In collaboration with ABC, the NBA, and The Undefeated, ESPN has announced the launch of a new forward-thinking initiative, #ChampionBlackBusinesses as part of its “Rise Together” campaign that was unveiled earlier in the season, Black Enterprise reports.
According to Black Enterprise, this co-branded community-based initiative was created to display across ESPN platforms during the NBA finals and beyond as a means to help amplify Black-owned businesses and their stories, while also showcasing their importance and impact on communities around the country.
On the court, only one team can be crowned champion this NBA season. Here at ESPN, we look to crown all Black-owned businesses as true champions of their communities.
— ESPN (@espn) September 30, 2020
“We are incredibly humbled and proud to help tell the story of athletes fighting for not only the championship, but also social justice, and it has inspired us to extend our platform to the champions of the Black community who continue to fight for each other,” said Emeka Ofodile — Vice President of Sports Marketing, ESPN — in a press statement. “By highlighting these stories of determination, leadership and perseverance, we want to show that we can all win when we rise together.”
Complex reports that the campaign will focus on spotlighting bars, restaurants, barbershops, retailers, and other Black-owned businesses in the hometowns of the Western and Eastern Conference champions.
These businesses typically see a spike in foot traffic around this time of the NBA season with fans cheering their teams on, but the coronavirus pandemic has halted that influx of business leaving them at a standstill.
“Black-owned businesses have long been staples in the communities they serve and are making a profound impact in cities where we work and play,” said Danielle Lee, NBA Chief Fan Officer, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with ESPN and the Undefeated to help elevate the voices and stories of Black-owned businesses and business owners in Miami and Los Angeles, furthering our collective commitment to create greater economic opportunity and equity in the Black community.”
According to a news release, the initiative will choose two businesses that will be announced later this week via two unique films highlighting each business’s impact on their respective community.
The news release also reports that the two films will debut and live on ESPN’s digital and social media channels as well as The Undefeated — ESPN’s multi-platform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race, and culture.
Additionally, ABC has agreed to have Mark Cuban and Daymond John from TV series “Shark Tank” mentor both businesses on ESPN platforms. The 2020 NBA Champions will then have the opportunity to run their city’s respective feature across ESPN linear networks.
To continue raising awareness and providing national exposure to other Black-owned businesses, ESPN has asked fans to use the #ChampionBlackBusinesses hashtag on social media throughout the NBA Finals to shout out their favorite Black-owned businesses.
ESPN will then share a full-length list of all Black-owned businesses from the hashtag on The Undefeated’s website.
For more information on this new initiative, click here.