The sports industry generates billions of dollars and impacts everything from childhood dreams to global politics. Sports are relevant to fans because they become connected with the stories of failure, perseverance, and success. Sports are so much more than the time it takes to go around a track or numbers in a box score. It’s about the trials and tribulations of the people involved, who strive for success, stumble, fall and get back up again. But most importantly, athletes are people, people who make mistakes and struggle to deal with universal issues – discrimination, poverty, and pressure to succeed.
Sport and sports organizations have the ability to significantly impact the communities they serve. Whether they promote active living or provide society with yet another form of entertainment, they can change the way people live. The sports industry naturally partakes in corporate social responsibility (CSR), but I argue that there is far more that can be done.
My favorite baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers, promote their brand and serve the community through a program that helps to build baseball parks in neighborhoods that need places for youth to play baseball, but more importantly get exercise and stay safe. The Dodgers Dreamfields program and others like it serve both the youth and the communities where they build new fields by taking responsibility as an organization to go good and give back to communities in need of help.
The Dodgers have a goal of building 50 Dreamfields and, to-date they have completed 37 Dreamfields in partnership with various local organizations.
This is a great example of an organization taking action to help those in need, while also benefiting from brand promotion and positive media attention.