Cities Look to Sports Teams for Leadership

2nd October 2012

The world’s leading sports teams will gather at Yankee Stadium on November 13th, when Beyond Sport United welcomes the leaders of the most popular sports on the planet amongst a powerful group of star names and influential figures who will come together to explore and expand their organizations’ role in social change.

They will be led by America’s most beloved brands – the teams and leagues that draw millions of viewers to their respective sports every week. Beyond Sport United will see the US Major Leagues, who are collectively Founding Supporters of the movement, further develop a multilateral approach to social change that is helping to maximize the impact sports teams can have on their communities.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and NBA Commissioner David Stern will speak on the 2012 edition of the Beyond Sport United Commissioners Roundtable – addressing the major issues and opportunities facing sport, business and society in the USA and beyond. Last year, Bettman, France, Garber and Stern, along with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, co-signed a unique letter acknowledging their member teams’ places as the cultural heartbeats of their respective communities, and vowing to tackle the responsibilities that come with that proud position.

‘This pivotal role is one in which we take immense pride, but it does come with significant responsibilities,’ wrote the Commissioners. ‘It is in recognition of this that we have placed the support of our organizations behind Beyond Sport United.

‘Every city has its unique challenges, but there is much we can learn from each other in terms of our overarching approach to community work and the impact it can have across a range of social issues from youth violence and crime to health to education.

‘We have united to go beyond sport. And, through our collective commitment to this focused aim, there is much we can achieve together.’

Others scheduled to speak at Beyond Sport United include New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who has been a stalwart of Major League Baseball for a decade; WNBA President Laurel Richie; former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks; The NASCAR Foundation Board Member and NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Rusty Wallace; Women Win Executive Director Maria Bobenreith; psychologist, organizational consultant and former NBA star John Amaechi; GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard; and ex-professional soccer player and founder of Grassroots Soccer Ethan Zohn.

Beyond Sport United has been designed to showcase and develop the unique ability of sports teams to become the center of their local community, and emerge as hubs of positive influence and resource within the area – and its reach is not restricted to the USA. Teams from four continents attended last year’s event, with the likes of Barclays Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester City amongst delegates from as far afield as the Australian Football League, South Africa’s PSL, the Israeli Premier League and Premiership Rugby, all of whom joined NFL team owners, the presidents of franchises from across the US major leagues and key figures from the sport and business world at one of the most influential business, networking and philanthropic events on the global calendar.

Nick Keller, the Founder of Beyond Sport, commented: “In the week after November’s Presidential election, the world will once again be looking to the USA for leadership. That can come not just from government, but from these powerful and historic brands, which are a focal point for tens of millions of people in their respective communities across the world. Few organizations are better placed to tackle the social issues the public faces than the sports teams they passionately invest in on a day-to-day basis.”

Major League Baseball (MLB); Major League Soccer (MLS); NASCAR, the National Basketball Association (NBA); the National Football League (NFL); the National Hockey League (NHL); and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) are Founding Supporters of Beyond Sport United – the first time the major US sports leagues have collaborated around the issue of sport and social change.

Beyond Sport United’s other partners include British Airways, Populous and Sports Illustrated.