ESPN Dedicates Multifunctional Sports Court in Rio



Built by community volunteers and ESPN employees, the new safe play space will be the home of sustainable programs teaching young people employa­­bility skills through sports. 

Community leaders, residents, government officials and special guests gathered in Morro dos Macacos, Rio de Janeiro, on Saturday to participate in the opening of a new multifunctional sports court dedicated to the local community and its residents. The global project was led by ESPN and community organizations love.fútbol, A Ganar, and INATOS.

The court and surrounding area, refurbished with the help of community members and ESPN employees, will be the home to ongoing programs for young people in the community where they will learn job skills and be empowered to fulfill their potential, all through the power of sports.  The program was developed by award-winning program A Ganar, which provides communities across Latin America with training and skills that lead to employment through soccer.

Hosted by ESPN Brasil talent, Juliana Veiga and Gustavo Hofman, the event included cultural performances by local kids and samba schools, as well as special recognition of community members who volunteered their time to the project.

“It is in ESPN’s DNA to help disadvantaged communities, promoting social action through sports,” said German Hartenstein, general manager of ESPN Brasil. “We believe in the power of sports in the formation of citizens and so it is an honor to open this space that will contribute to the development of children and teenagers.”

“ESPN is committed to providing resources to kids in Rio de Janeiro to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, executive president and managing director, ESPN International. “We are pleased to collaborate with, A Ganar, and INATOS to build this court in a community where there is a need as it can make a difference.”

Morro dos Macacos is home to nearly 15,000 residents and has some of Rio’s lowest rankings in income and education., which builds community sports facilities all over the world, helped to select the location for the new court, working closely with local municipalities, as well as INATOS, a local organization with more than 20 years of experience providing services to the community. The collaboration helped to create a true sense of ownership of the space by the community, enabling ongoing, sustainable and impactful use. 



Alexandra Chalat +44(0)7942598432 

Mano Silva +55(81)92722711 

Lucas Diniz (ESPN Brazil) +55.11.4873.7617

Taylor Nelson (202) 637.6206


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. For more information go to 

ESPN International: ESPN International is a division of ESPN, Inc., which has grown to include ownership — in whole or in part — of 24 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of additional businesses that allow ESPN to reach sports fans in 61 countries and territories across all seven continents. ESPN International business entities include television, radio, print, internet, broadband, wireless, consumer products, and event management. The company and its holdings maintain offices or production facilities in key locations around the world including Bangalore, Bristol, CT, Buenos Aires, Bogota, London, Mexico City, Miami, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. Since 1983, ESPN (originally founded in Bristol, Connecticut, in 1979) has been growing around the world, establishing itself as the leading global sports media brand. The company’s philosophy to global growth is to always serve sports fans and be locally relevant to them, with content and products that tap into their great passion and dedication. 

A GanarLed 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. For more information, visit or @A_Ganar.

love.fútbol: love.fútbol creates community soccer fields that act as community centres and catalysts for sustainable social change. They partner with communities to plan, build and manage low-resource, high-impact fields that encourage informal, creative soccer, act as hubs for social programs, generators of social enterprise and provide authentic, highly-visible touch points for brands. They have worked in some of the most difficult conditions across Latin America. 

UASI: Unión y Amistad de San Isidro works to promote good values, provide heath education and to encourage young people in the area to remain in the education system. A fundamental part of the project is building a sense of community for all the stakeholders taking part. The main objective is for participants to learn, live and convey values whist taking control of their lives. 

INATOS: Instituto de Assistência, Trabalho, Oportunidades e Saúde began in 1983 to support the educational needs of children in Morro dos Macacos, Rio de Janeiro. Throughout the years INATOS began vocational training programs as well as specific projects to address environmental issues. In the 90’s it launched an important partnership with the IDB, Petrobrás, Brazil Foundation and A Ganar, among others, to provide an innovative sports for development program. INATOS currently has Caixa Econômica Federal, ABS Trust and the municipality of Rio de Janeiro as partners.