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Thought Leadership

The Ripple Effect: The Profound Importance of Social Impact in Sport

by Matt Peden

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2024: The year that social impact in sport becomes a priority for marketing teams.

Now the fireworks have settled and the champagne corks have been collected, it’s our annual time to look at what’s in store for 2024 as we start another bumper year in the sporting world.

It’s important to note we’re now in Olympic and Paralympic year – athletes from all over the world will descend into Paris later this year for the first Games in our time zone since London 2012.

Tokyo 2020 was hugely disrupted by Covid-19, not only with postponement but restrictions on athletes, fans, media and even some sporting disciplines. That subsequently had impact on reduced media coverage, lack of engagement and I would suggest commercially across various sports that will have made the last four years difficult.

2024 is a huge opportunity for a new breed of athletes to make a name for themselves, 12 years on from the famous Games in London that gave us Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Dame Katherine Grainger, Sir Andy Murray etc etc. – the list goes on.

The world as we all know is very different place now. Success on the track or field does not ultimately engage with communities and audiences in the same way – sport is more dynamic now. Athletes are not just players on the field – they are influential figures with the power to shape societies. Beyond the scoreboards and statistics, sports personalities carry a significant responsibility to create a positive social impact – a phrase that has become a major part of strategies in boardrooms across most sporting organisations in recent years.

And this is my major prediction for 2024 – social impact within sporting bodies and organisations will be a key thread to success this year, particularly if they utilise their athlete’s voice to tell the stories in an impactful way. We were lucky to work with trailblazers at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 who inbuilt social impact as a thread of their organisation – it was a key part of their success.

Audiences, in my opinion, need to relate to athletes – for many reasons but the biggest is being represented. Whether that’s by their gender, their race, their background, their heritage, their town or city, their club or even just their sport – finding that common ground is important. Sports personalities have the power to transcend the boundaries of the playing field for a number of reasons…

Role Models for the Youth:

  • Sports personalities are often revered by the younger generation who look up to them as role models. By actively engaging in social issues, athletes can inspire and influence the youth to embrace values such as teamwork, resilience, and empathy. The impact of a positive role model in shaping the character of young minds is immeasurable, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate sphere of sports.

Amplifying Social Causes:

  • Athletes possess a unique platform that can be used to amplify social causes and raise awareness about pressing issues. By leveraging their popularity, sports personalities can bring attention to societal challenges, encouraging their fan base to get involved and make a difference. Whether it’s advocating for environmental conservation, social justice, or health awareness, athletes have the potential to turn the spotlight onto causes that desperately need attention.

Catalysts for Change:

  • History is rife with examples of sports personalities who have catalysed social change. From Muhammad Ali’s stand against racial inequality to Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest against police brutality, athletes have the power to ignite conversations and provoke action. Their influence extends beyond the realm of sports, impacting public discourse and pushing society towards positive transformation.

Building Bridges Across Communities:

  • Sports have a universal language that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. Athletes, as global ambassadors, can play a crucial role in fostering unity and understanding across diverse communities. By championing, sports personalities contribute to the creation of a more connected and harmonious world.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

  • Sports personalities are not only representatives of themselves but are also associated with various teams, brands, and organizations. By aligning with social causes, athletes contribute to the corporate social responsibility initiatives of these entities. This collaboration can lead to the implementation of impactful projects, from community development to educational programs, leaving a lasting legacy that extends far beyond their playing careers.

In a world that looks to sports personalities for inspiration and guidance, the importance of social impact as part of organisation strategies cannot be overstated.

Beyond their athletic prowess, these individuals have the power to be catalysts for positive change, influencing attitudes, breaking down barriers, and creating a more inclusive and compassionate society.

As sports continue to be a powerful cultural force, this year more so than ever, it is imperative that athletes recognise and embrace their role in shaping a better world for generations to come.

It’s a big year.

A big year to tell a story. If you’re a brand or organisation in sport and looking to showcase your social impact in 2024, we’d love to have that conversation. Drop us a line at hello@hatch.group.

 

2024: The year that social impact in sport becomes a priority for marketing teams.

Now the fireworks have settled and the champagne corks have been collected, it’s our annual time to look at what’s in store for 2024 as we start another bumper year in the sporting world.

It’s important to note we’re now in Olympic and Paralympic year – athletes from all over the world will descend into Paris later this year for the first Games in our time zone since London 2012.

Tokyo 2020 was hugely disrupted by Covid-19, not only with postponement but restrictions on athletes, fans, media and even some sporting disciplines. That subsequently had impact on reduced media coverage, lack of engagement and I would suggest commercially across various sports that will have made the last four years difficult.

2024 is a huge opportunity for a new breed of athletes to make a name for themselves, 12 years on from the famous Games in London that gave us Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Mo Farah, Dame Katherine Grainger, Sir Andy Murray etc etc. – the list goes on.

The world as we all know is very different place now. Success on the track or field does not ultimately engage with communities and audiences in the same way – sport is more dynamic now. Athletes are not just players on the field – they are influential figures with the power to shape societies. Beyond the scoreboards and statistics, sports personalities carry a significant responsibility to create a positive social impact – a phrase that has become a major part of strategies in boardrooms across most sporting organisations in recent years.

And this is my major prediction for 2024 – social impact within sporting bodies and organisations will be a key thread to success this year, particularly if they utilise their athlete’s voice to tell the stories in an impactful way. We were lucky to work with trailblazers at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 who inbuilt social impact as a thread of their organisation – it was a key part of their success.

Audiences, in my opinion, need to relate to athletes – for many reasons but the biggest is being represented. Whether that’s by their gender, their race, their background, their heritage, their town or city, their club or even just their sport – finding that common ground is important. Sports personalities have the power to transcend the boundaries of the playing field for a number of reasons…

Role Models for the Youth:

  • Sports personalities are often revered by the younger generation who look up to them as role models. By actively engaging in social issues, athletes can inspire and influence the youth to embrace values such as teamwork, resilience, and empathy. The impact of a positive role model in shaping the character of young minds is immeasurable, creating a ripple effect that extends far beyond the immediate sphere of sports.

Amplifying Social Causes:

  • Athletes possess a unique platform that can be used to amplify social causes and raise awareness about pressing issues. By leveraging their popularity, sports personalities can bring attention to societal challenges, encouraging their fan base to get involved and make a difference. Whether it’s advocating for environmental conservation, social justice, or health awareness, athletes have the potential to turn the spotlight onto causes that desperately need attention.

Catalysts for Change:

  • History is rife with examples of sports personalities who have catalysed social change. From Muhammad Ali’s stand against racial inequality to Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest against police brutality, athletes have the power to ignite conversations and provoke action. Their influence extends beyond the realm of sports, impacting public discourse and pushing society towards positive transformation.

Building Bridges Across Communities:

  • Sports have a universal language that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. Athletes, as global ambassadors, can play a crucial role in fostering unity and understanding across diverse communities. By championing, sports personalities contribute to the creation of a more connected and harmonious world.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

  • Sports personalities are not only representatives of themselves but are also associated with various teams, brands, and organizations. By aligning with social causes, athletes contribute to the corporate social responsibility initiatives of these entities. This collaboration can lead to the implementation of impactful projects, from community development to educational programs, leaving a lasting legacy that extends far beyond their playing careers.

In a world that looks to sports personalities for inspiration and guidance, the importance of social impact as part of organisation strategies cannot be overstated.

Beyond their athletic prowess, these individuals have the power to be catalysts for positive change, influencing attitudes, breaking down barriers, and creating a more inclusive and compassionate society.

As sports continue to be a powerful cultural force, this year more so than ever, it is imperative that athletes recognise and embrace their role in shaping a better world for generations to come.

It’s a big year.

A big year to tell a story. If you’re a brand or organisation in sport and looking to showcase your social impact in 2024, we’d love to have that conversation. Drop us a line at hello@hatch.group.

 

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