ESPN to be Official Broadcaster of the world's largest sports and humanitarian event
Global Programming Partnership to reach ESPN's hundreds of millions of fans worldwide
Follows Disney / ESPN Support of Special Olympics initiatives including LA2015 and Unified Sports
LOS ANGELES, April 30, 2014 – LA2015, the Organizing Committee for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, and ESPN have reached a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of the world's largest sports and humanitarian event — the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 – to millions of fans around the world. Through the agreement, ESPN becomes the Official Broadcaster of the event, which begins July 25, 2015.
The agreement provides ESPN with rights to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, daily competition, Closing Ceremony and other cultural activities. ESPN will produce the Opening Ceremony live as well as a nightly highlights program and KABC-TV will also play a role in the coverage for the Los Angeles market. ESPN will feature both English- and Spanish-language coverage of some parts of LA2015. Specific programming and coverage details will be announced in the months ahead.
Sports fans around the world will have access to ESPN's coverage via its networks and media platforms in the U.S., Mexico, Spanish-speaking Latin America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Special Olympics International, ESPN and the Games Organizing Committee will work together to find additional regional media partners to bring the World Games to more fans and sports participants around the world.
"ESPN's reach and caliber of coverage made them a natural partner for the Special Olympics World Games," said Patrick McClenahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee. "ESPN's legacy of work with Special Olympics and our shared values of athletes first, unity, competition and overcoming adversity among others, strengthen the foundation of these World Games as a global celebration of the courage, determination and joy of our athletes."
John Skipper, ESPN President, Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks, said, "This agreement reflects our belief in sport as a powerful vehicle to showcase and promote acceptance and inclusion. We are very proud of our long relationship with Special Olympics and our commitment to highlight the power of sport to positively impact people of all ability levels."
Disney, ESPN and The Special Olympics
Disney and ESPN have long supported the Special Olympics.
Last year, Disney became a Founding Champion of the LA2015 World Games.
In September 2013, Disney and ESPN announced a global two-year, multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment supporting the Special Olympics Unified Sports initiative, which leverages the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities.
ESPN previously provided coverage of the 2011 World Games in Athens on ESPN3.
About the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports-and-humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. Honorary Chairs of the Games are President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Jerry Brown serving as Honorary Hosts. Current Founding Champions and sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, Mattel, Deloitte, Kaiser Permanente, Davis Elen Advertising, AEG, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, The Walt Disney Company, Knights of Columbus and Bank of America. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit
About Special Olympics International
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4 million athletes in 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood's backyard to World Games. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org and engage with us on: @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics,youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
ESPN, Inc., The Worldwide Leader in Sports, is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 50 business entities. It operates 8 US television networks, 24 International television networks reaching 61 countries, the leading portfolio of global digital sports properties, as well as a variety of additional businesses – radio, print, consumer products, and event management – that allow ESPN to reach sports fans in over 61 countries and territories across all seven continents. The company is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.