NASCAR, North America’s most popular motorsport series, will join with Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in a unique partnership for the very first time in 2012.
The seven organisations have come together to support Beyond Sport United, which will take place for the second year on November 13 at Yankee Stadium in New York and will see teams and leagues connect with businesses, governing bodies and grass root organisations from around the world to explore the social and business benefits of sustainable community engagement.
Run by global organisation Beyond Sport, Beyond Sport United provides an invaluable opportunity for teams and leagues to share best practice and explore opportunities to increase their community engagement - a high priority for all seven organisations.
Speaking at last year’s edition, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the audience: “When you have a certain amount of success, or are fortunate enough to be involved in professional sports, you have a responsibility back to your community and to your fans. And they want to know, if they’re going to invest their time and their money in your league, that you are taking responsibility.”
Backed by MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and WNBA in its inaugural year, the addition of NASCAR to the organisations supporting Beyond Sport United completes a remarkable alliance between North America’s top sports.
“We are very proud of the contributions our entire industry makes on a daily basis to better the lives, living conditions and futures of people from all walks of life, and especially kids,” says NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France, who will speak at both Beyond Sport United and the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards, to be staged in London this July.
“From our green initiatives to the work of the NASCAR Foundation, to the innumerable good works of the drivers, teams, tracks and our marketing partners, our industry is a leading example for giving back. We’re thrilled to align our commitment with that of our peers through Beyond Sport.”
NASCAR’s commitment was announced in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 19, ahead of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Speaking at the announcement, Nick Keller, founder of Beyond Sport, commented: “With urban populations rising every year, now more than at any time in history it is vital that our cities and communities find balance and cohesion.
“NASCAR joining the other major leagues in this initiative is clear recognition by the country’s leading sporting bodies that they have a unique position and opportunity in this field.
“Sports teams and leagues don’t just have an impact on the morale of their cities and communities, but have the potential to play a significant role in health, education, crime and issues around social inclusion, and in doing so ensure they remain at the very heart of the community.”
The other leagues were also keen to stress their commitment to the Beyond Sport movement as NASCAR joined the partnership. MLB commissioner Allan H (Bud) Selig commented: “Major League Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities. We are proud to be the sport of Jackie Robinson, who poignantly reminded us that a life is not important except in its impact on other lives.
“Beyond Sport United allows us to stand alongside other organisations that share our commitment to making a difference for its fans and their communities. As a common bond for so many people around the world, Major League Baseball is honoured to support the spirit of partnership that drives Beyond Sport United.”
“We are pleased to continue our support of Beyond Sport United and work closely with our partners in professional sports to positively impact social change,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber.
“Professional sports organisations, especially our players and coaches, have the ability to influence the lives of those in need and to inspire others to join together in improving the communities where we live and play our games. We hope our efforts with MLS WORKS and our partnership with Beyond Sport United inspire all soccer fans to become more involved in making a positive impact with their local community.”
“The NBA family is thrilled to continue to be part of Beyond Sport United,” commented NBA global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo. “Through NBA Cares, we have seen the power of basketball as a universal language in helping address important social issues such as education and health and wellness.
“Beyond Sport United creates a wonderful forum to share and learn about the great work of the sports community, all of which will help us have a deeper impact in our own social responsibility efforts.”
Beyond Sport is a global initiative that seeks to celebrate and support any organisation or individual with the goal to drive positive social change through sport. Its global partners are Barclays Spaces for Sports, TIME and UNICEF.
For more information on Beyond Sport, Beyond Sport United and the Beyond Sport Summit & Awards visit http://www.beyondsport.org