Varsity Spirit—the global leader in apparel, camps and competitions for cheerleaders, dance teams and bands, and a division of Varsity Brands, the market leader in team sports, school spirit and achievement recognition— and ESPN today jointly-announced that they have extended their partnership to televise cheerleading and dance team championships through 2025. Varsity Spirit cheerleading and dance team championships have been featured on ESPN since 1983 and is one of ESPN's longest-running collaborators.
Under the terms of the extension, ESPN will televise 10 hours of programming each year on its networks from Varsity Spirit's prestigious events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World® Resort, including the UCA & UDA College Cheerleading & Dance Team National Championship, UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC), and UDA National Dance Team Championship (NDTC). The NHSCC and NDTC are endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations – a reflection of their shared values and of the high standards that Varsity Spirt has developed.
With the news of Varsity Spirit and ESPN's extended relationship, Varsity Spirit looks forward to celebrating 40 years on ESPN in 2023.
"For the past 38 years we've been proud to work with ESPN," said Bill Seely, President of Varsity Spirit. "We are thrilled to continue that relationship so that, together, we can continue highlighting the talents and athleticism of cheerleading and dance teams across the nation. These teams work year-round to support their school's sports teams, and showcasing them on ESPN is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to be recognized and rewarded for their passion and commitment."
Since 1995 Varsity Spirit has welcomed millions of athletes and coaches to Walt Disney World® Resort. The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is an 8,000-seat multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena and the first facility in the world designed specifically for cheer and dance competitions.
"We've enjoyed working with Varsity since the early days of ESPN," said Nick Dawson, Vice President of Programming and Acquisitions. "We look forward to continuing that relationship for years to come and providing a platform for the amazing dance and cheer athletes competing for championships."
Varsity Spirit recently announced that due to COVID-19 safety concerns, its 2021 national championships held at Walt Disney World® Resort have been rescheduled to April. Varsity Spirit and Walt Disney World® Resort have made several modifications to the championship experience after considering guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. For more information, please visit varsity.com.
About Varsity Spirit
Memphis-based Varsity Spirit, the driving force behind cheerleading's dynamic transformation into the high-energy, athletic activity it is today, is the leading global source for all things spirit, including cheerleading, dance team and performing arts. A division of Varsity Brands, Varsity Spirit is a leader in uniform innovation, as well as educational camps, clinics and competitions, impacting more than a million athletes each year. Focused on safety, entertainment and traditional school leadership, Varsity Spirit's 5,000+ employees have been dedicated to celebrating school spirit through its brands since 1974. For more information about Varsity Spirit or Varsity Brands, please visit varsity.com or varsitybrands.com.
ESPN, the world's leading sports entertainment enterprise, features more than 50 assets – nine U.S. television networks, direct-to-consumer ESPN+, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, endeavors on every continent around the world, and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.