American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett presented the Media and Communications Award to ESPN during the 98th National Convention on Aug. 31.
Each year, the award is presented to an individual or organization for distinguished public service in the field of communications, in a manner which exemplifies or furthers Legion policies or programs and contributes to the preservation of the American way of life.
The nearly four decade old network was presented the award for “outstanding coverage of The American Legion Baseball World Series.”
Since 2011, ESPN has boosted viewership of The American Legion World Series and similar events through their online and television platforms. The undisputed “worldwide leader in sports” received the award from the national commander in front of thousands of Legionnaires and other distinguished guests at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.
“ESPN has become one of the greatest success stories in broadcasting history,” Barnett said. “The 2.2 million members of The American Legion gratefully acknowledge your efforts in promoting The American Legion Baseball program and entertaining the many fans and spectators who appreciate the dedication and excellence of the young athletes who participate.”
Following the presentation, Kevin Martinez, ESPN’s vice president of Corporate Citizenship, presented a $10,000 donation to the Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation.
Past recipients of the award include the late "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, entertainer Ben Stein, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, television commentator Lou Dobbs and the GI Film Festival.