Playing sports can have lasting cognitive, social and emotional benefits, yet participation is on the decline. This is why today, Gatorade, the leader in sports fuel, announced Fuel Tomorrow, a new multi-year initiative to help everyone have equal opportunities to play sports and realize their potential.
Playing sports can improve an athlete’s chances of succeeding in school, going to college and provide other long-term benefits like lower levels of depression, higher self-esteem and more productivity at work. Yet, there are significant barriers that prevent many kids, especially girls, those from low-income backgrounds, and Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ youth, from playing sports.
“At Gatorade, we understand the power sport has to change lives, and while we have a long-standing history of serving athlete communities, our ambition is to do more to create positive change,” said Brett O’Brien, Gatorade senior vice president and general manager. “The inequities preventing kids from playing sports need to be addressed, and as the leader in sports fuel, it’s our responsibility to invest our voice and resources in ways that will create lasting impact.”
Gatorade plans to use its brand platform to educate about the power of sport and help remove barriers by focusing Fuel Tomorrow on three areas:
1. Programs: Resourcing community programs that help kids play in a safe, welcoming environment
2. Access: Providing access to sports facilities, equipment and transportation
3. Training: Training coaches on how to be champions for equity and inclusion
The initiative will come to life through collaborations with leading social-impact organizations and will be implemented across longstanding brand programs. Gatorade is joining forces with national organizations, including Athlete Ally, Good Sports, Honest Game Foundation, Laureus USA, and the Women’s Sports Foundation, tapping into their grassroots networks and expertise to co-develop measures and actions that advance equity in sports. The multi-year initiative includes an initial $10 million investment in these organizations and more to advance their work. The brand will also develop community partnerships with The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation and Walmart, and other key retailers.
And finally, starting this year, Gatorade will infuse diversity, equity and inclusion trainings and educational resources across its programming with athletic trainers, coaches and registered dietitians.
To drive momentum behind the initiative, Gatorade will launch a Fuel Tomorrow creative campaign, a manifestation of the brand’s vision for a world where everyone has access to sport. The campaign will feature a hero film (link) and integrated marketing efforts across TV, digital and social platforms. The film features basketball superstars Candace Parker and Damian Lillard alongside young phenom Izzy Escribano and will debut during NBA All-Star Weekend 2022 with on-the-ground efforts to support the local Cleveland community.
“As a female athlete, I’ve faced many barriers over the years both on and off the court, which is why I love working with brands who are driving positive change for the next generation,” said Candace Parker, 2x WNBA Champion, 3x WNBA MVP and Gatorade athlete. “While we’ve come a long way, there’s more work to be done and, as a mom, I’m looking forward to working together with Gatorade to build a better future for all athletes.”
While Fuel Tomorrow is a new initiative, Gatorade has been giving back to athlete communities for years. Since 2017, through the brand’s notable Player Of The Year program, Gatorade has donated more than $3 million to organizations whose missions are to keep athletes in the game. In 2021, Gatorade launched its Women’s Advisory Board to tackle specific barriers female athletes face, and partnered with Angel City FC, which allocates 10% of its revenue to keeping girls in sports. Most recently at Super Bowl LVI, in partnership with Laureus USA, the brand announced it will pay facility fees until 2024 for the Woodcraft Rangers, a social-impact organization in Los Angeles, to ensure local youth have access to play sports.
To learn more about Fuel Tomorrow, visit gatorade.com/community.