LA28’s Youth Sports Programme PlayLA Reaches Over Half-A-Million Children in Five Years

Mar 19, 2024 1:00 PM ET

International Olympic Committee news

Even before the handover from Paris 2024 to the Olympic and Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028 late this summer, children across Los Angeles are already enjoying more opportunities to play sport.

Enrolment has nearly doubled for PlayLA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and LA28-funded programme that offers affordable and accessible sport to young people of all abilities. Over 176,000 participants enrolled for the 2022-2023 programme, marking an impressive increase from the previous year.

The programme, which costs as little as USD 10 per participant and offers waivers to qualifying families, has now supported more than 500,000 young people to play Olympic and Paralympic sports across Los Angeles since 2018. It includes signature programmes such as judo, skateboarding, surfing, para surfing and blind soccer.

Run by the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Recreation and Parks, the PlayLA programme was made possible by an agreement between the IOC and LA28, committing to invest up to USD 160 million in the lead-up to the Games, to fund quality sports programming for youngsters of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. It is already paying rich dividends.

PlayLA by the Numbers

With the addition of 18 new programmes, including nine adaptive sport programmes, PlayLA hosted more than 3,000 clinics at 154 parks and recreation centres, aquatic centres and pool locations during the 2022-2023 school year. Over a third of participants were between 8 and 10 years old, 56 per cent of them boys and 44 per cent girls. 

“Organising the Olympic Games goes hand-in-hand with the responsibility to deliver long-term benefits for people and cities, and is part of our commitment to building a better world through sport,” says Tania Braga, IOC Head of Olympic Games Impact and Legacy.

Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the IOC’s roadmap for the future, includes a strong mandate to hosts to offer opportunities for people to get active through community-wide programmes and participation events, before, during and after the Olympic Games.

Tania Braga IOC Head of Olympic Games Impact & Legacy

With barriers to access thus lowered, the programme continues to attract more children.

“It’s been inspiring to see the continued success and growth of the PlayLA programme, especially as the world readies for the Paris Games this summer,” said LA28 Vice-President of Impact, Erikk Aldridge.

PlayLA presents the opportunity for young athletes to feel the excitement of the Games returning to their hometown while introducing them to a wide variety of Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Erikk Aldridge LA28 Vice-President of Impact

The vision of the LA28 Organising Committee is to continue to build on its pre-Games legacy, with its sights set on impacting an estimated one million young participants through the PlayLA programme.