The data is alarming: billions have been cut from youth sports programs in recent years and many kids can’t afford to play. A recent study says if the trend continues 27% of U.S. public schools will not offer interscholastic sports programs by 2020. The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation is launching “Sports Matter” today at SXSW to raise awareness for this growing issue, and the foundation will match community donations up to $2 million on a new crowdfunding platform to save or start teams facing financial challenges.
“Youth sports teach essential lifelong values that reach well beyond the court or playing field,” said Ryan Eckel, Vice President of Brand Marketing at DICK’S Sporting Goods. “This is why supporting youth sports should be a bedrock of American community life.”
Today, Eckel, alongside Grant Garrison, Director of Strategy at Good/Corps, will lead a Core Conversation called "Sports Matter: The Need to Support Youth Sports" at 11a.m. at the Driskill Hotel, discussing the importance of addressing this issue.
The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation will also host the official Sports Matter Launch Party tonight at Easy Tiger from 6-10 p.m., with guest appearances from ESPN’s Jon Gruden, actor Michael B. Jordan, Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross, and Best Coast and Quiet Company to provide entertainment. In addition, attendees will view an exclusive sneak peek of a new documentary produced by Tribeca Digital Studios that cuts to the heart of the issue.