ESPN, Special Olympics Re-Up Programming and Sponsorship Deals Through 2019

ESPN and Special Olympics have inked two new agreements: a new, three-year global programming agreement and an extension, and expansion, of ESPN’s Global Presenting Sponsorship of Special Olympics Unified Sports. The new global programming agreement will see ESPN continue as an Official Broadcaster of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, and the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, as well as providing additional news and feature coverage of other Special Olympics events, athletes and stories over the course of the three year agreement. The agreement follows coverage and programming around the LA2015 Special Olympics World Games last July.

Special-Olymipcs“ESPN is not just a broadcaster or sponsor, but our partner in building positive attitudes about athletes with intellectual disabilities,” says Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics. “As our movement continues to break down negative stigma, we are thrilled that ESPN will be opening hearts and minds through sports television sharing the gifts and talents of our Special Olympics athletes with the world and helping us invite everyone to join our movement for inclusion.”

Special Olympics World Games are the world’s largest sports and humanitarian events on the globe. ESPN’s coverage of the World Games and USA Games events will include a combination of competition highlights and studio programming, features, news stories and more. Other ESPN coverage of the Special Olympics movement over the course of the agreement will include news, features, vignettes, interviews, magazine programs and more across ESPN digital and print media platforms.

ESPN’s coverage of the major events will reach fans around the world via its networks and media platforms in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  In addition, Special Olympics and ESPN will work together to explore additional local media partners.

“Over the past three years, ESPN has deepened a long-standing relationship with the Special Olympics movement,” says John Skipper, ESPN President and co-Chair of Disney Media Networks. “Through our support of Unified Sports and our coverage of remarkable Special Olympics events and athletes, we’ve been reminded of the profound impact sport can have and inspired by the incredible moments and stories we’ve brought to millions of fans. Inclusion and acceptance are values we believe in, and we are both proud and excited to continue working with Special Olympics in the coming years.”

Global Presenting Sponsorship of Special Olympics Unified Sports
ESPN will also continue as the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports, extending a role it has held since 2013. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Special Olympics Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

For the last three years ESPN has invested more than $3 million and strategically used its multi-platform media assets and marketing expertise to expand Unified Sports globally. Today, Special Olympics has grown this innovative and inclusive sports strategy, to more than 1 million participants. As part of the continued support of Unified Sports, ESPN will invest in Special Olympics’ goal to building Unified Sports programming and resources in 10,000 schools by 2020.

“ESPN is pleased to be expanding our 30+ year partnership with Special Olympics,” says Kevin Martinez, Vice President Corporate Citizenship.“In addition to being the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports, ESPN will be supporting Special Olympics with an innovative program and will be sharing content and storytelling around using the power of sport to inspire social change, to raise awareness of Unified Sports to fans worldwide.”