NEW YORK, USA // Laura Gentile serves as Executive Vice President, Marketing, ESPN. In this role, she is responsible for leading the marketing for all of ESPN, inclusive of all brands, platforms, shows, and events. Gentile oversees all creative output for ESPN Marketing, overall media strategy, spending and budgeting, and fan engagement.
She is responsible for the health of the ESPN Brand and has crafted campaigns that drive that health inclusive of “There’s No Place Like Sports” and the renowned “This is SportsCenter.” Gentile helps drive the marketing, advertising and promotion for critical league partners inclusive of the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and F1 and vital priorities such as Fantasy Football, the ESPN App and ESPN+, ESPN’s leading streaming service. Gentile has been instrumental in fostering a culture that embraces new audience growth with strategies that engage youth, women, Hispanic and black audiences through the ESPN ecosystem.
Gentile has previously served as EVP, Commercial Marketing for The Walt Disney Company networks, overseeing Creative Studios, Distribution Marketing and the brand marketing of Disney networks including ABC, FX, Disney Channel and NatGeo. She previously held a variety of strategic roles at ESPN, giving her a unique purview. She has served as SVP, Business Operations and Content Strategy, a role that included oversight of the business operations of the Content group and strategy development. Simultaneously, she led espnW and Women’s Initiatives at ESPN. She was promoted to senior vice president, espnW and Women’s Initiatives in November 2015. Gentile was instrumental in launching espnW, ESPN’s first dedicated business built to serve women, which debuted in December 2010. espnW is now a multimedia business encompassing digital, social, television, films, global mentorship programs and events such as The espnW: Women + Sports Summit. espnW is the leading brand of its kind, pioneering a commitment to women in sports and the support of women’s sports across the industry.
Prior to researching and launching espnW, Gentile served as Vice President, Chief of Staff at ESPN. In that role, she worked directly with George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, on all aspects of the division’s business. She joined ESPN in the consumer marketing department in January 2003, where she was responsible for driving the marketing direction for key league properties, as well as ESPN25, ESPN’s year-long 25th anniversary campaign.
Gentile serves as a member of the V Foundation’s marketing committee. This group helps guide the organization’s marketing strategies to improve brand health, reach wider audiences and raise more dollars to fund game changing cancer research. She also serves as a member of the Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) 2021 Global Board of Directors.
Gentile was named to the Forbes “Most Powerful Women in U.S. Sports” list in 2018, ranked No. 22. In 2017, she was named one of the 2017 Multichannel News Wonder Women, and in 2016 was named a WICT “Woman to Watch.” Gentile was one of 17 participants in the inaugural Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and Tuck Executive Education at Dartmouth’s Executive Leadership Institute, a program created specifically for the advancement and retention of female executives in the sports industry. She has received the Advertising Women of NY Changing the Game Paradigm Shift Award and WICT’s Signature Accolade for espnW’s Global Sports Mentoring Program.
Gentile was a fellow of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute Class XVII, and was named to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 Class and an SBJ Game-Changer. Gentile was appointed to the U.S. Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, developed by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Gentile honed her marketing and advertising skills as a senior partner, management supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Her team led the development of IBM’s e-business campaign that earned the 2002 GRAND EFFIE for advertising effectiveness, a first in Ogilvy & Mather’s history.
A graduate of Duke University in 1994 with a double major in English and Political Science, Gentile earned an MBA in Marketing and Organizational Behavior from Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management in 1996. While an undergraduate, she garnered All-America and All-ACC honors in field hockey and was a two-time team captain. Gentile led Duke to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, graduated as school’s all-time leading scorer, and was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary field hockey team.