The NFL Demonstrates Excellent Corporate Social Responsibility

Abstract

Corporate Social Responsibility refers to an area of organizational study that has the potential to dramatically alter lives of people and improve their extent of communication across the globe. It has extensive research in relation to business corporations; however, it has little research in regards to the professional sports industry. Despite being accepted by many professionals and researchers as a basic component in assessing performance of a firm. A great deal of variation still exists regarding its applicability and users. The financial success of professional sports franchises is almost wholly dependent on the team’s support by the community which makes it particularly interesting.

The paper the extent to which the NFL demonstrates Corporate Social Responsibility in comparison to the NBA. It explores how the NFL’s engagement in CSR activities is beneficial to the professional body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

The NFL Demonstrates Excellent Corporate Social Responsibility than the NBA. Corporate social responsibility is the business practices that involve initiatives that are beneficial to the society (Allouche, 2006). It is an important study due to its ability to bring awareness to the social issues and enhance lives around the world. There has been tremendous growth in the notion of social responsibility and philanthropy across the business community. However, the professional sports have not been left behind. CSR emerged from the notion that community outreach programs and charitable endeavors could be helpful in boosting fan support and increasing revenues. Therefore, currently, a good number of professional franchises and leagues are using social responsibility efforts in improving their public relations as well as their marketing strategies (Kotler & Lee, 2005).  As the influence and impact of games in the contemporary culture keep on growing, so does its capacity to impact positive change in groups the world over. As of late the image-conscious NFL has confronted public perception challenges as an aftereffect of various components including negative player and fan association, steroid, alcohol and drug use, showboating and haughty player states of mind, and off the field player unfortunate behavior (Sports Philanthropy Project, n.d.).

Corporate Social Responsibility is a controversial subject with regards to sports franchises because it has both positive and negative effects. Its proponents argue that sports establishments have taken a comparable course as customary companies and increased CSR initiatives with the end goal of enhancing their image as well as continuing to attract a wide fan base or support from the fans (Babiak & Wolfe, 2006). It has helped in improving corporate image of the NFL across the globe. In the wake of the negative player and fan association, CSR provides the opportunity of sharing positive stories online thereby improving their public relations. However, critics have leveled criticisms against CSR by arguing that its aims are in direct conflict with the aims of social responsibility. They assert that the responsibilities of a sports franchise should just be directed towards the interests of its investors or stakeholders. However, CSR initiates are a force for good for the NFL, because it has more good than harm to the NFL. This paper aims at discussing why CSR is a tremendous force for good for NFL, and it should be promoted at all cost.

Corporate Social Responsibilities

Several reasons can be advanced that indicate that corporate social responsibility is a force for good for the NFL. Firstly, it helps in improving the corporate image of teams. Teams that demonstrate a high commitment to several causes is usually perceived to be more philanthropic that teams with no corporate social responsibility endeavors (Babiak & Wolfe, 2006). Therefore, the public image of teams is at the mercy of their CSR programs as well as how the community is aware of their programs. Sports corporations and franchises have to be in constant dialogue with the community because a continuous interaction with them results in building a good relationship thereby enhancing their public image (Allouche, 2006). Although CSR helps in developing close working relationship the community thereby getting their support, critics argue that the organization’s reputation may take a hit because the CSR policies require that it discloses its shortcomings of their activities in case they are found to violate the Corporate Social Responsibility program (Walker & Kent, 2009). For instance, the NFL has been forced to suspend a number of its players such as Adam “Pacman” Jones because of player misconduct (Goodell suspends Pacman, (2007. This usually creates inconveniences to fans that lose trust in the league. The ability of the sport to influence as well as its strong presence in modern culture makes it possible for a negative event to be widely published to children and fans. However, CSR has more benefits to the community as well as to the sports organization in itself. The NFL has adopted CSR that has helped in combating the challenges affecting its image and perception. CSR bridges the huge gap between fans and players. After the negative interactions between fans and players, NFL has been able to rebuild its image (Walker & Kent, 2009). As appeared in the NFL, CSR is compelling in enhancing image and perception and will keep on growing as an imperative part of the general business procedure in professional sports. With the help of CSR, NFL has a good public image which is the best position for overall perception of fans, a level that the public image of NBA is still trying to reach (Smith &Westerbeek, 2007).

Secondly, teams engage in CSR to expand customer base or create new markets. Corporate social responsibility often affects the willingness of the community to support teams and hence improving the bottom line of the team. Although Milton Friedman, an economist criticized CSR that its shifts the organization’s focus from the profit making objective that made it a financial entity in the first place (Babiak & Wolfe, 2006). He argued that the CSR programs make the organization to forget about all of its obligations towards its shareholders that require them to make profits. They focus on engaging in CSR programs by using up funds for the welfare of the community at the expense of making profits (Allouche, 2006). Although it may be possible that the organization is affecting cash outflow and neglecting its profit-making obligations, from an economic point of view, Sports Corporation and franchises are earning profit from the support of the community through the purchases of tickets. Therefore, they have an obligation to the community in particular as well as their respective cities in general. In addition, the NFL sports franchises have massively contributed to the economic growth and development of their respective cities with their existence. For instance, fans that go to their games stay in hotels, go to restaurants, purchase souvenirs and pay parking fees (Walker & Kent, 2009). Also, they have provided jobs to the local community as they employ many of workers such as distributors of tickets, maintenance workers and from office managers. The critics believe that if organizations mean to augment their benefits, then they cannot legitimize using the company’s cash on magnanimous purposes or reasons. A few of them likewise assure that the money that enterprises often spend to better their entities, financing philanthropic causes as well as other efforts that are socially responsible, results in an immaterial impact in improving such social causes. However, all of the CSR programs improve the willingness of the community to support them thereby improving their bottom line (Kotler & Lee, 2005).

Thirdly, CSR programs result in cost reductions. Although critics argue that CSR efforts result in the increase in the expenditure of the sports franchises and corporations, it actually results in the reduction of operating costs in the long run. If conducted properly, CSR efforts do not have to cost money but rather an organization can reduce costs. For instance, the NFL has been able to reduce costs by hiring and retaining more efficient staffs, effectively managing potential liabilities and risks and less investment in traditional advertising (Allouche, 2006). The NFL has one of the most satisfied employees because of the positive impact of the CSR programs on their motivation and wellbeing. For instance, the NFL has differentiated itself from the competitors such as MLS and NBA as having best position for overall fan perception (Smith &Westerbeek, 2007). Organizations having strong CSR responsibilities find it less demanding to enlist and retain workers. Individuals need to work for organizations that think about the prosperity of their workers and give great working conditions. The NFL organizations have compassionate state of mind towards their workers which are exceptionally craved by both new workers and old workers alike (Babiak & Wolfe, 2006). The employees are extremely motivated and would like to remain with this organization, because of the appraisals, the money related help in hard times, and consideration is given to individual accomplishments and exceptional days such as anniversaries and birthdays (Subhabrata, 2007). This has been a tremendous advantage to the NFL teams particularly during a tight labor market.  It has helped in lessening the cost of preparing or training new employees thereby freeing up incentives for the current employees. Huge incentives help in inducing enough work out of the current workers thereby resulting in increased productivity which improves the bottom line of the organization. To put it plainly, if the organization’s workforce extremely happy, the organization gets more benefits because of expanded proficiency in the workplace (Kotler & Lee, 2005).

Different critics declare that organizations practicing CSR are regularly extremely worried about improving the public image or brand instead of actually giving unmistakable assistance to the respective social causes. Despite everything, a few sport entities that do truly help the social causes need to place more emphasis on winning over their fans or customers. In addition, entities that are intensely required with philanthropic causes are seen as gloating of the social duties they purport to provide (Allouche, 2006). Such corporations could experience a reduction in contribution from the investors too, due to the fact that they would forfeit greater rewards in return for the CSR efforts that would not generate any income. However, this is not the case because, in any case, a CSR program gives more business chances to the long haul fate of the business. A Corporate Social Responsibility is not a short-term thing; it is all about realizing long term outcomes as well as business coherence. Extensive organizations allude to creating a more supportable society (Babiak & Wolfe, 2006). Therefore, CSR programs need open and approaches that are outside arranged so as to increase their presence, a business should be in a steady exchange with its customers, providers and diverse teams that have great influence on the organization. Due to the nonstop cooperation with diverse entities, the sport entity will be the first to identify new business opportunities thereby having a sustained competitive advantage. CSR effort is an awesome approach to getting an edge over the rivals. For instance, the NFL has been able to be the best-supported league because it has engrained a feeling of generosity and positivity in the minds of their respective cities, communities, and fan in particular. Awesome CSR partners an organization with social duty among clients decently fast at whatever point they identify a viable business opportunity (Walker & Kent, 2009). Teams that have larger markets or higher revenues tend to spend more on the CSR efforts so as to reach as many people as possible in recruiting their players, developing the fan base and retaining highly qualified and experienced employees and executives (Allouche, 2006).  In addition, NFL teams that have an elite “superstar” tend to engage in more CSR activities. On the other hand, NFL teams that have recent player convictions tend to engage in more CSR efforts so as to the NFL in improving the league image as well as the player perception. Generally, it is not easy to measure the direct impact of the CSR efforts on the NFL; however, the culmination of many factors has helped in improving the image of the league (Subhabrata, 2007).

In summation, it is evident that CSR has both positive and negative effects on the NFL league, the NFL demonstrated excellent Corporate Social Responsibility in comparison to the NBA which has enabled it to have the best position for overall fan perception. Despite the image problems that the NFL has had, they have managed to enjoy much more stability with regards to public relations because of their excellent CSR efforts. They have a good corporate image, expanded fan base or new markets, increased the bottom line, substantial cost reductions, attracting and retaining highly qualified and experienced employees and executives, a competitive advantage and more future business opportunities.

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