ESPN Announces Major Community Relations Initiative That Uses The Power Of Sports To Make A Difference

Today, ESPN announced plans to expand its community outreach efforts. The company has designed Team ESPN to serve as the overarching brand for its community relations initiatives, which will use the power of sports to make a difference in the lives of fans and their communities. Team ESPN will encompass employee volunteerism and utilize ESPN’s multimedia assets to support the company’s sports-themed, charitable and cause-marketing programs that inspire fans to:

  • Embrace Winning Lifestyles – Encouraging lifelong physical activity and well-being,
  • Rise to the Challenge – Increasing awareness of the role of sports in personal and physical challenges,
  • Build Community Champions – Promoting the accessibility and availability of sports for youth and adults by supporting employee volunteer initiatives and local community events.

The first Team ESPN signature program under Winning Lifestyles is a fitness initiative, designed to encourage kids to get active and stay in shape, while engaging parents and educators to help rally kids to exercise regularly. Through a broad-based, multi-media campaign aimed at youth age 11-17, Team ESPN will increase awareness of the role that regular physical activity plays in the lives of youth and how inactivity can lead to conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

“The programs under Team ESPN will enable us to make an even stronger social impact in communities nationwide,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. “Through this signature fitness initiative, ESPN is committed to empowering kids to make positive choices about their physical health.”

The Team ESPN’s signature program builds on several of ESPN’s existing initiatives. In 1993, ESPN, together with the late Jim Valvano, announced the launch of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which has raised over $27 million and awarded 170 research grants nationwide. ESPN also created SportsFigures in 1994, an educational Cable in the Classroom programming series, aimed at teaching math and physics concepts through practical sports applications. Throughout its history, ESPN has supported many charities, including Special Olympics, and has developed various community outreach programs for its owned events such as the X Games and Great Outdoor Games.

ESPN will work with its affiliates, advertisers and league partners to provide a variety of fitness initiatives in local markets and schools. Detailed plans for the initiative will be announced in May.

The Team ESPN and community relations initiatives will be overseen by Juliet Gilliam, Director, Corporate Outreach, in the Communications Department.

ESPN, Inc., The Worldwide Leader in Sports, is a multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia assets in sports marketing with over 40 business entities. The company is comprised of seven domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes (launching the end of 2003), ESPN Now, ESPN Today), ESPN HD (a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN), ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (25 international networks and syndication), ESPN Radio,, ESPN The Magazine, SportsTicker, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN Broadband, ESPN Wireless, ESPN Video-on-Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc, which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.