The Capitals make overt efforts to reach their local community and build special bonds.
Continuing with our theme of spotlighting our clients, this article will be about the Washington Capitals. D.C.'s hockey team has reached sustained success in hockey and in the local community mainly through sponsorship.
While winning is the ultimate goal of any professional sports team, most teams and leagues realize the importance of community outreach and CSR. In the end, your local community contains the people who will spend the most money on your product.
In 2018, the consumer requires corporations and organizations to show positive impacts on the local community. That is why almost every team and league each have their own outreach programs like NBA Cares and NFL Play 60. Although giving back to the community is not unique to the Washington Capitals, their method and depth set them apart.
Former Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz elaborated on this idea of "moral capitalism." Essentially, his point is that your community outreach and CSR should have a purpose and help your profits. It should be tied closely to your product so it makes more sense to the consumer.
The Washington Capitals have a movement called "Caps Care" and within that are several community outreach programs. First, they have the "Caps Hockey School" where schools can sign up to get Capitals' staff members to come and teach them how to play floor hockey. As a part of this, the Capitals also donate hockey gear to the school for the PE teachers.
Second, the Capitals started a program with the American Special Hockey Association in 2014 called "Special Hockey" where they provide people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to play hockey. Third, they also have a program called "Caps Street Hockey" where they provide local community kids with the opportunity to play street hockey throughout the area.
Fourth, the Caps also have a "Military Hockey" program where they partnered with the USA Warriors to provide veterans the opportunity to play hockey. Finally, the Caps also have a "Hockey is for Everyone" program which is similar to their "Caps Hockey School" program from above.
What is consistent in all of this community outreach is that every single program is tied to hockey. The Capitals succeed in helping the local community while also tying it in perfectly to their product. This is an ideal example of moral capitalism.
Rather than rely on their location and winning drive their attendance and fandom, the Capitals commit to proactive practices that strengthen their bond with the community while also increasing their fan base. Even more, several of these programs have sponsors and create other sponsorship opportunities.
1. Congruency is key for any sponsorship or program. Here, the Caps partner with a military foundation for their military hockey program and a developmental disability foundation for their special hockey program.
2. CSR and community outreach benefits all those involved and the teams usually need help running the initiatives. Think about where you could get your brand or company involved to achieve the same benefits.
3. If you are thinking of a program to sponsor, make sure you can tie it in with your product or service to allow for better transference.
4. There are initiatives like this starting every day so if you have an idea for a team you are already sponsoring, do not be afraid to share.
Check out some pictures of the Caps' outreach programs below.
Written by: James Campbell
James Campbell is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with his B.A. in Sport Management. Throughout his time at Michigan, he has worked with Detroit City FC, MiLife Sport & Social Club, and USA Hockey. - @Jimmy10Campbell