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First Little League Public Service Announcement to Debut on ESPN

Some of the “actors” from the public service announcements (PSAs) pose for a group photo at the end of filming.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Jan. 31, 2007) – The first of four public service announcements (PSAs), designed to recruit kids and parents for Little League Baseball and Softball, will begin appearing this month and throughout the year across 15 ESPN platforms, including ESPN on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN HD, and many more.

The campaign is part of Little League’s new TV contract with ESPN, which will extend the relationship between the world’s largest youth sports program and the world’s leader in sports television through Little League’s 75th anniversary in 2014.

“We’re delighted with these spots,” Lance Van Auken, senior communications executive of Little League International, said. “They communicate the all-inclusive nature of Little League, with a great sense of energy and a contemporary look. It will be a big plus to have messaging on the air in the winter and spring this year, in addition to the weeks leading up to the 49 televised games we will have on ESPN and ESPN2 this August.”

Televising all eight of the Little League Baseball and Softball World Series championships is another aspect of the contract extension with ESPN. It will be the first time that games from all of Little League’s various World Series will be televised.

Seattle-based remerinc completed the campaign for Little League International.

“Our strategy for this campaign was to forego the cliché images of winning moments and instead highlight the simple acts of participation and having fun,” said remerinc CEO and Creative Director, Dave Remer. “The client was completely supportive of that sensibility and the spots are the better for it.”

Added remerinc Vice President of Strategy and Client Services, Andrea Jones, “While these spots were PSAs, we wanted to avoid a predictable PSA vibe. The concepts we shot helped with that, as did the use of 35 mm film, which gave the entire campaign a polished look and feel.

Each of the spots concentrates on a different theme and ends with an invitation to, “Sign up and get in the game.”

“Around the Horn” symbolizes the community nature of Little League by following a ball as it’s thrown from one participant to another – including male and female players of all ages, parents who cheer their kids on, and other adults who volunteers in many ways. (A low-resolution video of the “Around the Horn” PSA is available here: http://www.littleleague.org/video/psa_01.htm)

“My Favorite Things” introduces Little League Softball by following three female softball players as they talk about what they like most about Little League, both on the field and off.

“Being There” speaks to the importance of adult volunteers and demonstrates that supporting the kids desire to play is more important than possessing great skills.

“One Size” teaches the viewer that Little League Baseball doesn’t end in the teenage years, but is really just beginning – giving kids a place to play through age 18.

Other aspects of Little League’s contract extension with ESPN that will provide direct financial befit to local Little Leagues are:

Free Background Checks – In partnership with ChoicePoint, Little League International will provide every local Little League in the U.S. with 80 free criminal background checks of volunteers in each league. Additional checks will be $1 each. This represents a savings of more than $1 million annually for local Little Leagues.

Charter Fee Reduction – For the first time in Little League’s 68-year history, the fees paid by the local volunteer organizations to become “chartered” Little Leagues will decrease for every division of play. In 2006, charter fees were $18 per team. In 2007, fees have been lowered to $16 per team, representing a savings of more than $350,000 per year for local leagues.

Coaching Initiative – Still being formulated, it is Little League International’s intent to offer an on-line coaches resource center and training program at no charge to all Little League managers and coaches worldwide. Based on the fees charged to individual coaches or leagues in other youth baseball and softball programs, this initiative represents a potential savings of millions of dollars for hundreds of thousands of local Little Leagues and volunteers.

About Little League International
Little League International (littleleague.org), founded in 1939 in Williamsport, Pa., is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, made up of nearly 200,000 teams, more than 2.6 million children and 1 million volunteers in every U.S. state and 75 other countries.

About remerinc
remerinc (remerinc.com) is a full-service advertising and creative marketing agency, specializing in building, driving, and reinforcing strong brands. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Seattle, the agency has produced award-winning work for a diverse range of clients. Clients include ABC, ESPN, Getty Images, Starbucks, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, and MSN. It is the recent winner of a Cannes Gold Lion in the category of Best Customer Marketing for an international integrated campaign.