Many times in North America, the sport of baseball sometimes gets overlooked for its ability to aggregate people, expose brands and tell stories. because the season is so long and the game is so ingrained we sometimes forget the amount of eyeballs and dollars spent on the game, even more now on a global scale. And with the attraction, from Little league through the Majors, comes the ability to marry brands in large numbers to very worthy and promotable causes. This weekend…Father's Day…baseball takes on a doubleheader of well, timed, well presented and well thought out activation platforms…civil rights and prostate cancer awareness, and delivers on both. On the Civil Rights front, it is sometimes forgotten that baseball broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson, for all professional sports. So when the sport started having a Civil Rights Day and game a few years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, it got some attention but not huge attention. The move to take the entire event and move it to a Major League city, Cincinnati, and involve a full few days of talks and involvement from peoples of all sports and backgrounds, was a great one, and the coverage received for both the sport and for Civil Rights issued was tremendous. For a support to promote issues in season is one thing, to take an active stance and deliver positive messages on a national stage is another, and baseball should get pig points for taking the time and the effort to build this platform for all and to work with the brands who will activate against it. The second weekend cause is Prostate Cancer Awareness, and by using their national platform of games on the Father's Day weekend…complete with blue bats for auction, sponsor and player activation campaigns in major media and at all games, the sport again hits a homer. Baseball announcer Ed Randall's Bat For The Cure, is also a great example of how the pooling of resources can work for the bigger cause through the sport. For whatever reason, the prostate cancer campaign is not as well covered as the all-pink breast cancer awareness work done in April and October through the various pink programs, but the yeoman work baseball does to collectively present the issue to millions on a day which is more father-focused than others, remains a great example of pooling resources the right way for all. Now could the two be split on other weekend. Maybe. But despite the timing, both garner great coverage, sponsor activation, and messaging. Great job by all.
Some other good reads…Editor and Publisher has a good look at the top 30 newsites for May…wsj.com had a great profile of Sudan soccer coach Stephen Constantine…mlb.com had an onteresting look at new technology helping teams in the recent baseball draft…and the Chicago Tribune had a good profile of former Bear Steve McMichael and his work coaching the CIFL Chicago Slaughter.