After the very nice experience of the webinar hosted a few days ago thanks to Optimy and the interesting questions that came up around of the topics discussed, here you have a list of thoughts that try to go beyond the sports & social for development projects supported by professional sports leagues.
As any other business entity, the professional sports leagues discovered the Corporate Social Responsibility in a way to clarify their ethic goals, corporate expectations, and the way to integrate it to benefit society. NBA´s Basketball Without Borders is a good example to understand it. This project became the best social scenario where NBA, athletes, sponsors, public institutions, and nonprofit organisations interact to create something bigger than all of them.
More than elaborate a list of the benefits and problems of associate sport industry with the ability of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to promote different aspects of social and economic development, this article summarises the main questions asked in the webinar about how in 2001 some NBA and FIBA players from former Yugoslavia decide to create a training camp for 50 teenager basketball players from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia in order to teach them about sports values, leadership, and healthy habits. But overall, bring them the opportunity to learn that sports are a magnificent tool to broke boundaries created by war. This is how Basketball Without Borders was born.
After three years, BWB was presented as a successful social for development program lead by NBA, who decided to develop its activity creating NBA Cares as its CSR department and go to Africa with an ambitious program of sports and social development. Why was NBA in specific and Sports in general terms successful?
First of all because of the sports environment structure and its enormous social appeal, mainly on youth target. BWB started in 2001 and seventeen years later we are seen how women in sports are much more than a real thing, is part of the future of sports industry, what does it mean? Sports adapt to everyone, everywhere.
During the webinar we discuss the three areas where athletes add strategic value, but if there is something remarkable is their ‘reach out’ capabilities as ambassadors of these programs, developing an inspirational part of this job aside competition and spreading messages that encourage people to “act like them”.
At the end of the webinar appears some criticism comments asking about how NBA must priories program goals between discovering sports talent, add value to sponsors or help to social development supporting nonprofit entities? Trying to clarify it we saw several projects and organizations that use sports in a similar way, all of them have sports and social development inside their strategy but the way they implement it depends on the timing, main strategy and partners supporting. We talked about Common Goal and its innovative way to apply sports to social development activities.
Basketball Without Borders is an example of join business and philanthropy through sports with high possibilities of success and was one of the beginnings of corporate social responsibility programs in the sports industry.
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Author: Óscar Yáñez