Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports: 31 MVPs Showing Brands and Fans the Way to Win

These power players displayed greatness and grace, leading the way in a year filled with uncertainty

The Most Powerful Women in Sports
Adweek's Most Powerful Women in Sports raised the bar when the world needed sports most. Photo Illustration: Trent Joaquin

In the best of times, sports has the power to excite and inspire, to entertain, engage and even unite. But 2020 has been anything but the best of times. Covid-19 impacted sports early and profoundly, and social injustice left an indelible mark both on and off the field. Still, Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports honorees found ways to influence, innovate and raise the bar for their brands and for fans at a time when we needed sports most. Many of these remarkable women—including NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, MLS president JoAnn Neale, Nascar’s Jill Gregory, the NHL’s Heidi Browning, MLB’s Barbara McHugh, WTA president Micky Lawler, WWE’s Stephanie McMahon, Kate Jhaveri of the NBA and our cover star Naomi Osaka—were an integral part of the groundbreaking “Real Heroes Project” in May that united 14 professional sports leagues to celebrate the country’s front-line medical workers. All of them are game-changers by any measure who come to play, no matter the circumstances. —Erik Wander

This story first appeared in the Nov. 16, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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