In just under one month, ESPN’s global coverage of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi will begin with a live three-hour special capturing the inspiration, pageantry, performances and special guests of the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony from Zayed Sports City Stadium on ESPNEWS at 11 a.m. ET.
The 2019 Special Olympics World Games will take place March 14 – 21, and ESPN’s coverage of these Games will include more live coverage of competition than ever before. ESPN, working with host broadcaster Abu Dhabi Media, will provide sports fans with multiple live feeds each day on ESPN3, delivering more than 25 hours of live coverage across venues and competitions including Swimming, Athletics, Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball and more.
Additionally, ESPN will produce an evening studio program airing on ESPN2 and ABC, bringing viewers the incredible stories, athlete profiles and features from around the 2019 World Games, as well as recapping key results from each days’ competitions and more. Following the conclusion of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, ABC will also feature a 2-hour “Best of” special on March 30.
The 2019 World Games are the largest sports and social inclusion event on the planet—showcasing and advancing a world of full inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in sports, education, health and leadership. It’s the first time Special Olympics’ premier event will be held in the Middle East. Organizers expect to welcome more than 7,500 athletes representing more than 190 nations competing in 24 Olympic-style sports with the support of 3,000 coaches, 20,000 volunteers and as many as 500,000 spectators. This year’s games are also the most “Unified” World Games ever, with nearly 60 percent of the 24 sports featuring Special Olympics Unified Sports competitions. Special Olympic Unified Sports bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to compete side by side.
As the global media partner for Special Olympics World Games, ESPN’s coverage will also be carried around the world on ESPN-branded television and streaming networks, including throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America, Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. ESPN and Special Olympics International also work together to identify additional local television distribution in dozens of countries and territories globally where ESPN does not have television networks.