Goal of this Marketing Executive is to Draw Attention to the Advantages of Women’s Sports

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The founder of Trailblazing Sports, a women’s sports media advisory group, Sara Gotfredson, said that “the scale in women’s sports is not at the level of men’s sports—yet.”

When Sara Gotfredson began selling sports ad inventory in 2001, brands had very little opportunity to air commercials during women’s events, and media companies that aired sports didn’t prioritize such programming, she said.

“We hardly ever discussed women’s sports in the early 2000s,” Gotfredson told the media. “A lot of the legacy sports media companies just didn’t seem to care,” stated the writer.

The scene for women’s sports was substantially different back then: Women’s soccer, a current brand favorite, was hardly established in the nation; the Women’s United Soccer Association was just getting started, and the National Women’s Soccer League was more than ten years away from forming. The WNBA, which is currently the most popular women’s league in the US, was only five years old.

However, Gotfredson and other female athletes were beginning to leave their stamp on corporate America, particularly at venerable sports media businesses. Gotfredson worked as an account executive in digital media sales for a few years at CBS Sportsline.com, which subsequently changed its name to CBSSports.com. She then worked in ad sales for Disney and ESPN until launching Trailblazing Sports Group, a sports media agency, around a year ago. Its objective? to increase company spending on sports for women.

That’s still difficult, even after more than 20 years in the industry, Gotfredson admitted, but she is upbeat about the future because the industry is at a “tipping point” thanks to increasing audiences and attention.

Gotfredson grew up in a sports-loving family, and although she can’t recall many women’s sports to watch, she can recall playing softball, soccer, and golf. Gotfredson is especially appreciative of her golfing background, which has benefited her professionally.

She attended the University of San Francisco to study marketing, and it was there that she took a sports media and business course in her senior year that inspired her to pursue a master of arts in sports and fitness management.

While pursuing her master’s degree, Gotfredson secured a position in digital media sales at CBS Sportsline. She then secured her position at ESPN by leveraging the “power of networking,” something she constantly advises young women and women in general to embrace more of.

Gotfredson recalls selling advertising space to companies such as Cisco, Nike, and Visa during her early days at the Disney-owned sports network. This was for Mobile ESPN, an exclusive sports content mobile phone and cellular service branded with the ESPN name that failed in 2006. Later, Vice labeled it the company’s possible “biggest failure,” but added that it “set the foundation” for ESPN’s domination in the app store going forward.

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