Four Ways Sports Build Strong Communities Through PR – Forbes


In our daily lives, we are surrounded by incredible amounts of sports coverage, yet we often fixate on countless negative stories about collegiate and professional athletes, teams and leagues. Fan obsession with damaging topics versus positive headlines is troubling.

Thankfully, there are many ways the sports industry amplifies feel-good stories that are key to building healthy communities. Public relations is a marketing vehicle that is underutilized in highlighting cheerful reports about the millions of lives sports and athletes impact daily.

However, there are organizations in the sports industry that are doing it right, offering valuable PR case studies that all businesses can get inspired by.

Economic Impact

In the U.S., youth sports is a $15 billion industry that has grown by 55 percent since 2010, according to a recent article by TIME. While some argue the cost to participate has skyrocketed, others posit community-based activities provide positive outlets for young people to gain valuable skills beyond the playing field and inject much-needed revenue into local businesses.

Tournaments across various sports are valuable team-building exercises for players and parents. Moreover, multi-day events significantly boost regional economies. For example, US Club Soccer – our partner and prominent member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, leading in developing soccer clubs across America – hosted back-to-back national championships in Westfield, Indiana in July 2017. It is estimated Indianapolis saw a $12.2 million economic impact from nearly 12,000 hotel room nights, $550,000 in car rentals and $425,000 in food and beverage consumption.

For businesses, telling a story of how they have contributed to a community’s economic impact may not be top of mind, but it should be. Engage in conversations with regional tourism boards, sports commissions and Chambers of Commerce to determine how your company has contributed to economic benefits. Once details are finalized, sharing this content via media outreach and company-owned channels can be helpful in spreading the positive news.


ESPN SportsCenter’s My Wish recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, inspiring viewers with gripping and heartwarming stories of altruism. This typifies media’s unique position in sports, propelling many leagues, teams and players to engage local charities.

Charitable giving is often driven by sporting events. Golf is a poster child, driving $3.9 billion annually. Philanthropic contributions, including those from professional tournaments, largely contribute to the industry’s persona. A majority of funds go to causes outside of sports including military organizations like Folds of Honor, Salute Military Golf Association and Fisher House Foundation.

A 2016 National Golf Foundation study concluded that golf as a fundraising vehicle annually covers 143,000 events with 12 million participants at 12,700 facilities. This equates to 1% of all U.S. charitable giving each year.

Local businesses can strengthen awareness via PR by highlighting their charitable giving. Be sure to outline events and activities where company philanthropic efforts can be shared with media through news releases, images and website blog posts.


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