"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." — Winston Churchill
By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism
February 15, 2017: In January, the American Cancer Society was named a Top Ten Sports Marketer of the Year for 2016 by the staff and editors of NYSportsJournalism.com.
The honor was bestowed on ACS for its various efforts involving coaches, teams, athletes and sports organizations throughout the past year.
In particular, its first Coaches vs. Cancer marketing campaign, "Come and Play For Us"; a platform with IMG College, in collaboration with Curing Kids Cancer, "A House United to Tackle Pediatric Cancer"; and Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Week with the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
And for the ongoing work of its staff and volunteers nationwide — as well as the countless doctors, nurses, researchers and hospitals — seeking to find a cure for cancer.
Now, the American Cancer Society has been voted the Grand Sports Marketer of the Year for 2016 based on votes cast among the more than 50,000 readers of NYSportsJournalism, votes cast via social media and input from sports and business marketing analysts and writers nationwide.
ACS joins a prestigious list of Grand Sports Marketers of the Year that includes BBVA Group (2010), Mission AthleteCare (2012), Stand Up to Cancer with MLB and MasterCard (2013), the ALS Association (2014) and Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles (2015).
Pediatric cancer is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1-14 in the U.S.(behind accidents/unintentional injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and it is estimated that in 2016 there were nearly 10,400 new cancer cases diagnosed among children in the U.S., according to ACS.
Motivated by that and other related urgent situations, the American Cancer Society and IMG College, in collaboration with Curing Kids Cancer, this college season unveiled "A House United to Tackle Pediatric Cancer."
The program, housed on CrowdRise, "targets college football fans through 12 of IMG’s partner universities to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer."
"A House United to Tackle Pediatric Cancer" brought together "college football coaches and ambassadors from across the country to ask fans to help raise funds for pediatric cancer programs and research," according to ACS.
The universities involved included Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Syracuse, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Washington. All proceeds from the initiative will be used to support research and programs for pediatric cancer from ACS.
In December, ACS launched the first multi-media campaign to support the Coaches vs. Cancer program, an alliance with the NABC that features college basketball coaches to raise awareness and donations.
The cause marketing campaign, "Come and Play For Us," was built around a TV spot, "The Recruiting Call," that includes such well-respected head coaches as Lon Kruger (University of Oklahoma), Tubby Smith (Memphis), Roy Williams (North Carolina, pictured below) and Jay Wright (Villanova University).
The campaign, which began in December, runs through March Madness and the NCAA Div. 1 Men’s and Women’s Final Four in April 2017. TV will air on broadcast and cable, with support from radio, digital and social.
ACS worked with Houston-based marketing agency Professional Sports Partners to "enlist the support of high-profile Div. I college basketball coaches whose lives have been touched by cancer and are valuable leaders with the Coaches vs. Cancer program."
To help support Suits & Sneakers Week last month, people are able purchase a specially designed pair of gold sneaker laces online or in stores from Shoe Carnival in memory of Lacey Holsworth, a loyal fan of the Michigan State Spartans who passed away from cancer in 2014 at the age off eight. (Details here.)
This leg of the campaign was launched in January 2016.
Funds raised by this effort, which will continue through the end of the college basketball season, will go to Coaches vs. Cancer and Princess Lacey’s Legacy, to fight pediatric cancer.
Some NCAA 4,000 men’s and women’s coaches and their staffs on teams and in conferences nationwide traded in their usual on-court attire in favor of sneakers and suits to support Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Awareness Week (Jan. 23-29).
The Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge allows more than 200 college and high school basketball teams nationwide to use their spotlight on the court to raise money and awareness against cancer.
Fans can pledge a donation for each three-point shot their favorite team makes during February to support ACS research, education and patient programs.
Since its founding, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised more than $100 million for ACS, according to the NABC.
Suits & Sneakers raises awareness about the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing cancer risk, increases cancer awareness, highlights the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing a person’s cancer risk and promotes ACS' free programs and services available to those facing cancer.
Among other upcoming events are:
• The 10th annual Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic, scheduled for May 21-23, 2017 at the Shadow Creek and Southern Highlands Golf Club, Las Vegas, hosted by the MGM Grand.
• Coaches vs, Cancer National Golf Tournament and Circle of Honor Dinner, scheduled for June 11-12, 2017, at Merion (PA) Golf Club.
NYSportsJournalism would like to congratulate the other nine companies and groups named Top Sports Marketers of the Year for 2016 (in alphabetical order): 2024 Olympics L.A./Paris, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Rams, NBCU Rio 2016 Olympics, NFL "My Cause My Cleats", NHL World Cup of Hockey, #SagerStrong with Turner Sports/NBA, Topgolf and Topps NOW.
In addition, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson were named Male Sports Marketers of the Year; and Simone Biles and Carli Lloyd were named Female Sports Marketers of the Year.