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ESPN Announces Initial Coverage Team and Plans for Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015

Live coverage of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 Opening Ceremony will capture the full pageantry of the multiple performances, torch lighting and Parade of Athletes at the Los Angeles Coliseum, as well as interviews, features and reports from Los Angeles. ESPN's nightly studio programs will deliver stories, vignettes and features from around the World Games, as well as recapping the key results from each days' competitions.

Press Release

Bristol, Connecticut - ESPN, the official media partner of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015), today announced its initial coverage team and plans for the event that will begin July 25 with live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at 9 p.m. ET.  Additionally, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will serve as co-captains during the Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America, participating and supporting the relay that will carry the Flame of Hope as it travels along three simultaneous cross-country routes and meet in Los Angeles for the World Games.

ESPN & ABC coverage of the Special Olympics World Games LA2015

ESPN's coverage will include the three-hour live telecast of the Opening Ceremony and nightly studio programs from Los Angeles throughout the week-long event. Coverage will air primarily on ESPN, with some programs appearing on ABC or ESPN2. All ESPN and ESPN2 programs will also being simulcast on WatchESPN.

Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC's Good Morning America, will join ESPN's Lindsey Czarniak and Kevin Negandhi for coverage of the Opening Ceremonies, while Czarniak and Neghandi will host nightly programs throughout the World Games LA2015.  Award-winning ESPN reporters Jeremy Schaap and Marty Smith will contribute features and reporting throughout ESPN's week-long coverage and ESPN's Holly Rowe will follow the Special Olympics USA team throughout the day of the Opening Ceremony. Additionally, Dustin Plunkett, a Special Olympics Global Messenger, athlete and Board Member of LA2015 and Special Olympics Southern California, will contribute to ESPN's coverage.

"The Special Olympics World Games is a truly compelling event, filled with some of the most extraordinary sports stories and people you will ever see, and we are looking forward to showcasing them," said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President, ESPN International. "Sports has the power to be unifying, uplifting and life-changing, and this event will be a remarkable and tangible example of that power."

Added Negandhi, "It's an honor to be a part of such an amazing event featuring athletes from around the world. I had the chance to personally witness their love and passion for sport and competition at last year's southern California Special Olympics Summer Games Invitational and at this year's NBA All Star Weekend. It blew me away. It was an opportunity for full inclusion and the joy on everyone's faces, from the athletes to their families to the volunteers, was unmatched. I can't wait to showcase that joy during our broadcasts on ESPN this summer."

Live coverage of the Opening Ceremony will capture the full pageantry of the multiple performances, torch lighting and Parade of Athletes at the Los Angeles Coliseum, as well as interviews, features and reports from Los Angeles.  ESPN's nightly studio programs will deliver stories, vignettes and features from around the World Games, as well as recapping the key results from each days' competitions.

ESPN's coverage of will also be delivered to millions of fans around the world, both on ESPN networks and through syndication partners.   It will appear on ESPN networks and media platforms in the U.S., Mexico, Spanish-speaking Latin America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Special Olympics, ESPN and the World Games Organizing Committee are together identifying additional regional media partners to bring the World Games to as many fans and sports participants around the world as possible.

With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games - being staged in Los Angeles July 25 - August 2, 2015 - will be the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.  The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region.  The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. 

Special Olympics World Games LA2015 Schedule

Day/Date

Program

Time (ET)

Network

Saturday, July 25

Special Olympics World Games LA2015 Opening Ceremony*

9 p.m.

ESPN *

Sunday, July 26

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN2

Monday, July 27

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN

Tuesday, July 28

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN

Wednesday, July 29

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN

Thursday, July 30

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN2

Friday, July 31

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN2

Saturday, August 1

ESPN on ABC Sports Saturday

4 p.m.

ABC

Saturday, August 1

Special Olympics World Games LA2015

7 p.m.

ESPN

Friday, August 7

Best of Special Olympics World Games LA2015 & Closing Ceremony

7 p.m.

ESPN

Saturday, August 8

ABC Sports Saturday - Best of Special Olympics World Games LA2015

4pm

ABC

Notes
All shows will re-air on ESPN2 later the same night.
* KABC in Los Angeles will re-air the Opening Ceremony coverage immediately following ESPN (9p.m.-12.a.m. PT)

Mike & Mike to be co-captains in Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America

ESPN's Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, hosts of Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio, simulcast on ESPN2, will participate as co-captains in the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America. In the role, they will participate in a segment of the Relay, helping to carry the torch and deliver the Flame of Hope to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games LA2015 while also raising awareness of the opportunity for anyone to take part. 

It was previously announced that John Skipper, President, ESPN, Inc. and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, is among a group of corporate leaders who will also participate in The Unified Relay Across America.

The Unified Relay Across America will give anyone in the country a chance to carry the Flame of Hope, which will be lit in Athens, Greece, and help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games LA2015. Over the course of 46 days, in a hand-to-hand exchange, over 20,000 participants will run, walk or bike a segment of the relay in this team and individual fundraising event as it passes through all 50 states.

Throughout the 46 days, ESPN and ABC media platforms will tell the story of the relay across its multiple media platforms, covering each of the three routes as they cross the country. It will include coverage on ESPN and ABC programs at select stops throughout the relay, media local coverage on ABC-owned stations and affiliates along the routes, and a "Countdown to LA2015" clock on ESPN.com and select ABC digital media, and promotion across ESPN web sites and radio stations as well as ABC affiliate stations - letting people know when the torch is coming to their town and where they can go to support the torch bearers.

The Unified Relay Across America gives anyone in the country a chance to carry the Flame of Hope that will be lit in Athens, Greece and help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games.  Any person or group can get more information and sign up at: www.unifiedrelay.org/

The relay will culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on July 25, 2015.

Contact

ESPN
Paul Melvin
1 860 766 5069
paul.melvin@espn.com

ESPN
Joe Walsh
+1 860 766 5764
joe.walsh@espn.com

 Special Olympics
Christy White
+1 202 824-0307
cwhite@specialolympics.org

 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 Organizing Committee 
Steven Vanderpool
+1 213 805 5224
steven.vanderpool@la2015.org

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and ABC Support of Special Olympics

The Walt Disney Company, together with its businesses and affiliates (including ESPN and ABC), has long supported the Special Olympics. As Special Olympics Games Sponsor and Founding Champion of the LA2015 World Games, Disney celebrates the power of sports to promote social inclusion, and acceptance by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities. 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 strengthen communities and brighten the lives of kids and families. 

ESPN's relationship with Special Olympics spans more than 30 years. It is the official broadcaster of the LA2015 Special Olympics World Games, and ESPN and ABC are the Official Media Partners of the Unified Relay Across America. ESPN is also the global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports. In 2013, Disney and ESPN announced  a global two-year, multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment supporting the Special Olympics Unified Sports initiative.

ESPN has been entertaining sports fans for more 35 years and strives to be a responsible corporate citizen. The corporate citizenship program of ESPN encompasses multi-faceted community initiatives, including employee volunteerism, charitable giving and cause marketing, while also utilizing diverse media assets. ESPN strives to have a positive impact on employees, fans and communities worldwide.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.  Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries.  With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year.  Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.  Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympicsfb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq; instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.