ESPN Special Olympics Unified Sports has become the official charity partner of the BT Sport Industry Awards after agreeing a new partnership with event organisers, Sport Industry Group.
2018 marks ESPN’s 30th anniversary since it began supporting the Special Olympics, ahead of the Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary later this year.
Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5 million athletes and Unified partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year.
ESPN has supported the Special Olympics for three decades, and will once again be the official broadcaster of the 2018 USA Games in Seattle and the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
Special Olympics Unified Sports is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, combining individuals with intellectual disabilities (athletes) and individuals without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams. Athletes feel a sense of belonging, they can meaningfully interact with others, develop mutually rewarding relationships, are recognized as contributors and are received with acceptance and respect.
As part of its ongoing support for the initiative, ESPN continues to invest in Special Olympics' goal of building Unified Sports programming and resources in 10,000 schools and in reaching 100,000 new or re-certified coaches by 2020.
Attendees at the BT Sport Industry Awards 2018 on 26th April will have the opportunity to donate to ESPN Special Olympics Unified Sports on the night itself.
Guests of the BT Sport Industry Awards will also hear from Tim Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics and member of the Kennedy Family through his mother, Eunice, the founder of Special Olympics, who will be in attendance for the evening.
Nick Keller, chairman of Sport Industry Group, organisers of the BT Sport Industry Awards, said: “We are honoured and proud to shine a light on this remarkable charity, forming part of this outstanding international movement that truly demonstrates sport’s ability to uplift and create integration. This is a great opportunity for our industry to support the Special Olympics and by that transform people’s lives for the better.”
Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President, International, ESPN commented: “Historically, young people with intellectual disabilities didn't get a chance to play on their school sports teams, but thanks to Unified Sports, that's changing.
“The initiative has proven to be hugely effective in breaking down barriers, helping more people share in the joy of sport, and fostering social inclusion. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help showcase some of the amazing work happening at a global event like the BT Sport Industry Awards.”
The BT Sport Industry Awards is the world’s largest global commercial sports awards held annually at Battersea Evolution, London, in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,700 high-profile guests from the international sport industry including business leaders, celebrities, sporting legends and media.
For more information, visit www.sportindustry.biz/awards and follow @SportIndustry #BTSIA.