Each and every team in the four major sports leagues in the U.S. – NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL – has a community page at their website detailing their work with various organizations and the specific efforts of their charitable foundations (if they have one). We are seeing such outreach from some of the newer teams and leagues, e.g. MLS, as well.
Having a department committed to charitable and community involvement is important as it indicates an explicit commitment to the area. The next step, as is true with other areas of the sports business, is to work on improving, both by getting better at current efforts (including benchmarking) and finding new ways to engage individuals, companies, organizations, and others to make a measurable impact.
One team doing such work is the Milwaukee Brewers. And it should be no surprise. Benchmarking is something they have done before to great success. When Mark Attanasio bought the team in 2004, one of his first goals was to gather information on what was being done around the league worth emulating. In an article from Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal in 2005, Attanasio said the following:
“What we do in our investment business is try to gather all of the facts, try to really understand what’s going on [before making a move]. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If somebody else is doing something, the fans seem to like it and we can make some money, we’ll do it.”
We are seeing the same approach with respect to the team’s work with the community. In an article from Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel, Cecelia Gore, the executive director of the newly named Brewers Community Foundation, said the following:
“They (the Attanasios) are making a commitment to grow. We want to have a greater impact by implementing new initiatives by asking our fans and the broader community. But they are taking a closer look at how they can have a greater impact.”
We anticipate other teams adopting this same intelligent approach in the future.
You can read the entire Don Walker article, “Brewers will focus charity efforts on community,” at the Journal Sentinel by clicking here.