Cause Marketing and PSA Guidelines
ESPN donates more than $15 million a year of media coverage to make our sports fans aware of important causes and issues. Part of ESPN's corporate responsibility is to help identify these issues for public service announcements (PSA) and cause marketing programs.
All charitable requests, promotions and initiatives — including PSA's, graphics and drop-ins — must be discussed with and approved by ESPN Corporate Citizenship in advance of any agreement. Charitable initiatives will be coordinated on a case-by-case, limited basis.
These policies and practices are in place for the following reasons:
- To avoid continual solicitation of fans;
- To work strategically in the best interests of ESPN's charities of interest (e.g., The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which provides grants for many types of cancer);
- To apply fair treatment to all leagues, conferences, teams and other sports organizations; and
- To ensure that charities are cleared for state-by-state and national solicitation, and that government filings are intact.
Due to the overwhelming number of causes and social issues, ESPN and its media networks develop a strategic media schedule months in advance. It is unlikely that any submission will be used without at least a 90-day timeline before.
Any submission sent directly to ESPN's Corporate Citizenship will not be accepted. For more information, contact CommercialClearance@espn.com.
Cause Marketing and PSA Requirements
- No direct solicitation of funds, absent special public interest considerations (e.g., emergency or disaster relief situations).
- In place of direct solicitation of funds it is permissible to say "for more information" or to "learn more" or "log on to _____ for more information."
- Solicitation of volunteer efforts (e.g., "give your time") is permissible.
- All emergency or disaster relief activities for the company are managed solely by Corporate Citizenship in conjunction with The Walt Disney Company.
- No 800 or other phone numbers soliciting donations.
- No political or issue-oriented advocacy messages.
- Content that advocates non-issue oriented messages (e.g., get a colon cancer check-up) is permissible.
- Paid advertising for political candidate campaigns is permissible.
- No content from religious institutions, whether proselytizing or not.
- "Appreciation" material is permissible as approved on a case-by-case (e.g., we appreciate the Alabama National Guard's efforts).
- All cause-related material and government organizations must contain a "Paid for by...", "Sponsored by..." or "Supported by..." declaration.
- Social media components are permissible if they fit within these guidelines.
- Viewers should be directed to the advertiser or league site rather than the charity itself. Other URL and social engagement sites will be considered if they are sponsor led, and not the site of a specific charity, have no direct solicitation and meet the general guidelines (e.g., no advocacy, etc.).