In an article for Ethics Daily, Charles Deweese makes the case that sports is one of the world's largest religions. There is no doubt that sports pervades much of our culture. Stadiums and arenas are the cathedrals in which we pay homage and reverence to our larger-than-life athletes who can lead comebacks and victory marches. Sports makes many people cry, shout and dance. Talk of sports happens everywhere with loyal adherents stating their case for why their team or player is better (and therefore more deserving of praise and worship).
While Deweese rightly points out many negative effects of this phenomenon, a minor league baseball team announced today that they will donate half of all ticket proceeds from their game on July 29 to relief agencies in Darfur.
Many religions pride themselves on their charitable endeavors, and it appears that one of the most popular faiths, sports, could be on the same track. The Bridgeport Bluefish are not affiliated with a major league team and are part of the independent Atlantic League. This makes their endeavor even more admirable as they have no 'safety net' in terms of finances from a parent ball club.
Let's do the math. Let's say the Bluefish sell 3,000 tickets that day for $6 each. Half of that total comes to $9,000. If every team in the Atlantic League followed their lead, you're up to $72,000.
Now, if every minor league team copied this idea, we start to see some real dollars. There are currently 246 minor league teams, ranging widely in stadium size and ticket price. But, just to stay on the conservative side of things, we'll keep the same amount we think the Bluefish can bring in: 246 teams at $9,000 each = $2,214,000.
Now, let's step it up for the big boys. Major league teams have bigger stadiums and more expensive tickets. While a philanthropic cause like this held on a Saturday in the fall could have exponential effects for our experiment, we'll just stick with the averages. The average game last year sold 31,423 tickets at an average price of $22.21. Half of that price multiplied by all those bodies brings in a one day total of $10,463,859 for 30 teams.
The moral of the story: if every professional baseball team had a philanthropic day at the park to benefit Darfur, over $12.6 million could be raised.
If the promotion happened once a month, we're talking major money that can go towards changing the world.
Team owners are always looking for ways to pack the parks, so tell your local GM to step up to the plate hold a similar day in your town.