Keeping sports alive: Global stars and everyday heroes

Earlier this month, Rakuten Sports released a special thank you message to fans, athletes and Rakuten members around the world for helping spread optimism and keeping sports alive during the year’s unprecedented string of league and event suspensions.

Rakuten believes in the power of sports.

The video, which features an extraordinary cast of global superstars, including Stephen Curry, Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Lukas Podolski, as well as inspiring everyday heroes, reminds us that “sports always live beyond the stadiums. They live inside us.”

A few everyday heroes from around the world shared clips of how they’ve been keeping sports alive and kicking. Ryu is a 23-year-old freestyle footballer from Japan and is shown entertaining his family members with his amazing ball tricks (00:15). 10-year-old Isa is from Spain. A big fan of Barça, she is featured showing off her skills juggling a soccer ball while skipping rope in her living room (00:28). Based in Los Angeles, Ming is a freelance animator, designer, art director, cosplayer and climber that takes the game of “don’t touch the ground” to the next level (00:35).

 “This one is for the fans,” commented Rahul Kadavakolu, vice president of Rakuten’s Global Sports Business and director of the Global Brand Supervisory Department. “Their love, passion and undying support makes players and teams work harder. It drives them to train more intensely and find innovative new strategies so they can give everything they’ve got back to their fan community. Rakuten is built on the same supportive relationship. Our 1.4 billion global members, merchants, partners and employees — I like to think of them as our teammates and fans — make us what we are. They are helping us shape a brighter tomorrow by walking together with us today.”

The video also pays tribute to all athletes, teams and sports enthusiasts everywhere, and serves as a million-strong round of applause to our sports partners for keeping it together and coming back stronger than ever.

Read the full message from Rakuten Sports below.

It took a while for our favorite sports to come back.
But what’s in our hearts hasn’t changed at all.
And it moved us to create new ways to play, to train, to watch, to celebrate.
Because sports always live beyond the stadiums.
They live inside us. They’re part of who we are. They’ll always find a way out.
It’s you that’s keeping sports alive and kicking. Flipping, throwing, cheering.
You’ve kept sports going. And we say keep it going.
You’ve got real game. And we’re big fans of you.
Thank you for keeping sports alive.

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