ESPN and The Walt Disney Company are joining forces with Special Olympics to encourage more individuals with and without disabilities to play together on sports teams.
In an announcement Friday, the companies said they are putting millions toward backing Special Olympics’ Unified Sports program which forms teams comprised of both athletes with intellectual disabilities and those who are typically developing.
The goal of the partnership is to attract one million athletes and coaches to Unified Sports by 2015, Special Olympics officials said.
As part of the deal, ESPN — which is largely owned by Disney — will provide marketing assistance and run public service announcements touting Unified Sports across their platforms.
Special Olympics will focus on eight target markets for the new effort including Connecticut, central Florida, southern California and Seattle in the United States in addition to Argentina, Brazil, India and Mexico.