ESPN to build safe spaces to play sports in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires
ESPN has teamed up with expert sports organisations love.fútbol, A Ganar and local community partners INATOS (Instituto de Assistência, Trabalho, Oportunidades e Saúde) and UASI (Unión y Amistad de San Isidro), to build two new multifunctional sport courts in the communities of Dos Macacos in Rio De Janeiro and La Cava in Buenos Aires, each of which will be unveiled on 30 April and 24 May, respectively.
The communities, carefully selected based on need, population and socio-economic status, will see sports opportunities renewed by the addition of these safe spaces. Dos Macacos, where the space in Rio de Janeiro is being built, has a population of nearly 15,000 and has some of the lowest rankings in the city for income and education. La Cava is one of the largest and most economically disadvantaged areas in greater Buenos Aires, with a prevalence of crime, drugs, alcohol, violence and firearms use.
love.futbol, which builds community sports facilities all over the world, worked closely with local municipalities, as well as UASI in Buenos Aires and INATOS in Rio de Janeiro – both of which have over 20 years experience providing services for their communities – to engage the surrounding community to create a true sense of ownership of the space, enabling ongoing sustainable and impactful use. Volunteers from the local community, as well as ESPN employees, helped build the spaces themselves.
“ESPN is committed to providing resources to kids in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, executive president and managing director, ESPN International. “We are pleased to collaborate with love.futbol, A Ganar, INATOS and UASI to build these sports courts in communities where there is a need as they can make a difference.”
Once the sport spaces are built, ESPN will provide support to the award-winning organisation A Ganar, which provides communities across Latin America with training and skills that lead to employment, all using soccer as the catalyst. A Ganar will deliver programming on both sites for the next year with the objective of empowering young people and providing them with opportunities and pathways to work through the power of soccer.
“At ESPN, we recognise the important role sports play in developing life skills, from enhancing economic opportunities to improving employability,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “We’re proud to team up with love.fútbol and A Ganar to ensure that people in these communities have access to a safe, accessible place to play sports. This effort is part of our larger strategy of using the power of sports to ENSPIRE social change.”
Ribbon-cutting events in each market will showcase leading sport-for-social-change programmes that are making a positive impact across the city, along with other special guests and community leaders.
[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]