Red Bull and the Environment: Who Knew?

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In recent years, it has become very apparent how real and threatening climate change is. The New York Times has dedicated an entire column to articles and news regarding our environment and the dangers it faces everyday. Sports and social media go together more than people might think. Many sports take place outside and the environment being affected in turn affects athletes respected sports. One article I found very interesting is “Ocean Heat Waves Are Threatening Marine Life” by Kendra Pierre-Louis and Nadja Popovich. Their opening quote stood out, “When deadly heat waves hit on land, we hear about them. But the oceans have them too.” Filled with facts from a recent study, they discuss the temperatures of the ocean. Scientists have found that oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat.

Eric C.J. Oliver, an assistant professor of physical oceanography at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, discussed how the warming temperatures of the ocean are caused by climate change, “There’s also some indication that El Ninõs have been getting more extreme with climate change.”

Photo Credit: Flickr

Red Bull is a large company of not only energy drinks but also extreme sports and athletes. Two of their athletes have focused part of their careers on cleaning up oceans and beaches and advocating for climate change.

© Nic Allegre/Red Bull Content Pool

Pro-Skier Angel Collision studied environmental studies at the University of Utah which has helped her career as an activist. Collision started working with Protect Our Winters and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. This eventually led to her speaking on Capitol Hill and her social media presence to advance awareness and initiation for climate change.

© Andy Mann/Red Bull Content Pool

Kai Lenny is a native Hawaiian who competes in different water sports like wind and kite surfing, big wave surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. Being from Hawaii and spending so much of his life in the water, he sees the damages done to the ocean with trash and debris. Lenny came up with the idea to hydrofoil 200 miles across the chain of Hawaiian Islands for five days and partnered with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii to arrange trash pick ups at each stop. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii organized volunteers for a beach clean-up which turned out to be the state’s largest trash removal effort.

Athletes like Angel Collision and Kai Lenny are working towards cleaning up oceans and fighting for climate change. Making the world and environment cleaner and a better place to live. The work that athletes do to better our environment make other people feel more inclined to work on better the environment. Like Angel Collision said, “Sometimes your causes find you.”

The Benefits of the NFL Scouting Combine: Athletes and the NFL

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This past week from February 26-March 4, the NFL hosted one of their biggest events, the NFL Scouting Combine. The combine is where college athletes are invited to compete in a series of drills and tests to showcase their talents and strengths to NFL scouts and coaches. Over the course of this week, the eyes of NFL teams and fans are watching these young men work and train for their future. Aside from competing in drills, these athletes also take part in interviews with media.

From a public relations standpoint, the combine can often be the start of these athletes professional career. Even though many of these athletes partook in interviews during their time in college, at this professional level they begin engaging in interviews with teams and media. Many professional athletes are models for young kids and aspiring athletes. The combine allows them to not only showcase their talents, but also gain a new set of fans past college. Being able to create a professional brand starting at the combine allows for these athletes to create something more than just being a football player. For the NFL, the Scouting Combine and the Draft are two big events and play into the expansion of their league. Teams are trying to make good impressions on prospects and prospects on teams, which is important for creating a well respected brand and organization.

Ultimately, their times and reps during the combine are going to what makes them the most memorable, but those numbers are what gets NFL fans excited for the upcoming draft. For both the NFL as a whole and these young men in the combine, they are all creating something bigger for their brand. The NFL gets to use the combine and athletes as a way to create hype and excitement around the draft, which will creating a bigger brand for themselves.

On a lighter note, this leads to interesting stories that prospects are able to look back during their time at the combine. Barry Petchesky from Deadspin, wrote an article called “The NFL Combine Is The Super Bowl of Idiot Questions.” He touches on two specific instances from this year’s combine but also past combines. One that made multiple news platforms was Texas CB Kris Boyd being asked if he still had both of his testicles. And the Seattle Seahawks put CB Lonnie Johnson in a staring contest for 15-16 seconds. This is an example of how prospects can use these interviews to begin creating a name for themselves and start building their brand.

Screenshot of @ChaseGoodbread’s tweet

These are interesting questions and things to put prospects through, but from a brand perspective, it makes the brand memorable. Even if it’s in a negative way, like asking someone about how many testicles they have. The prospects that go through weird interviews are taken back, but at the end of the day will remember those weird interviews and the teams that put them through that.

All in all, the combine is a way for young athletes to become prospects and build their name and brand. While allowing the NFL to prepare the hype for the upcoming season.  

“Dream Crazier” Nike and Serena Williams

It’s Sunday morning, the day of the Oscars and the weekend after Zion Williamson’s shoe exploded 30 seconds into one of the biggest college basketball games of the season. As I scrolled through Instagram, I saw Nike’s post with their new commercial. The caption, “Show them what crazy dreams can do.” Serena Williams, arguably one of the greatest athletes ever, does the voice over and speaks to young women around the world.

I mention the Oscars and Zion Williamson because those are two huge events that are happening or happened this random week in February. Nike came under fire on social media following Williamson’s shoe exploded during his game, and suffered consequences, like stocks dropping and the bad social media around them. And the Oscars are one of the biggest events in entertainment of the year. Yet Nike, still bounced back from their set back and challenged the Oscars as one the most talked about things of Sunday, February 24th, 2019. Not to mention Serena Williams being the main voice of the commercial, and then attending and speaking at the 2019 Oscars.

From a PR perspective, there could not have been better timing to the release of Nike’s advertising. Following their tough Wednesday night and leading up to Serena Williams and the Oscars, Nike chose a great time to create hype around their new ad.

Screenshot from: https://justdoit.nike.com/

Onto the topic of the advertisement. Women, and women in sports. The entire advertisement pushes young girls to get out and be the best they can be in what they do, especially sports. And having Serena Williams be the one to talk makes it more powerful. Having come back from a hard pregnancy and continuing to win Grand Slam titles is inspiring. The ad showcased some of sports most influential women. Becky Hammon, the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, the US Women’s National Soccer Team, Simone Biles,  Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Chloe Kim. Well + Good, another blog, posted more about the advertisement and how it follows and goes with Nike’s 30-year anniversary of “Just Do It.” This follows the Colin Kaepernick ad that sparked good and bad conversation around Nike, and their “Dream Crazy” ad from the fall. Nike has pushed limits with an amazing all-female cast, using badass female athletes that are crazy successful is important for young women around the world to see, especially in a world where there is inequality, not only among men and women but also race. Nike takes it to the next level with having  extremely successful and diverse athletes show their power and success.

Sports Info-graphic: A Guide to Who, What, and How

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

This week I’m focusing on creating a sports related infographic. As I sat down to start brainstorming ideas, I wondered what would be the best subject to discuss and how to approach it. The first two things that came to my mind were to talk about women in sports or concussions. Both are subjects that need to be addressed but are also hard to talk about in the world of sports. Ultimately, I decided that concussions were a subject that needed to be addressed, as I have previously addressed concussions in this blog before.

I chose to go with the topic of discussions because of the serious concerns that it brings around not only football, but all sports. It’s important to create awareness around the severity of concussions and how there are better steps to take to ensure proper recovery. This infographic is not only for parents of young athletes but also athletes themselves, coaches and trainers. It’s really important that all people in an athlete’s life are aware of the signs and the best ways to recover.

As I develop this infographic, I’m having a hard time finding the right and most important statistics to include, especially with the importance of concussions. I started my research was able to find multiple places with statistics.

I’ve created infographics before, but for this one, I decided to look for tips to create a “perfect” one. I stumbled upon Lifehack.org and their post, “How to Create Stunning Infographics in 30 minutes.” Lifehack’s five points are:

  1. Make a point
  2. Don’t waffle
  3. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
  4. Brand it
  5. Make it shareable

For my infographic about concussions, my point I’m making is that it is important understand and treat concussions properly because of the frequency and severity of them. In order to not waffle, listing only the supporting facts of my problem is the best way. The straight statistics about what sports, how frequent, chances of getting one and wrapping it up with how to properly treat a concussion. I’m using credible sources to gain information and data about concussions. To make sure it’s obvious that I created the blog, I’ll need to not only cite my sources, but also add a personal marker. So people can share the graphic, it’s important to make sure to add widgets to link the infographic so people can add it to their feeds and pages.

Is The Winter Weather Affecting Sports?

All over the country there have been winter weather advisories. Normally, winter weather only hits certain parts of the country. But this year, the whole country has been affected.

In January of 2019, right before the AFC Championship, Kansas City temperatures dropped to the 20s. While both the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs are used to these frigid temperatures, AccuWeather said that throughout the game it would feel like it was in the upper single digits and teens.

Although the weather has yet to affect travel plans for NBA teams, the possibility that it can affect travel plans is still in the cards. There are expected winter and snow storms throughout the country that could affect future schedules. If snowfall gets worse, teams might not be able to travel to their away games, which causes problems for the whole season. Aside from professional teams, this has affected many high school teams as well. In Wisconsin, high school teams are having to reschedule games causing athletic directors scrambling to find dates and create new schedules for their teams.

The entire winter season has caused for sports to change, from football games being below freezing temperatures and winter storms affecting transportation to away games.

WWE and Branding for Celebrities

The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is the entertaining and dramatized version of wrestling. With its celebrities dressing up in elaborate outfits and using props. Fans love the exaggerated version of not only wrestling but the drama that comes along with its wrestlers.

For fighters like Ronda Rousey, it’s changed her career completely. Alongside her fighting career she has also featured in three movies. In 2004, she qualified for the Athens Olympics and at the next games in Beijing, she won a bronze medal in judo. Rousey began her MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) career in 2010. Two years into her MMA career she became the bantamweight champion and was signed to the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and was named its first female champion. In 2015 she was voted in an ESPN poll as the best female athlete ever before her knockout in November to Holly Holm. This is what ultimately led her to join the WWE and begin her career as an entertainment fighter. Rousey went from being a very respected and talked about woman fighter to being a respected fighter in the entertainment industry.

Being respected in the WWE isn’t a bad thing. For some fighters, it has also accelerated their careers. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson began his career as a fighter following his college football career in 1996. Which ultimately led to his career as an actor in 2002 starring in his first movie, “The Scorpion King.” He continues to make casual appearances in wrestling starting again in 2011. He continues to create popular films, including his award in 2015 as the top-grossing actor.

The difference between Johnson and Rousey is that Johnson used his fighting to further his career and continue to be in the spotlight. And Rousey may have continued her career but has completely fallen out of the spotlight that she used to be in. The WWE has completely changed two peoples brands in different ways. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was able to use his wrestling to create a new career and brand as an actor. He has created a brand for himself, especially using the “Fast and the Furious” series. While Ronda Rousey may have continued her career as a celebrity but not with the same status she had while she was a UFC and MMA champion.

Uninterrupted

https://variety.com/2016/digital/exec-shuffle-people-news/lebron-james-uninterrupted-gotham-chopra-1201812597/

https://www.uninterrupted.com/

There are so many professional athletes that have built an incredible personal and professional brand. LeBron James is an athlete that has used his platform to speak out about current issues in our world.

In August of 2018, LeBron James and Maverick Carter are two of the executive producers for the HBO show, The Shop. James and Carter created a digital media company, Uninterrupted, and partnered with HBO Sports to produce The Shop.

The Shop is a show that travels around the country and sets up in barber shops with big names in sports and entertainment including, James Harden, Odell Beckham Jr., Snoop Dogg, Draymond Green, and Jon Stewart. The show was created to offer viewers with a barber shop experience that provides “a sanctuary for free-flowing and spirited discussions.” Conversations cover a variety of topics and give an insight to what these big names feel and have experienced throughout their lifetimes. James says, “The Shop is why we created Uninterrupted. Anyone who has been in a real barbershop, like the ones where I grew up, knows why this can be so incredible.”

Another opportunity that LeBron James used, was the series ROLLING WITH THE CHAMPION, on the Uninterrupted YouTube channel. The series is hosted by Cari Champion where she talks about various topics with professional athletes. LeBron James and Kevin Durant were featured on an episode together where they discussed race and what they feel when it comes to social and political issues like Donald Trump and visiting the White House as a championship team. James spoke on issues around the President and politics saying, “This is not the way.”

James has created such a huge name for his brand, that he has allowed himself to use his voice to speak on these issues. He does this not only for himself but also for the people in our country that aren’t heard and aren’t regarded. Durant talks about how his trade to the Golden State Warriors allowed for him to find his voice, and find empowering people in a great way.

Having this platform to speak from, creates more than just a professional athlete brand. It shows people that they are more than just basketball players, they have created a bigger brand for themselves. Uninterrupted is just one example of how LeBron James has a brand that is more than just his social media and career as a basketball player.

The Importance of Double-Checking: Adidas and the Boston Marathon

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The Boston Marathon is one of the biggest marathons in the world with participants from all over the world. The Boston Marathon is one of three marathons that the Boston Athletic Association has. The BAA has many sponsorships, including companies like Adidas, Gatorade, AT&T, and jetBlue. In 2013, the tragic bombing attack occurred at the marathon, killing three people and injuring over 200. Following the 2013 attack, participants and people across the country run in honor of the victims.

In 2017, following the marathon, Adidas, one of the marathon’s largest sponsors, sent an email to participants for their participation and completion of the marathon. Except Adidas didn’t use their best judgement when crafting the email. When it comes down to it, companies need to be careful when choosing words for their public statements. When the email was sent to participants, the subject line read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Immediately, participants posted screenshots of the email everywhere, making it go viral. This ultimately comes back on Adidas not reading over and double-checking something that was going to be public to all participants and most likely shared with more people.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adidas_Logo.svg

The email was sent out on a Tuesday afternoon, and shortly after the email was sent out, Adidas issued an apology. The statement read, “We are incredibly sorry. Clearly, there was no thought given to the insensitive email subject line we sent Tuesday. We deeply apologize for our mistake.” Their statement included paying respects to the marathon itself, “The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded of the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.”

As one of the top sports brands in the world, it’s expected that mistakes like this wouldn’t happen. It calls into question Adidas as a company and the sensitivity they have towards a tragic event. This focuses on their corporate social responsibility and especially holding each other accountable. For a company as large as Adidas, it’s expected that they would be sure to check all boxes and ask themselves, “What could go wrong?”

CTE, TBI and American Football

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American football and concussions are a common connection nowadays, especially with the increase in science and technology over the years. With professional players dying from the disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), parents have taken precautions for their kids at early ages to prevent further involvement in the sport. Between news media reporting new studies regarding CTE and movies such as Concussion (2015), the world has suddenly become more aware of the negative effects of the popular sport.

CBIRT (Center on Brain Injury Research and Training), under the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon, conducts research to better understand and improve the lives of adults and children with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). With football being a huge sport in Oregon and across the country, they hope that they are able to educate coaches and players on the signs and steps to take after a concussion, especially because they are so common within the sport. Their research includes school services post-TBI, ways to improve social relationships post-TBI, and systematic instruction in assistive technology to improve outcomes and quality of life for adults with TBI.

Research like this is important, especially at a university where there are football players, can be used as subjects in a study. Because of the increasing worry around football and head injuries, many parents haven’t allowed their children to play. The National Federation of State High Schools Association (NFHS), noticed that from 2016 to 2017 there was a 2-percent drop in enrollment, other factors are included in reasons why but injuries are a big factor. In the past decade, high school football participation has dropped 6.6-percent. Some high schools in the nation have dropped the sport completely from their athletics department. Jeff Reilly, a coach for the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district varsity team said, “Football is not on a good path right now and I think you have to be creative to find opportunities for kids to play.” The drop in participation doesn’t mean that national viewing of the sport has, but the drop will eventually catch up and there won’t be as much access to players as there once might have been.

Concussions in football happen all the time. Doctors, coaches and professionals are aware and want to find a way to make the sport safer. Centers like CBIRT are working on steps post-TBI, and hopefully with the proper research football can continue to be played across the country.

‘I Promise’ to the kids of Akron, Ohio

Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today Sports

The world of sports is filled with influential people that are hoping to better the world and their communities through foundations and organizations. The NBA has NBA Cares, and athletes within the league have their own. John Wall from the Washington Wizards has The John Wall Family Foundation.

For LeBron James, his passion is creating positive environments for children, especially children from his hometown of Akron. His foundation, The LeBron James Family Foundation was created to allow for the children of Akron to succeed and strive through education and co-curricular activities. Michele Campbell said the foundation’s mission is, “The LeBron James Family Foundation’s mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives. We believe that an education and living an active, healthy lifestyle is pivotal to the development of children and young adults.”

LeBron James is a huge figure not only in basketball but also sports in general. For athletes, it’s more than just being good at your respective sport. Professional athletes using the platform they are given allows for them to advocate for causes they are passionate about. In July of 2018, LeBron James officially opened the ‘I Promise’ School. The school comes with many benefits for the students and families of the I Promise Elementary and Secondary school. One of the many benefits is the breakfast, lunch and snacks that are served for the students daily. Students also receive free bikes and college tuition.

As an athlete creating a bond like James has created with his community, from a public relations perspective, it increases the image in a positive light, especially if it’s for a cause that an athlete is passionate about. There are many organizations that assist James and his foundation in funding the I Promise schools, including, Akron Public Schools, Beats by Dre, Kent State University, and the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation. The many organizations that assist with the foundation are also helping James build his brand as well as their own brands.