A Framework for Measuring the Contributions of Sport to Society: Actors, Activities, and Outcomes
Increasingly, sports are becoming popular means, a “ride-along” vehicle in many instances, for social contributions to society. These collaborative ventures, often involving corporations, NPOs/NGOs (nonprofit organizations/nongovernmental organizations), governments, and sport organizations, take many forms. The following are some examples:
While sports in and of themselves have always been seen as a positive societal force, new cross-sector collaborations are creating new challenges and opportunities. In fact, these collaborative activities that seek to support social good have become commonplace since the 1980s. Austin (2003) argued that cross-sector collaboration will be much more prevalent in this new century for several reasons. First, “the growing complexity of the socioeconomic problems facing societies transcends the capabilities of single organizations and separate sectors, Second, boundaries between business, civil society, and government are increasingly blurred. Third, societal expectations of business to contribute to the resolution of social problems are rising” (Austin, 2003, p. 37). We, however, note that little research has been done to date on these collaborative initiatives and their functioning. The challenge and opportunity is that while business may seek to expand their social contribution, they must still be responsible to shareholders. There is a need to align partners in ways that lead to mutual benefit. With this objective in mind, we bring together literatures from marketing, management, economics, and more specifically sport management and consumer behavior. We intend to provide an analytical framework that includes examination of (a) types of cross-sector relationship mechanisms, (b) motivations and objectives for actors to work together through sport, (c) evaluation of collaborative activity outcomes, and (d) benefits of measurement to actors.