In this age and time, sport can be defined as a social institution because it has the ability to transcend borders. No matter an individual?s socio-economic status, gender, age, sexuality or culture, sport has the ability to bring communities together. Sport as an industry has an influence over people that is greater than most other industries and this is where Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics come into play. These two concepts go hand-in-hand when dealing with the sport industry because of the influence it has over so many people on a global spectrum. When the influence of sport is used in the right way, these two concepts can begin to change society for the better.
Corporate Social Responsibility has been defined as ?a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interactions with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis? (Hums et al, 2009, pg.67). This is demonstrated by many of today?s leading sports related companies. Nike is a great example because they participate in many initiatives all over the world. Some examples would include their ?Let Me Play? initiative, which is explained as:
?Part of Nike\'s long-term commitment giving access to the benefits of sport to all young people. Nike believes that sport is a catalyst for positive change in young people and the communities in which they live. Through innovative programs and partnerships, Nike strives to give a voice to young people through sport.?(Nike Biz/Better World, 2010)
They are also involved in an initiative known as ?Stand Up, Speak Up? which deals with diminishing racism in soccer. As defined by Nike it is:
?An initiative that raises the issue of racism on the football pitch on an international stage. The symbol, black and white interlocking wristbands, was worn across Europe and by top footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. Five million wristbands were sold and the proceeds distributed to innovative projects across Europe that use the power of football to combat racism on and off the pitch.?(Nike Biz/Better World, 2010)
Other initiatives that they are involved in have to do with things such as re-constructing basketball courts around New York City, which will give 10,000 kids the opportunity to play in safe and more efficient conditions. Nike is not the only ones trying to make a difference. Under Armour also ensures that they are acting in a socially responsible way. They focus their energy on their working environments to ensure the happiness of their employees and the quality of their products. They discuss many issues, including harassment, child labour, forced labour, nondiscrimintation, hours of work, overtime compensation, environment, wages and benefits. An example of how they discuss their efforts can be seen here with nondiscrimination:
?Under Armour suppliers and subcontractors shall not subject any person to discrimination in employment, including hiring, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, or social or ethnic origin.?(Under Armour Biz, 2006)
Other than sporting equipment and apparel companies, various other types of sports related businesses participate in CSR as well. The International Olympic Committee focuses very deeply on Corporate Social Responsibility. They use their power of decision making to make the cities that are competing to hold the Olympics, make their communities better places. They make sure of the fact that these cities are not putting any fragile environments in danger, and that all local residents are also being respected (Hums et al, 2009, pg. 69). Corporate Social Responsibility is beginning to become more popular throughout professional sporting leagues as well. This is seen with partnerships between the NFL and the United Way, the WNBA and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the MLB has started a program known as Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities, which has grown immensely over the past few years (Hums et al, 2009, pg. 69).
Sporting Events with extreme influence also have capabilities of passing along a message. The largest and most influential single-sports event held annually is the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl not only brings in the most revenue, but also captures the most viewers worldwide (Babiak et al, 2006, para. 2). The game itself lasts for around four hours, but all the components that take place around it are what really help to shape it into what it has become today. With that many