LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA Parks and LA28 today launched PlayLA, an initiative to provide affordable and accessible sports programming to young Angelenos of all abilities. The initiative is made possible by the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the International Olympic Committee, which are investing $160 million to make sports more accessible to kids across Los Angeles ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028. This initiative is the single largest commitment to youth sport development in California.
“We seized an unprecedented opportunity during our bid for the Games to bring an historic community investment to Los Angeles, and the best part is we don’t have to wait until 2028 to see the benefits,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’re delivering affordable access to youth sports programs across our city right now -- and we know how transformative that opportunity can be, especially for low-income families. I am grateful to LA28, the IOC and all of the partners that have helped make this incredible program possible, and I can’t wait to get out there and see our young athletes in action.”
Through the LA Parks Department, PlayLA will ensure every child ages 5-17 has an opportunity to participate in low cost, or no cost, quality sports programming in their neighborhood.
"An investment in neighborhood parks is an investment in our families and community. The benefits are priceless," said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. "Outdoor spaces that are responsive to the needs of the neighborhood and offer programming and activities that residents want become the heartbeat of community life. Council District 8 has made it a practice to invest in programming to keep everyone active and invested in our parks. LA28's contribution is a welcome and golden opportunity for thousands of children across Los Angeles to participate on sports teams."
“The LA28 Games are so much more than a sports event,” said LA28 Chairperson Casey Wasserman. “The Games are a platform for positive impact. We know we will deliver an incredible Games for athletes and fans across Los Angeles and around the world, but if all we do is host an amazing event, we will have missed our greatest chance. Providing kids opportunities to be part of sport so they can realize their potential is just one of the many ways the Games can leave a lasting legacy for Los Angeles.”
The City of Los Angeles is launching PlayLA with an initial $9.6 million grant from the LA28 Games to the LA Parks Department to subsidize participation fees throughout the school year for leagues, classes, and clinics for sports including tennis, golf, basketball, soccer, judo, and aquatics.
“The launch of PlayLA is a huge accomplishment for LA Parks and for the scores of city youth who will become members of the best, all inclusive multi-sports program to equip them for a lifetime of activity, connection, and positive experiences,” said Mike Shull, General Manager, LA Parks. “We are incredibly thankful for the support and opportunity Mayor Eric Garcetti, our LA City Council and the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Organization has provided to expand access to sports for youth and families with the greatest need and to create possibilities for a brighter future in advance of the LA28 Games.”
PlayLA will offer adaptive sports programs for kids with physical disabilities – a first in the City's youth sports programming. For the inaugural season, PlayLA and the LA28 Games are exploring a variety of sports, including sitting volleyball, adaptive swimming, goalball, para equestrian, para surfing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive athletics, wheelchair tennis and paracanoe.
“It’s incredible to see the LA28 Games’ youth sport commitment coming to life throughout Los Angeles with the launch of this inspiring PlayLA sport programming for kids of all abilities,” said LA28 Coordination Commission Chair Nicole Hoevertsz from Aruba, who competed in synchronized swimming at the LA84 Olympic Games. “When Los Angeles won the bid to host the Games, the International Olympic Committee worked closely with LA28 to plan a $160 million investment in local youth sports leading up to the 2028 Games. This program will give children the opportunity to enjoy the tremendous benefits that traditional and adaptive sports have to offer and we congratulate all those involved in the delivery of PlayLA.”
In 2018, Mayor Garcetti launched SwimLA to increase affordable opportunities for young Angelenos to learn a life-saving skill that helps keep them healthy and active. Swim LA sought to double enrollment in swim classes across all City pools.
“Access to sports at a young age made me who I am,” said LA28 Chief Athlete Officer and five-time Olympic medalist Janet Evans. “Sports are so important for our individual and collective physical and mental health. It doesn’t matter whether you’re competing for a gold medal or playing with your best friends - sport teaches us lessons we carry with us for life. And that should be available to everyone.”
Registration for the PlayLA winter season opens today. Cost of participation is $10 per person. All programs will follow public health guidance. For more information or to register, visit LAParks.org/PlayLA. You can also use the new LA Parks mobile app, which is available for free on Google Play and the Apple App store.