It is very imperative for professional sports franchises to have a community relations department. Many CR department focus on bettering children lives by having the players attend events in the community. Some of these programs have players visit schools, teach the fundamentals of the game the franchise is affiliated with, and promote learning through visiting museums with local children.
For a team to have total fan support, a positive relationship between the community and the team is needed. For instance, the NBA's Charlotte Hornets may move to another city. The Hornets are asking the city for a new arena. In the summer of 2001, the City of Charlotte voted against a new arena. This is in part because the franchise did not create a positive relationship with the City of Charlotte. Through community programs such as Read to Achieve, Hornets Slam Jam Geography with the Charlotte Observer, and hosting over 100 Special Olympics athletes at the Hornets Training Center, the Hornets did try to create a strong foundation with the community. Unfortunately, their efforts failed to meet the needs of the community.
Part of bettering the community, many teams have developed their own foundations. Through these foundations, teams have donated money and time to many non-profit foundations. In 2002 10 NBA teams, one WNBA team, 16 NHL teams, 15 NFL teams, and 21 MLB teams have their own foundations. A sampling of team foundations for each of the major sports leagues includes: Orlando Magic and Miracle, Tampa Bay Lightning, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Florida Marlins.
© 2002 Nancy Benton Parish