According to two recent studies, 63% of school sports budgets are stagnant or decreasing, while 24% of U.S. high schools don’t even offer sports. But while numbers and stats are informative, they don’t quite pack the emotional punch of the forlorn, teary, doe eyes of the kids who just had their soccer or baseball program cancelled.
That’s what Dick’s Sporting Goods is counting on with the newest edition to its “Sports Matter” campaign.
The new ad, created by the agency Anomaly, features kids from Fairfield High School near Birmingham, Alabama. But the brand is putting its money where its marketing is, donating $25,000 to the school’s athletic department. In addition, the brand’s foundation will be fully funding all Sports Matter projects currently on DonorsChoose.org, which is more than $450,000 across nearly 40,000 young athletes. And through September 13, Dick’s will match up to $1 million in donations made by customers to The Dick’s Foundation at store checkouts or at SportsMatter.org.
The Dick’s Foundation has been helping fund youth sports since 2014, donating more than $20 million in grants and sponsorships to support schools and organizations this year alone. But behind the company’s latest efforts are two studies recently commissioned by the foundation, conducted by the Rand Institute and the Women’s Sports Foundation, respectively. Findings include that 58% of community-based sports fees are rising, 42% of families of middle and high school students who don’t participate in sports but are interested cite cost as the main reason, and 56% of teen girls don’t participate in sports compared with 48% of teen boys.
Dick’s chief marketing officer Ed Plummer says the goal of the campaign is to raise awareness for widespread funding issues and announce a call to action to “help us help them.”
“All over America, in the communities that need it most, fewer sports teams are being offered, fields are being neglected, and kids are left with little to no resources to play sports,” says Plummer. “This campaign provides a powerful reminder that a big issue remains, and we are partnering with the communities we serve to help provide much-needed funding and solutions.”