NEW YORK, NY (February 14, 2008) -- Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization, has been selected by FOX Sports to be one of four charities featured in its new FOX Sports Supports on-air charitable initiative, devoted to raising awareness, providing financial assistance and spurring volunteerism for select health-related charities. The organizations chosen for the first campaign have been assigned to one of FOX Sports' primary broadcast properties. Autism Speaks kicks off the campaign on Sunday, February 17 (2:00 PM ET) during FOX Sports' broadcast of the 50th Daytona 500, and will continue to be featured throughout the NASCAR on FOX season.
According to FOX Sports, months of research went into determining a final list of worthwhile organizations to promote. FOX Sports employees were then asked to vote privately to determine the inaugural FOX Sports Supports charities. In addition to Autism Speaks, the other selected organizations are the Alzheimer's Association, the Children's Health Fund and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.
“We are delighted to have been selected for this initiative by employees of FOX Sports, which has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to supporting the work of Autism Speaks,” said Mark Roithmayr, president of Autism Speaks. “We thank everyone at FOX Sports for their efforts to increase awareness of autism and to help us raise much-needed funds to support important autism research.”
"There have been so many incredible moments here at FOX Sports that have made me proud over the last 14 years, but this initiative ranks above all the rest," said David Hill, Chairman of the FOX Sports Television Group. "To apply our resources to assist so many people in need gives everyone at FOX Sports an incredibly gratifying feeling."
FOX Sports is backing the FOX Sports Supports initiative with in-game and/or pregame mentions, both verbal and graphic. The network also plans to produce public service announcements using FOX Sports on-air personalities designed to inform, educate and solicit support.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
ABOUT FOX SPORTS
As America's top-rated network for sports for 11-straight years (1997-2007), FOX Sports boasts rights agreements with each of the nation's highest-rated sports. FOX Sports is the exclusive national over-the-air television rights holder of Major League Baseball, including the All-Star Game, alternating League Championship Series and World Series (2007-2013); the National Football League's NFC package, including the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowls XLII and XLV (2006-2011); NASCAR SPRINT Cup racing from February through May, including the Daytona 500 (2007-2014); the Bowl Championship Series, featuring the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, FedEx Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl from 2007 through 2010 and the BCS National Championship Game from 2007 through 2009; and the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Since its inception in 1994, FOX Sports has earned 71 Emmy Awards (through 2006) for production excellence. David Hill and Ed Goren are the Executive Producers of FOX Sports.
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.