Our Initiatives


RePlay is a national effort led by ESPN and LISC to revitalize vacant spaces into places for sports, recreation and play. With support from ESPN in providing grants for planning and implementation, along with LISC’s technical assistance to local, community-based groups and other qualified organizations, we hope to bring vitality back to local neighborhoods by creating courts, playgrounds and other safe places for youth to play and communities to thrive. RePlay is also made possible with the generous support of Under Armour.

Program Background

Vacant lots and properties adversely affect communities in numerous interconnected ways. They are more than just eyesores -- they create a cycle of blight. Research has shown that vacant lots and abandoned properties increase police drug and violence calls, lower property values for the surrounding properties, and erode social cohesion and neighborhood pride. Vacant lots can be potential challenges for cities across America. Residents may see vacant spaces in their neighborhoods with great potential to develop and bring vitality back to their communities, but there are many hurdles to overcome and issues to address to successfully turn vacant spaces into fun places.

ESPN RePlay Program Objectives

The goal of the ESPN RePlay program is to repurpose vacant spaces and increase access to quality recreational opportunities in low to moderate income neighborhoods.  LISC will identify projects and provide technical assistance to local residents and community groups, and assist them from the predevelopment and construction phases to project completion.

Nonprofit, neighborhood-based organizational partners can play a leading role in converting vacant lots into active recreational spaces. With experience in both real estate development and community building, many of these organizations possess the capacity to address both the capital aspects of land development and the program elements (i.e., youth sports tournaments, science fairs, summer festivals, community celebrations and after-school events). Equally important, neighborhood-based organizations have connections to their community that legitimize their operations and draw resident support for their work. Local residents need to have a sense of ownership and see themselves as stakeholders in the creation and maintenance of recreational spaces in order for them to be protected and preserved for long-term use.

ESPN, Under Armour and LISC Announce 2019 Grants

Community organizations and municipalities in Atlanta; Decatur, Ga.; Detroit; Oakland and Toledo, Ohio will receive grants totaling $256,500 to help transform vacant lots into sports, recreation and play spaces.

Learn More

Organizational Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the ESPN RePlay program, organizations applying for grant funds must meet all of the criteria listed below:

  • Be a community-based organization, serving a neighborhood consisting primarily of low and moderate-income families and individuals;
  • Be in existence for at least three years;
  • Have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and have at least one full-time staff person (all-volunteer organizations will not be considered unless partnering with a qualifying local nonprofit); and
  • Have a proven track record in real estate development and parks or youth programming.


Contact sportsandrec@lisc.org.

Want to learn more about RePlay and the application process? Watch our webinar.