With the ESPY Awards, ESPN has gotten into a non-TV business, one that has generated more than $97 million for cancer research.
At the first ESPY Awards ceremony in 1993, college basketball coach Jim Valvano gave his famous “Never Give Up” speech that launched the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The ESPYs have grown into a annual event in which leagues, top teams, famous athletes and celebrities participate It has also grown into ESPY Week, filled with ESPN-created fundraising opportunities and endeavors, including the Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Classics, The ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic and the ESPYs auction.
After cancer killed ESPN’s Stuart Scott in 2015, ESPN collaborated with the V Foundation to develop the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, which focuses on helping African Americans and other minorities affected by cancer.
In 2015 ESPN created the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which take place the night before the ESPYs, to recognize people who have used sports to improve society. The event has raised millions of dollars for the honorees charities and benefits the Stuart Scott Cancer Research Fund.