Just a couple months after ESPN’s 15th Annual V Week in support of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the numbers are in, and they’re record breaking.
This year, with the support of ESPN fans, employees and partners, ESPN raised more than $13.35 million during V Week to support the V Foundation’s fight to achieve Victory Over Cancer®. This surpasses the previous record total of $8.8 million set in 2019.
“As the pandemic continues to pose many challenges, we entered V Week knowing that overall funding for cancer research was declining, and we hoped our messages to support cancer research would resonate,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “We are overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of our fans, employees and partners, as well as the outpouring support for Dick Vitale. We are proud of this incredible record-breaking milestone and we remain committed to accelerating our efforts, knowing that 100% of every donation is directed to science and research to find victory over cancer.”
In addition to overall donations to the V Foundation, some of ESPN’s larger activations that helped generate excitement throughout the month included:
- #VStrongBaby: ESPN developed the hashtag #VStrongBaby to show support for ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who is currently documenting his journey after being diagnosed with lymphoma in October. Direct-to-social fundraising contributed to more than $25,000 and had 2.1 million total engagements.
- Campaign for a Cause: ESPN, StockX and the V Foundation collaborated to award fans who donated with celebrity sneakers and memorabilia. Some items fans took home included Drake x NOCTA x TaylorMade: P·790 Irons (Drake Friends & Family Set), Kevin Durant signed Nike KD14, Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski signed Nike LeBron XVIII Duke PE, among many other items.
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Collaboration: The V Foundation and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. joined forces for the second year in a row for the “Give & Go” campaign in honor of longtime ESPN anchor and Alpha Brother, Stuart Scott, to raise awareness and fundraise to improve outcomes of African American and other minorities disproportionately affected by cancer.
- UFC Fight Like Hell Night: UFC dedicated its Sat., Dec. 4 Fight Night to the V Foundation’s Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund. UFC made a $100,000 donation and encouraged fans to donate throughout the month.
- Jim Valvano’s ESPYS Speech Roadblock: The annual “roadblock” aired at 7 p.m. ET on Wed., Dec. 1, featuring a tribute to Vitale as he continues to be an inspiration in his battle against cancer, and Valvano’s “Don’t Give Up” ESPYS speech.
Of course, it wouldn’t be V Week without the Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s Classic games, too, with $5 million in check presentations taking place throughout the four marquee matchups.
“The outpouring of support for me during my journey truly touches my heart,” Vitale said. “Tears are rolling down my eyes seeing the unbelievable results of ESPN’s V Week. It is absolutely AWESOME BABY with a Capital A!”