ABOUT THE PROJECT
ESPN believes in the power of sport to transform lives and build communities. This project was designed to develop an opportunity for communities across the continent to gain access to places to play sports safely and receive the social benefits sports has to offer. The objectives of the project are:
1. Build a recreational space dedicated to sports that is open to all
2. Deliver sports programming to young people on the sports space that focuses on providing them with life skills and tools needed to achieve a better future
Built by community volunteers and ESPN employees, the space will be the home of sustainable programming teaching young people job skills through sports.
Civic leaders, community residents, government officials, and ESPN and Disney employees gathered in the community of Transportistas in Chimalhuacán today to participate in the opening of a new court space built especially for the community and its residents. The global project is led by ESPN and sports development organizations love.fútbol and A Ganar, alongside local organizations Street Soccer Mexico and Deportivo Don Bosco.
The newly revitalized space will be home to ongoing programming 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 organization A Ganar, which uses sports as a vehicle to provide communities across Latin America with training and skills that lead to employment and enables young people to achieve success in life. The court space was enhanced by a KaBOOM! playground built to inspire kids to get up, get outside and get active. The new playground is one of dozens made possible with support from The Walt Disney Company, and it will provide a safe place to play for thousands of children in the area.
Hosted by ESPN Mexico talent, Miroslava Montemayor and John Sutcliffe, the event was attended by John Skipper, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president of ESPN; Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director, ESPN International; Gerardo Casanova, vice president and general manager, Latin America North; along with community residents, ESPN and Disney employees, as well as government officials. The celebration included cultural performances by local youth, 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 serve communities around the world with programs that help us spread this message,” said John Skipper, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president of ESPN. “We are also excited to get our employees in Mexico involved in this effort and we look forward to seeing the community take advantage of this new space.”
“ESPN is committed to providing resources to kids in Mexico City to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director, ESPN International. “We are pleased to collaborate with love.fútbol, A Ganar, KaBOOM!, Deportivo Don Bosco and Street Soccer Mexico to build this court and playground in a community where there is a need, as it can truly make a difference.”
The community of Transportistas in Chimalhuacán, carefully selectedbased on need, population and socio-economic status, will see sports and play opportunities renewed by the addition of this safe space. Located in a highly populated area that has high instances of violence, the space is the only active public place dedicated to sports in the surrounding neighborhood.
“We are thrilled to be able to support this community with sports programs that inspire social change,” said Gerardo Casanova, vice president and general manager, Latin America North. “We’re proud to team up with local and global organizations to ensure that people in these communities have access to a safe, accessible place to play sports.”
love.fútbol, which builds community sports facilities all over the world, helped to select the location for the new court, working closely with the local municipality, as well as Street Soccer Mexico, which has decades of experience providing services to the local community. The court was built and beautified with the help of community residents and ESPN employees.
The event came on the heels of ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast of the NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans, giving Mexico City fans an opportunity to experience American football up close and personal.
ESPN Mexico: Since its launch in 1989, ESPN Mexico has expanded to include a portfolio of television, radio, print, broadband and digital brands to reach the Mexican sport fan. ESPN Mexico offers four 24-hour sport networks – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN 3 and ESPN HD. Other platforms include ESPN Radio Formula - a daily, national syndicated radio program, ESPN.com an online platform with the widest range of sports and entertainment news for Spanish-speaking sports fans, and ESPN Magazine – an application for tablets with original sports content. Sportscenter – made and produced in Mexico and televised on ESPN2, continues to raise the bar as the brands flagship news and information show. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN. The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with four business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment and consumer products.
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 most pressing 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 www.espn.com/citizenship.
The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Being a good corporate citizen is a time-honored Disney tradition. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteering, Disney helps to brighten the lives of kids and families in need and strengthen communities around the world. For more information visit, thewaltdisneycompany.com/citizenship or twitter.com/citizendisney.
love.fútbol: love.fútbol creates community soccer fields that act as community centers 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.
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.
Street Soccer Mexico: Street Soccer Mexico is a civil association nonprofit that seeks social reintegration of people who for various reasons live is marginal situations. Using sport as a tool for change, Street Soccer Mexico generates spaces, using street for football to encourage kids to get involved in live experiences through responsibility, leadership and discipline that sport encourages. By staying away from drugs, streets and styles of unhealthy life, this sends a dignified image and at the same time encourages kids to respect themselves.
Deportivo Don Bosco: Since almost 20 years ago, Deportivo Don Bosco Chimalhuacán, has been developing Sports and cultural activities, always benefiting the kids and youth of the community of Transportistas, as well as other neighboring communities. Currently, over 600 youth participate on Deportivo Don Bosco’s activities. By 2020, Deportivo Don Bosco Chimalhuacán seeks to position itself as a reference on community development, continuing to improve its physical structure, and consequently doubling the amount of youth reached.
KaBOOM!: KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.1 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters: visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.
Since taking the helm as ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks on January 1, 2012, John Skipper has secured ESPN’s leadership position in the crowded sports media landscape into the next decade with bold moves and a commitment to live championship events delivered across every available platform, including a rapidly growing focus on digital and mobile applications.
Skipper has charged the ESPN workforce “to think like an insurgent and not like an incumbent” as they continue to fulfill the company’s mission “to serve sports fans anytime, anywhere.”
Most noteworthy, Skipper has led ESPN to a series of long-term, multiplatform agreements with major rightsholders (all through at least 2021) and distributors:
- Major League Baseball, the College Football Playoff, NBA, ACC, Big 12, US Open tennis, Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls, WNBA, American Athletic Conference, Mountain West Conference
- In addition, ESPN and the SEC announced a 20-year agreement to create and operate the ESPN SEC Network and digital platforms, while extending the existing media rights agreement through 2034.
- Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, AT&T U-Verse, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NTRC), National Telco Television Consortium (NTTC), National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), Suddenlink, Mediacom, DIRECTV, DISH (including their innovative Sling TV broadband video subscription service) and multi-stream DMVPD service Sony PlayStation Vue.
Skipper holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, respectively. He joined ESPN in 1997 and had served as executive vice president, content, prior to being named president.
Russell Wolff was promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president in November 2004. He has served as managing director of ESPN International since June 2002. He is based in ESPN International’s New York City headquarters and reports directly to John Skipper, President, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks.
Wolff is fully responsible for all of ESPN’s international businesses in over 61 countries and territories across all seven continents, which include partial or whole ownership of 24 networks televised outside of the United States, a broad portfolio of leading online and mobile brands and services, and radio businesses in five countries. He also oversees a variety of ancillary international businesses including consumer products, broadband and syndication.
Among his accomplishments with ESPN, Wolff has been responsible for guiding ESPN’s digital expansion including the launch of broadband platforms across the world and the growth of leading websites such as ESPNFC, ESPNCricinfo.com, ESPNscrum.com, ESPNF1.com, ESPN.com, and ESPN.com.br – ESPN Brasil’s portal.
Wolff also spearheaded a project to establish ESPN’s first branded television network in Europe and the growth of networks in the rest of the EMEA region. In July 2013, he oversaw ESPN International’s strategic refinements to the company’s15-year old businesses in the region, that led to a brand licensing agreement with BT Sport to own and operate the UK and Ireland ESPN-branded channel; the rest of ESPN networks in Africa, the Middle East, the UK and Ireland went off air that same month. The refocus has resulted in an emerging multimedia business that successfully operates digital products and television syndication.
As executive vice-president, Wolff has also been a key driver of ESPN’s continued growth and leadership in Latin America. Under his direction, the company has grown into a multimedia business that includes 13 television networks, the most diverse portfolio of programming and sports events, and the operation of production facilities and offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico to further localize the business offerings.
Wolff first joined ESPN International in 1997 as vice president, managing the company’s business interests in the Pacific Rim. In 1998, he joined ESPN Star Sports, as vice president of programming and event management and was later promoted to senior vice president. Wolff returned to ESPN in 2000 as senior vice president to manage programming, marketing, and the company’s businesses in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
After graduating from Dartmouth College with an A.B. degree in 1989, Wolff began his career at the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago (1989-1992). Shortly afterwards, he returned to Dartmouth and received his M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration. From 1994 to 1997, he worked at MTV Networks as director, market development, handling affiliate sales and marketing to alternative distributors for MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and Nick at Nite’s TV Land.
Wolff serves on the boards of CTV Specialty Television, Inc. and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He also serves as an advisor on the television council of FIBA, the international Basketball Federation.
Gerardo Casanova joined ESPN as the company’s first-ever general manager in Mexico in December 2005. Casanova is based in ESPN’s Mexico City offices where he heads the Disney & ESPN Media Networks for the Latin-American North region.
Among other activities Casanova is responsible for all of ESPN’s business in Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Venezuela and Mexico (North Latin).
Prior to joining ESPN, Casanova served as director of International Business for Grupo Televisa. In this role, he was responsible for international strategy and new business development, including the creation of Televisa Home Entertainment. Earlier in his career, Casanova held several positions with Mexico’s Ministry of Economics, including Chief Advisor to the Undersecretary of Economics, where he advised on issues relating to business, trade, and technology policy.
Gerardo Casanova has a B.A. degree in Economics from the Anahuac University as well as a Doctoral in Political Economy, a Masters in Politics, Economics and Business from the Claremont University and The Peter F. Druker School of Management USA. He also has Graduate Studies in Global Finance from the London School of Economics.
Miroslava Montemayor began her career at ESPN in December 2015 as reporter of the NFL Live Spanish-language show and Los Capitanes with José Ramón Fernández, Rafael Puente and Hector Huerta, amongst others. Miroslava has conducted the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Acapulco and Los Cabos and the OHL Classic Mayakoba, the only PGA golf tournament outside the US and Canada.
Miroslava started her sportscasting career in Monterrey appearing in TV Azteca Noreste sports show and conducting the 2015 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona. She also covered for the Tigres de la UANL in their university stadium.
Montemayor studied Business Administration with specialty in Industrial Engineering. Also, won Nuestra Belleza Internacional México 2013 and represented Mexico at Miss International 2013.
John Sutcliffe began his career at ESPN in August 2000. The Mexico City-based reporter served as SportsCenter’s Mexican soccer correspondent and has contributed to various studio shows. Since joining ESPN, he has been the network’s official Mexican National Team correspondent. Today, he reports on various other sports including golf, the NBA and the NFL.
Sutcliffe has covered the Mexican National Team during five FIFA World Cups (’94, ’98, ’02, ’06 and ’10). In addition to his Mexican soccer duties, Sutcliffe can often be found on the sidelines reporting for Monday Night Football or covering any of the PGA majors.
Sutcliffe’s vast knowledge of sports can be credited to his many years as a sports broadcaster. Before joining ESPN, the Mexico City native worked for various Spanish-language media companies including Univision and Telemundo.
Sutcliffe received his degree in business administration from the Anahuac University in Mexico.