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Sports, strategic CSR and compelling storytelling

Today, the intersection between sports and business is a powerful way for corporations and other sports-related entities to place their resources while combining this investment with efforts of strategic CSR. Dick’s Sporting Goods presents a recent case example within this context in a new TV commercial, see video below. Through heartfelt storytelling, the sports brand builds compelling ‘emotional equity’ capable of securing commercial engagement among the brand’s target audiences and other relevant stakeholders.

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Photos: Promoting the #SportsMatter initiative via Twitter and the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation web site.

Tyler, a young amateur athlete from Harlem, NYC, gives us a warm and authentic perspective on his life while the viewers are following his daily morning rituals. His father died when he was 12 and now his life was entirely turned up and down once again when his mother recently passed away. Going through tough times, Tyler realized how his passion for lacrosse and the unity found in Harlem Lacrosse helped him cope with life’s difficulties and it helped him focus on becoming a better person and student. In the end of the TV commercial, it is displayed that ’by 2020 27 % of public schools in the US may no longer have sports’. This message is followed by the marketable and CSR-related message that Dick’s Sporting Goods is actively engaged in sponsoring after school sports activities. This marks the importance of buying into sports and applying sports, strategic CSR and sports sponsorship as a solid marketing vehicle to improve individual and societal problems and still helping your own business.


The Dick’s Sporting Goods case illustrates the viral effect on business activities in relation to the right orchestration of the junction between sport and business and the value-creating element of strategic CSR. Engaging ads and commercials (or even home-made YouTube videos) mixed with sports sponsorship generate passionate buzz and digital activities on social media platforms. This also shows the true pattern that captivating storytelling is very profitable when viewers engage intensively on 2nd screens. School kids’ opportunities to participate in sports is a topic of huge interest and most people buy into the many positive sides of sports.

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Photos: Engagement regarding #SportsMatter on Twitter (sources: ESPN, women’s edition and Dr. Larry Hygh, Jr.)

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