Their activities and support of the foundation; enable the league to demonstrate a higher purpose which is of greater social value. (Ferriter)
In the majority of cases, the NFL is using the various high profile marketing events to illustrate the importance of sports in promoting various charity related events. The Super Bowl is the biggest event with it using the game as an avenue to help the community which is hosting it. At the same time, it is an avenue for helping to promote social responsibility. Evidence of this can be seen with Babiak & Wolfe (2006) saying, "The NFL is becoming progressively more invested in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in an effort to establish itself as a socially conscious organization, one based on the twin pillars of football and the community. As the proverbial jewel in the NFL's crown, the Super Bowl is an institution composed of many interlinked parts: the league, competing teams, corporate entities, governments, and nonprofit organizations. Increasingly, the NFL is investing its efforts around the Super Bowl on social issues and concerns in cities that host the event. It is more than just a game to the National Football League (NFL) and the communities that host it. Increasingly, organizing (host) commit- tees, nonprofit organizations, and local governments in cities that are awarded the game use the event as a catalyst to address pressing social issues. The opportunities that a mega-event such as the Super Bowl affords a community for hosting the game in terms of economic, social, and political benefits are considerable." (Babiak & Wolfe)
This is illustrating how the Super Bowl and different NFL games attract tremendous amounts of attention and publicity. The league will use these events as a platform to illustrate its social responsibility programs and the effects they are having on the communities. One way they are able to achieve these objectives, is through utilizing the event and different personalities to show how they are giving something back. The NFL Foundation is the primary way, the league is able to reach out and connect with a large variety of stakeholder through utilizing this approach. Over the course of time, these areas will encourage the public to offer their time and money in an addressing the needs of various groups. (Babiak & Wolfe)
In many cases, the NFL will use various events to send a message about politically incorrect behavior they are uncomfortable with. For instance, in the 1990s, Arizona refused to honor the Martin Luther King holiday. To punish them, they moved the game to another location which supported these objectives. This caused the state and the region to lose millions of dollars from not having the Super Bowl.
Evidence of the effect this can had can be seen with observations from Jessop (2014) who said, "The 1993 Super Bowl was slated to be held in Arizona. However, when the state's voters did not vote to make Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday in 1990, the NFL exercised its muscle and sent a message that the voters' decision was unacceptable by moving the Super Bowl west to Pasadena's Rose Bowl. In the wake of losing millions of dollars in revenue that the state and its businesses would receive in hosting the Super Bowl, Arizona voters eventually recognized Martin Luther King Day as an official state holiday. Today, the value of hosting a Super Bowl has expanded well beyond the provisions earned two decades ago." (Jessop)
This is illustrating how the NFL has the power to create changes in behavior. This can occur by refusing to host events in certain locations, where they are not embracing the most socially acceptable policies. Over the course of time, the result is that attitudes will change, when they start to lose money and notoriety from not hosting the event. Once this happens, is the point there will be a shift in policies and attitudes to be in compliance with these objectives.
As a result, the NFL has a large platform for using the competitive nature of sports to promote changes. This occurs through the player and how they are seen by fans / the general public. The way they carry themselves and the causes they support, will highlight the importance of these issues to stakeholders. While at the same time, they can utilize big events to underscore the importance of charity related activities. This occurs through sponsoring different programs and inviting everyone to attend. During the season, they will use specific times to highlight the significance of certain issues. This draws attention to the cause and it raises awareness.
However, they can also change behaviors by deciding to withhold specific games from being played in specific areas. For instance, the decision to withhold the Super Bowl from Phoenix in 1993 led to a change in attitudes. This is because the state and the city lost millions of dollars in lost revenues. The result is they changed their policies, to be more accommodating for the NFL.
The Mediated Presentation of Sports to Accomplish their Goals
To achieve these goals, the NFL Foundation will use the exposure they receive on the field to highlight various programs. A good example of this can be seen with the $700 thousand they are providing to various football camps. This is a part of the NFL Play 60 program; it is designed to provide everyone with the ability to connect with their favorite players / coaches. While at the same time, engage in physical activities to learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices. ("NFL Foundation Kicks Off Summer with Nearly $700,000 in Grants to Youth Football Camps")
Evidence of this can be seen with the NFL Foundation saying, "The National Football League Foundation (NFL Foundation) is kicking off summer by supporting 221 football camps through its Youth Football Camp Grant Program. Nearly $700,000 has been awarded to support current and former NFL players and coaches hosting camps for children across the country. These are free, non-contact football camps for children ages 5-18 that focus on teaching proper technique and sportsmanship. All camp coaches must complete an online education course with instruction on injury prevention, including heat and hydration. Among the recipients, nearly 70 current and former NFL players and coaches are working with USA Football to host Fundamentals camps this summer. The players and coaches applied for Fundamentals camp grants which allow them to organize camps with the support of USA Football. All drills run at Fundamentals camps are based on USA Football's Player Progression Development Model, which ensures that participants receive training appropriate for their age. The U.S.A. Football Fundamentals program is an official program of NFL Play 60 -- the NFL's campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes every day. In addition to providing children with a chance to have fun and learn new skills, some camps supported by grants from the NFL Foundation offer unique services and opportunities to the campers: Jerraurd Powers (Arizona Cardinals) has arranged for campers to receive free eye exams; Malcolm Jenkins (New Orleans Saints) is organizing information sessions on youth sports safety for parents and guardians of participating campers; former player Donovin Darius invited fathers and their children to participate in the camp to allow them to create memories in a fun, active way; and Tyler Polumbus (Washington Redskins) hosted a camp for children with special needs that was tailored to allow every camper to participate in the drills." ("NFL Foundation Kicks Off Summer with Nearly $700,000 in Grants to Youth Football Camps")
In this case, sports are being used, to help promote physical activity by encouraging children and their parents to participate in the camp. This occurs through offering financial incentives for conducting these programs and allowing kids / parents to interact with some of the different players and coaches. The NFL Foundation is utilizing the notoriety of the league and players to promote these initiatives. (Davis)
However, there have been concerns when the NFL uses its platform, to engage charitable activities. This is problematic, as the NFL Foundation is considered to be exempt. Yet, the way they are promoting these programs are leading to some individuals to question the true motivations behind it. In this case, they can contribute to a rise in the profit margins of these organizations.
For instance, Steurle (2008) found that these relationships have become very complicated with him saying, "Charities and businesses are collaborating like never before. We've all seen credit cards bearing a charity's good name, donations of business staff time for pro bono work, and corporate logos associated with nonprofit and public events. These business-charity collaborations and conflicts -- and the consequent legislative attempts to ensure that charities really are charitable -- can be tricky. The data on output by industry and employment by occupation to figure out just how much charities and profit-making businesses are beginning to look alike. Industries involving businesses that…