Today, ESPN launched a new citizenship strategy focused on using the power of sports for social good. The launch includes a new name change (from Corporate Outreach to Corporate Citizenship), as well as a new website that highlights ESPN’s commitment to the community: www.ESPN.com/Citizenship. Front Row sat down with Ed Durso, Executive Vice President of Administration, to learn more about the shift in the company’s strategy.
Why is ESPN changing its strategy in the community?
We have a tremendous legacy of giving and as our brand and reach have grown, so too has our commitment to the community. We are now taking a more strategic approach that focuses on using sports to transform lives and uplift communities. We will do that in five key areas: Access to Sports, Leadership Through Sports, The V Foundation, Good Neighbor grants and Sustainability.
Why is this important?
It is important because ESPN can offer meaningful help to many in need. For example, it may be surprising to some, but youth sports participation in the U.S. has been on the decline since 2008. The decline is due to many factors and the problem is especially prevalent in underserved communities.
This is worrisome because sports is so important to development. Studies show that kids who are physically active have higher test scores, are more likely to go to college, and smoke and drink less. Sports can also help build life skills, including enhancing self-esteem, unifying teams and driving social inclusion. By driving support to entities enhancing access to sports, we can help.
How is ESPN helping reverse this trend?
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to play sports and be able to take advantage of its many benefits. ESPN is working with nonprofits to develop sports curriculum, distribute sports equipment and create safe spaces to play sports. We’re also finding ways to foster physical development, leadership and life skills through sports. We’re working with others who share this vision, and together hope to make sports more accessible, especially to those in underserved communities.
We are all privileged to work in such a dynamic, exciting industry, and hope to share our success and use our platforms to build and inspire communities through the power of sports.
Follow ESPN Citizenship news at @ESPNCitizenship or www.ESPN.com/Citizenship.