(Courtesy of Athletes Unlimited)

Athletes Unlimited is teaming up with Aspiration on a historic, multi-year partnership that will help the league become the first carbon-neutral sports league based in the United States.

The partnership, which runs through 2023, will begin with the inaugural Athletes Unlimited Basketball season in January and continue through AU’s volleyball, lacrosse and softball seasons. Aspiration, a sustainability service solution for consumers and companies, had previously sponsored AU Softball in 2020 and 2021.

“Aspiration is a perfect partner for Athletes Unlimited and we couldn’t be more pleased to expand their presence in our community,” Athletes Unlimited CEO Jon Patricof said in a release. “Our innovative mindsets and core values are precisely aligned, highlighted by a deep-seated commitment to growing our leagues, investing in our athletes and bettering the world around us. Social responsibility is one of the foundations on which Athletes Unlimited was built, and Aspiration’s expertise will help advise and guide us on how we can minimize our environmental impact.”

The goal of the partnership is to implement sustainability into the day-to-day operations of the league and different athlete and fan experiences.

For the first time in Athletes Unlimited history, jersey sponsorship is included in the partnership. For the next two seasons, basketball and volleyball uniforms will feature Aspiration patches. AU will also feature physical and digital signage elements and activations to help promote sustainability across AU’s four leagues.

In collaboration with the league’s media partners, Aspiration will become the presenting partner of five national broadcasts for each of the four leagues every season.

“This partnership is a testament to the continued growth and traction of the fast-growing sector of women’s pro sports, as well as the power of building complementary leagues across four sports, a network of national TV and digital partners, and robust fan engagement platforms,” Patricof said. “Aspiration is joining a growing group of like-minded partners that see the incredible opportunity ahead of us, and know we are just getting started.”

AU will also introduce new campaigns in 2022, alongside The Aspiration Difference programming, that will be unique to every sports league. For example, AU Basketball will incorporate “Trees for Threes,” committing to plant 10 trees for every successful 3-pointer. As part of the “Round the Bases” campaign in softball, 100 trees will be planted for every run scored. The partners are still developing campaigns for volleyball and lacrosse.

Athletes Unlimited will also incorporate Aspiration’s “Planet Protection” program into every ticket sold, contributing to funding carbon removal projects around the world.

Currently, Aspiration is evaluating Athletes Unlimited’s carbon footprint through a comprehensive assessment. Upon its conclusion, AU will work with the company to outline goals for long-term sustainability as well as adequate vision and strategies.

“Teaming up with Athletes Unlimited, a game changer in the sports industry, feels like the perfect fit,” said Aspiration CEO Andre Cherny. “We both are founded on values of conscience and concern for people and the planet. We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to share the deep understanding we have when it comes to sustainability, and how we can continue expanding this partnership with Athletes Unlimited.”