vocal advocates for social issues, aligning with brands that support similar causes.

In summary, companies’ increasing investment in women’s sports is driven by a combination of growing popularity, alignment with societal values, market opportunities, and the economic potential of a previously underfunded sector. This trend reflects a broader recognition of the value and impact of women’s sports on both a cultural and business level.

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