Was anyone really surprised when the raging debate over gender parity tumbled onto the World Cup stage after Team USA’s rout of Thailand? Certainly not its co-captain Alex Morgan, who is among the 28 members of the U.S. women’s national team in an epic legal battle with the U.S. Soccer Federation over pay equity and working conditions that, as it turns out, will enter mediation after the women finish competing.

Morgan’s exceptional leadership and athletic skills along with her growing brand prowess made it a no-brainer to have the superstar kick off our Most Powerful Women in Sports issue, in which she shares the spotlight with 29 equally remarkable media and marketing MVPs. The honorees range from Renie Anderson, the NFL’s first chief revenue officer, to Budweiser vp, marketing Monica Rustgi, whose team delivered three recent Super Bowl spots.

Each year, we get a real thrill profiling the awe-inspiring women leading the way in sports, but this time our team—staff writer T.L. Stanley, features editor Kristina Feliciano, creative director Ron Goodman, photo editor Kacy Burdette and art director Dianna McDougall—dug a little deeper and got more personal. You’ll not only get our honorees’ highlight reels and playbook for success but also see who inspired them and hear their thoughts on which rule they think deserves to be broken (“They all do,” asserts Laura Miele, chief studios officer for Electronic Arts).

We went the extra mile with this issue, and we’re going even further with our fourth annual Women Trailblazers summit and celebration on July 16 in New York. Joining us will be an exceptional group of leaders, storytellers and sports heroes—rule-breakers all—including former PepsiCo executive Dawn Hudson, Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Twitter global director of culture and community God-is Rivera and sports phenom Mo’ne Davis.

We invite you to join us for an unforgettable celebration of some truly memorable women. Hope to see you there.

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