Sports have always been linked with the power to bring people together, from a shared love of an individual player or team to moments of international sporting celebration. But it’s not always just about the score – there are even more meaningful ways that sports can influence social change and create a lasting impact on society, particularly through strategic partnerships between sports organizations, brands, and charities.
In this blog post, we will explore how sports marketing professionals can use thoughtful partnership planning and promotion to ensure their place in broader conversations about social issues and make better connections with global audiences who share those values. Here’s what you need to know when implementing your next big project beyond the scoreboard.
What Initiatives do Sports Partnerships Promote and Why are They Important?
Sports partnerships can bring about a multitude of initiatives that benefit not only the world of sports but also the greater community. Some of the most prominent initiatives include the promotion of physical health and activity, youth development, gender equality, racial and social justice, mental health awareness, and disability inclusion.
For example, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UN Women have recently unveiled their collaboration dubbed The Gender Equality Through Sport Bridging Project, a collaborative effort aimed at leveraging the power of sports to promote gender equality and combat gender-based violence.
By partnering with sports organizations, businesses, and institutions can reach a wider audience and make a positive impact on society. Furthermore, sports partnerships provide a platform for organizations to showcase their values and commitment to social responsibility. In today’s world, where the power of sports is undeniable, these partnerships have become more important than ever in uniting people and driving positive change.
What Does it Mean When a Company Sponsors a Team or Event?
When a company sponsors a team or event, it means investing in their brand through association with a particular sports team, athlete, or event. This relationship can benefit both parties. The company benefits from increased brand recognition and exposure to a new market, while the team or event gains financial support.
Sponsorship deals can range from small local events to major international competitions, with sponsorship fees varying based on the size and scope of the event. It’s important to note that sponsorship is not just about providing financial support; it’s also about alignment with shared values and goals. So when a company sponsors a team or event, it’s not just a business transaction – it’s a strategic partnership that helps both parties achieve their objectives.
Examples of Positive Social Impact Through Sports Partnerships
Sports partnerships have the power to create incredible positive social impact, both in local communities and globally. Take, for example, the Adidas Parley for the Oceans initiative. In partnership with the Parley Ocean Plastic Program, Adidas has pledged to use recycled ocean plastics in all of its products by 2024. This innovative approach to sustainability within the fashion industry not only eliminates waste but raises awareness for ocean conservation efforts.
Similarly, the LeBron James Family Foundation works to positively impact the Akron, Ohio community through education and community development. The organization’s I Promise School provides a unique and supportive learning environment for at-risk youth, helping to bridge the achievement gap for marginalized communities. These organizations demonstrate the powerful ability of sports partnerships to enact meaningful change and create a better world for all.
Family sticks together. Family lifts each other up. Family is there through the good times, and the bad. 😊— LeBron James Family Foundation (@LJFamFoundation) August 27, 2023
We infuse our We Are Family philosophy everywhere to create an environment of trust, comfort, and confidence for our students and families to thrive. 🙌😁Wherever our… pic.twitter.com/e9OhUE2vjj
Meaningful collaborations in sports can happen at all levels of play. The Spanish football club, Deportivo de La Coruña partnered with KAPPA Spain to release a limited edition eco-friendly jersey powered by collectID technology. Through this collaboration, the two brands created a 100% sustainable jersey and directly told the story through collectID’s blockchain-based technology.
How to Measure Success When it Comes to Corporate Social Responsibility in Sports
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly important aspect of sports organizations’ operations. From community outreach programs to environmentally sustainable practices, there are many ways sports organizations can contribute positively to society. However, with several dimensions of corporate social responsibility, it can be challenging to determine how to measure success effectively. Metrics such as financial contributions and employee volunteer hours are often used, but they only provide a surface-level view of an organization’s impact.
Truly measuring success in corporate social responsibility requires a comprehensive assessment that considers a range of factors, including the direct impact on the community and overall societal impact. By measuring success through a more holistic lens, sports organizations can effectively assess their social responsibility efforts and make meaningful contributions to society.
Lessons Learned from Organizations in the Sports Industry
In every industry, organizations have a unique way of doing things that sets them apart from their competitors. Whether it’s a logistical process or a management approach, the lessons learned from these organizations can be incredibly valuable. What works for one company might not necessarily work for another, but learning from the successes (and failures) of others is always insightful.
By studying the practices of various organizations and implementing what works best for your own company, you can strengthen your business and remain competitive in a rapidly changing market. So, take note of what successful companies are doing and find ways to incorporate those lessons into your own operations. It just might be the key to your long-term success.
The Future of Sports Partnerships and CSR
Sports partnerships and CSR have the potential to grow substantially in the future, creating a fruitful opportunity for businesses to engage with their communities and make a difference beyond their bottom line.
As companies become more socially responsible and emphasize the importance of sustainability and ethical practices, partnerships with sports organizations are an increasingly popular avenue for achieving their goals. These partnerships enable businesses to leverage the massive impact of sports, from amateur to professional levels, to reach out to audiences in an authentic and meaningful way.
Moreover, sports partnerships with a CSR focus can generate positive economic, social, and environmental results, fostering sustainable development and inclusive growth, which is vital both for the local communities and for the Brands looking to expand their impact. With the immense potential it offers, it is no surprise that more and more companies are investing in establishing the right partnerships and developing tailored programs to ensure sustained and effective impact.
Sports partnerships are a great way to use the global outreach of sports as a tool for social change. Brands can partner with teams, athletes, or leagues to reach out to their fans actively and positively and promote philanthropic initiatives that have meaningful real-world effects. Success in this kind of initiative can be measured through levels of user engagement, changes in brand visibility, and its end impact on society.
The potential for growth with corporate social responsibility initiatives is immense, so companies should take advantage now and make lasting investments that will leave positive legacies for decades to come.