September 29, 2010: In a unique gathering of virtually every professional sports team in the area, executives and players from the Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics, Washington Nationals, Washington Redskins and Washington Wizards have unveiled a partnership aimed to raise awareness about childhood obesity and promote active lifestyles among kids in the Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. region.
The D.C.-area team alliance is an extension of The Coca-Cola Company's Live Positively: Get The Ball Rolling initiative and will serve as a pilot program for future partnerships between Coca-Cola and professional sports teams throughout the country. Coca-Cola has corporate alliances with each of the teams in attendance.
The alliance was announced at the U.S. Capitol was attended by Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, Washington Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner and Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics owner Ted Leonsis; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.); and athletes Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals), Chris Cooley (Redskins), Josh Howard (Wizards), Nicklas Backstrom (Capitals) and Crystal Langhorne (Mystics).
Thirty percent of children nationally are considered overweight or obese, but the figure is higher in the D.C. area, where 40% of kids fall into that category, according to organizers of the alliance.
"It is not often that all professional sports team owners in a city can present a unified front to support a cause, but the issue of childhood obesity, while a nationwide problem, is particularly an issue in the Nation's Capitol, which is among the cities with the highest childhood obesity rates in the country," Dori Silverman, vp-field execution for Coca-Cola North America, said during the meeting. "To coincide with National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we brokered a partnership among the D.C.-area teams, which we hope will bring the community together to encourage active and healthy living."
Each sports team, along with Coca-Cola, will host a workshop clinic in October that will focus on teaching youth the importance of exercising and eating a balanced diet. Professional athletes and nutrition experts will run fitness drills and give nutrition lessons for kids to take home and share with their families. The four planned October clinics will include participation by 750-1000 youth throughout the Washington, D.C. region.
In addition, each team will hold events to support the alliance. The Redskins, for example, are hosting a PLAY 60 flag football game at FedExField in which schools from the area will be in attendance.
"[This] is a perfect example of a double bottom-line partnership – great teams and a great partner in Coca-Cola . . . joining forces to benefit the community and our youth."
"[This] is a perfect example of a double bottom-line partnership – great teams and a great partner in Coca-Cola," said Leonsis, founder of Monumental Sports & Entertainment and CEO and majority owner of the Capitals, Mystics and Wizards. "We are joining forces and coming together to benefit the community and our youth. Our teams are committed to featuring healthy choices at our events and promoting programs that encourage visible signs of change."
According to Coca-Cola's SIlverman, "We are committed to doing our part to fight obesity and to help create a healthier nation through policies and programs that promote active, healthy living. We hope this is an event that will set the standard for other cities across the nation, and it is fitting that it launched at our Nation's Capitol."