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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Sports: Exploring the Synergy Between CSR & Sports

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Every company has a social responsibility and moral obligation towards the welfare of society. They are expected to take initiative and perform activities for the betterment and welfare of the society. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in sports business or business in general is the term for these initiatives and actions taken by organizations and companies to have a positive impact on society and the environment.

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It involves going beyond the traditional business objectives of profit-making and includes efforts to address social, environmental, and ethical issues. CSR in sports business is becoming increasingly important as stakeholders, including fans, consumers, investors, and employees, expect sports organizations to demonstrate a commitment to making a difference in the communities they operate in.

In India, these CSR activities are undertaken in accordance with the statutory obligations laid down by the Companies Act 2013, Sector 135.

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic in the business world today. More and more companies are realizing that they have a responsibility to give back to the communities they operate in. This is especially true in the sports business, where teams and leagues have a large platform to reach a wide audience.

Key Aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility 

Corporate Social Responsibility in Sports | KreedOn
Image Source: The CSR Journal

There are many different ways that Organizations can engage in CSR. Some common initiatives include:

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Donating money or resources to charitable organizations that support a variety of causes, such as education, health, and the environment.

Community Engagement

Organizations often engage with local communities through various programs and initiatives. This can include funding youth sports programs, organizing events for underprivileged children, and supporting local charities.


Sports events and facilities can have a significant environmental impact. CSR efforts in this area may involve reducing carbon emissions, promoting recycling and waste reduction, and using sustainable materials for construction and equipment.

Ethical business practices

Organizations are expected to uphold high ethical standards in their business operations. This includes transparency, fair labor practices, and responsible marketing and sponsorship.

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Health and Wellness

Organizations have a role to play in promoting healthy and active lifestyles. They can invest in health and wellness programs for their employees, fans, and the broader community.

Responsible Sponsorship

Organizations need to be mindful of the impact their sponsors have on society and ensure that they align with their values and CSR goals.

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Benefits of Engaging in CSR

Sports CSR | KreedOn
Image Source: SLSV

There are many benefits to engaging in CSR for companies and organizations. These benefits include:

Improved brand reputation

Consumers are increasingly looking for companies that share their values. CSR can help to improve a company’s brand reputation and make it more attractive to customers and investors.

Increased employee engagement

Employees are more likely to be engaged and productive when they feel that their work is making a positive impact on the world. CSR can help to create a more positive work environment and attract and retain top talent.

Enhanced community relations

CSR can help to build positive relationships with local communities. This can lead to increased support for teams and leagues, as well as greater opportunities for business growth.

Challenges associated with CSR


CSR can be expensive. Companies need to carefully consider the costs of their CSR initiatives before they commit to them.

Measuring impact

It can be difficult to measure the impact of CSR initiatives. Companies need to develop ways to track the results of their CSR efforts so that they can see how they are making a difference.


Companies need to be credible in their CSR efforts. If they are not, they risk damaging their reputation and losing the trust of consumers and investors.

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How can CSR help the development or promotion of sports in India?

Sports CSR | KreedOn
Image Source: Latha Architects

Infrastructure Development: This is a major way in which companies can help the sports scenario in the country. They can aid in building new and better buildings, stadiums, complexes, and training centers. These will go a long way in nurturing the sporting talent of the country for years to come.

Sponsorship and Funding: The companies can also provide sponsorships and fund numerous sports events as well as teams or individuals.

Skill Development: Initiates can be launched under CSR for skill development. This could include training programs for coaches, sports science research, and the development of training modules for athletes.

Grassroots Development: This is of vital importance. Schools and colleges can be targeted for participation in sports and hidden talents can be discovered and picked up for further development.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion: Women, underprivileged sections, and underrepresented groups can be given a level playing field via CSR initiatives.

Examples of Sports Businesses engaging in CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility in Sports | CSR | KreedOn
Image Source:
  • The NBA (National Basketball Association) Foundation

The NBA Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports programs that promote education, health, and social responsibility. The Foundation has donated over millions of dollars to support these programs.

  • The NFL’s (National Football League) Play 60 initiative

Play 60 is an NFL program that encourages kids to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. The program has reached over 100 million kids since its inception.

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  • The MLS (Major League Soccer) WORKS program

MLS WORKS is a league-wide initiative that supports community service and social responsibility. The program has engaged over 1 million volunteers and donated over $10 million to charitable organizations.

These are just a few examples of how sports businesses are engaging in CSR. There are many other ways that companies can give back to their communities. By engaging in CSR, sports businesses can make a positive impact on the world and improve their own bottom line.

Corporate Social Responsibility Activities in Indian Sports 

Corporate Social Responsibility in Sports | CSR | KreedOn
Source: Moneycontrol

In 2016, the scope of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the sports industry was expanded to encompass activities such as stadium construction, renovation, gymnasium maintenance, and sports science support, including rehabilitation centers. This broadened the range of sporting initiatives that could qualify as CSR activities, providing companies with more opportunities to invest their funds in the realm of sports.

A KPMG report stated that the 100 largest listed Indian companies spent ₹123 crore on sports through CSR in 2018-19. The trend of promoting sporting activities through corporate social responsibility has been steadily growing, with major Indian companies leading the way by making significant investments in sports. These endeavors have had a profound impact on sports development, as business leaders are driven not only by profit motives but also by their passion for sports.

Through their investments, companies have facilitated various infrastructural developments, supported grassroots sports, and contributed to the overall growth of sports in the country. Their efforts extend beyond merely meeting CSR targets; they actively nurture athletes and promote India as a multi-sporting nation.

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Here are some examples of how companies in India have supported sports through their CSR initiatives.

Corporate Social Responsibility in Sports | CSR | KreedOn
Source: Moneycontrol

Reliance Industries Limited

Reliance Industries Limited has been actively involved in improving the sports landscape for several years. Through the Reliance Foundation and its collaboration with Sports For All, they launched a campaign to support the education of underprivileged children. Partnering with 14 different NGOs, this initiative focuses on nurturing not only sporting skills but also life skills among the children. As part of this program, a digital learning van was introduced, which has been making a positive impact on the lives of children in various areas of Mumbai and Thane by providing educational opportunities.

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Kotak Mahindra Bank also actively participates in promoting sports. With its initiative of ‘Kotak Karma Contact Sports Centre’, an advanced training facility located at the IIS campus in Bellary, Karnataka, it featured a spacious 62m x 62m indoor training center without any columns, providing top-notch infrastructure and specialized training for both established and promising junior and senior Indian wrestling and boxing athletes. The center is dedicated to the overall development of its resident athletes, offering support in areas such as academics, nutrition, psychology, leadership, and vocational training.

Tata Steel Limited

Tata Steel Limited, a prominent company, actively participates in supporting sports initiatives as part of its CSR endeavors. The company involves its employees, families, and the local community in sports by establishing sports academies, which also serve multiple other purposes. Notable among these academies are the Tata Football Academy and Tata Archery Academy, which have earned a reputation for their excellence. Furthermore, Tata Steel has made significant contributions to training centers in collaboration with the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which cover an impressive array of 17 sports, including volleyball, basketball, chess, and various others.


Overall, CSR is a valuable tool for businesses. By engaging in CSR, companies can improve their brand reputation, enhance community relations, attract and retain top talent, and build stronger relationships with sponsors and partners.

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