ESPN Dedicates Multifunctional Sports Space  In Bogotá, Colombia 

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 12, 2018​

ESPN Dedicates Multifunctional Sports Space In Bogotá, Colombia 

Ciudad Bolívar celebrates the opening of a new safe space to play sports 

The space will be home to sustainable programs teaching young people employability skills through sports. 

Community leaders, local residents, and youth gathered in Ciudad Bolívar, Bogotá, today to participate in the opening of a new multifunctional sports court dedicated to the local community and its residents. The global project, led by ESPN, has now seen five community spaces created across Latin America. Bogotá is the first city in Colombia to benefit from ESPN’s safe space initiative, and it follows Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, as well as one in Bangalore, India. 

The court and surrounding area, refurbished with the help of community members and ESPN employees, will be home to ongoing programs for young people in the community where they will learn job skills and be empowered to fulfil their potential, all through the power of sports. The program was developed by award-winning organization, A Ganar, which uses sports as a vehicle to provide communities across Latin America with training and skills that lead to employment through sports and enables young people to achieve success in life. Local sport for development organization, Colombianitos, has been trained in the A Ganar methodology and will deliver the program on the new site. 

ESPN talent Andrea Guerrero and Diego Saenz hosted the inauguration. They were joined by Eduardo Pokorny, ESPN Senior Director, International Growth & Development, and Juan Bonilla, Director, ESPN Colombia, as well as community volunteers who helped build the space, local residents and their families; ESPN employees; and community sports and arts organizations. Additional special guests and talent also attended include Carlos Valdes, German Arango, Gerado Bedoya, Guillermo Arango, Sara Correa, Diego Camargo and Camila Zuluaga. The celebration was comprised of cultural performances, special recognition of community leaders who volunteered their time to the project, as well as soccer matches open to the community. 

“At ESPN we believe that sports has the ability to transform lives, and we are proud to be able to support and empower communities like Ciudad Bolívar to unlock the benefits that sports offer.” said Eduardo Pokorny, “love.fútbol, A Ganar and Colombianitos have been outstanding partners on this project, helping build this safe space in a community where there is a need and where it can truly make a difference.” 

Vivian Puerta, Executive Director, Colombianitos, said, “Providing a space around which the community can come together alongside structured sports program that will engender employment skills is an attempt to support the community in facing and overcoming some of the challenges with which it is confronted.” 

love.fútbol, which is known for building community sports facilities all over the world, played a key role in selecting Ciudad Bolívar for the new play space based on the needs of the community. “Bogotá is home for many of us at ESPN. This space is not merely the construction of a sports court, but a space that engaged residents of Ciudad Bolívar in the project from its inception. We wanted the community to have a true sense of ownership that enables sustainable growth and impactful outcomes into the future. Volunteers from the local community, as well as ESPN employees have come together to contribute to the building of this space and we are extremely proud to help make it a reality,” said Juan Bonilla. “This initiative is another way that ESPN is contributing towards the larger goal of using the power of sports to make a difference in the communities we are a part of." ​

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Contacts: 

ESPN – Dario Welschen – dario.R.Welschen@espn.com

LABUZCA – Andres Wiesner – andres.wiesner@tiempodejuego.org 

thinkBeyond – Radha Balani – radha@canyouthinkbeyond.com

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Notes to Editors: 

ESPN Corporate Citizenship: ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. 

love.fútbol: love.fútbol creates community sports fields that act as community centers and catalysts for sustainable social change. For this project, love.fútbol managed the engagement of the community, ensuring that they were involved from the outset. They oversaw the construction of the sports space itself and helped facilitate local leadership and ownership of the space. They led on identifying the community for the project and facilitated the local partnerships that enabled the entire project to happen. 

A Ganar: Led by Partners of the Americas, the A Ganar Alliance combats youth unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean using team sports. In essence, A Ganar is a youth employment program wrapped inside of a ball. At-risk youth, ages 16-24, acquire marketable job expertise by building on six core sport-based skills: teamwork, communication, discipline, respect, a focus on results, and continual self-improvement. In 7-9 months, youth learn life and vocational skills and complete internships with local businesses. They learn to bring the best values of sport and apply them to the workplace. A Ganar have trained Colombianitos in their methodology. 

Colombianitos: Colombianitos works to improve the quality of life of children, youth and their communities, through sports, play, recreation, education and health. It has significant experience in working with young people affected by the conflict in Colombia. It integrates education with structured, community-driven programs supporting young people to attend school and meet academic requirements, while learning life-long values and positive social behavior such as respect, honesty, friendship, tolerance and fair play. For this project, Colombianitos will deliver ongoing programming on the new sports space using the A Ganar methodology. 

thinkBeyond: thinkBeyond helps organizations and people that do good, do it better through sport. They are the global experts in providing consultancy and strategy delivery to brands, sports teams, leagues, federations, talent and governments who want to do good business and create positive social change. Having helped create this initiative for ESPN, thinkBeyond now supports in the implementation across the world.