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Volume 26 No. 90
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New ESPN PSA Focuses On Adult Pressure In Youth Sports

A new PSA from ESPN and Arnold Worldwide, Boston, addresses the "issues of excessive injuries from overtraining, burnout, discouragement and demoralization [in youth sports] head-on, and features a young athlete announcing his 'retirement' from sports of any kind," according to Doug Zanger of ADWEEK. Kids today "face increasing pressure to perform on the field at a younger age," and the ad "points a finger squarely at the parents and other adults who levy so much pressure and intensity on children’s shoulders." The 60-second spot also has 30- and 15-second versions. The campaign, with "donated media from ESPN, drives people to the #DontRetireKid social media campaign and Project Play’s website," where athletes like Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, WNBA Seattle Storm G Sue Bird, tennis player Sloane Stephens, ESPN's Julie Foudy and others "share their thoughts on the importance of youth sports in bespoke vignettes to extend the concept" (ADWEEK.com, 8/5). USA TODAY's Logan Newman noted the ad "aims to push boys and girls to continue competing, not just for on-court reasons, but how it can help other aspects of life." The Aspen Institute, the main client for the campaign, said that from '08-18, the amount of kids aged six to 12 who "played sports decreased from 45% to 38%" (USA TODAY, 8/5). CABLEFAX DAILY notes ESPN will "incorporate campaign messaging and discuss the importance of youth sports during live MLB, Little League World Series and X Games telecasts" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 8/6).