So this week would not be complete if I went through this entire saga regarding LeBron James and did not write about him once. I know everyone is sick of hearing about it, but for some reason everyone keeps reading the tabloids and listening to the countless information put out by the media. Everyone complains about it but than he or she plays devil’s advocate and wants to learn more about it anyways. I am not sure if there was a connection with the scorching temperatures that plagued the east side of the country this week, but LeBron decided he also wanted to be part of the “heat” epidemic.
Okay LeBron is on the Heat, we get it, but South Beach was not the only thing that came out a winner in the sweepstakes for King James. This article actually has little to do with the blockbuster deal that recently took place, but rather focusing on the wise choices made by the Boys and Girls Club of America.
Now I am not exactly sure whose idea it was to get themselves involved with one another, whether being LeBron contacting the club or the club contacting LeBron, but regardless it was an amazing public relations move in which put the Boys and Girls Club of America on the map. In what was easily the biggest hype to a sports announcement this year, and maybe all time for that matter, the Boys and Girls Club of America had their name all over the scene. I understand that they were not sponsors during the hour-long special on ESPN called “The Decision,” but as a corporation I can bet money that they created more awareness for their brand than any of the other companies involved during the LeJames-anthon.
The University of Phoenix and Vitamin Water presented a solid campaign with their sponsorships, as I can actually remember seeing them during the event, but how many people can really remember that Bing, Sprite, and McDonald’s also sponsored. I was trying to keep tabs on the sponsors that appeared during the event and I still forgot about those last three. I guess Bing, Sprite, and McDonalds were like the Cavaliers, Knicks, and Nets; but hey, not everyone could come out a winner during the campaign.
When it came to the Boys and Girls Club of America and LeBron James, they were able to compliment each other well. Honestly, I think that anytime someone like the Boys and Girls Club of America can get themselves involved with such a spectacle deserves a pat on the back. Though give some credit to LeBron, as even though after his decision some people may think differently, but the man is no idiot. Call it great public relations by the James Camp, call it a scapegoat so those the New York and Cleveland communities might show some remorse, or call it a man trying to help out an organization, regardless, it increased the brand of the Boys and Girls Club of America and it made LeBron look like less of a villain for hosting his announcement live on television.
LeBron was going to come out of the situation hated by numerous cities regardless of his decision, but the Boys and Girls Club of America knew they were going to come out a winner no matter what.
While I agree that the Boys and Girls Club benefitted from a monetary standpoint, they appeared as pawns, as much as we knew that their being there was part of the PR standing. I know and work in this business, yet felt like I needed a shower to wash off the feeling of young kids watching a guy decide which mega-buck deal this athlete was going to take. There are so many other ways LeBron could have helped this great organization.
While it was good for the Boys and Girls Club to get some money and there name out there, it may have been exactly the thing the organization does not want. A person that only cares about himself does not send the apropriate message. The goal behind the Boys and Girls Club is to give a young person the opportunity to succeed by offering academic, athletic and personal interest opportunities. LeBron just showed everyone child and young adult in the program how to not act, and unfortunately some may feel that is the apropriate way to act now. Great idea in the short term, but terrible idea in the long term for the growth of the children and young adults.
I think LeBron has every right to do what's best for him and his career, but the stage he did it on was unprofessional. He made it all about him. That just shows you how the NBA has changed for the worst. Back in 2003, when Michael Jordan was retiring, Part III, the young players on the Washington Wizards (an none of them very good at all) were asked how they felt about Jordan retiring. These player's basically said they wanted him to retire because he was taking away from “their game.” When did it become their game?
Here are our findings from Joyce Julius & Associates: Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which hosted the night’s festivities and reportedly will receive all the advertising proceeds from the program through James and his organizers, also benefited from the show, as a banner strategically placed near James, T-shirts worn by children in the audience and seven verbal mentions brought about $550,500 of in-broadcast exposure value for the organization.
Unless I'm mistaken, I'm fairly certain that LeBron has had a longstanding partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, as part of his mission to build basketball courts all over the country. The proceeds from “The Decision” will certainly go a long way towards making that dream a reality, so in that respect it was an outstanding PR move by LeBron. We may not agree with the way in which he announced his career move, but we should also understand that it wasn't just his decision to have a TV special (he was approached about it, actually), and that helping out a charity factored into the choice to go ahead with the live appearance.
As a former Corporate Relations Director for the Boys (no apostrophe) and Girls Clubs of America, I'd like to correct your reference to them as a corporation. They are a not-for-profit charity. Also, branding was not the point here. They received all of the sponsorship dollars from the event, in support of their mission-related activities. If you do a little research you will find that this is not the first time LeBron has supported the BGCA.
Thanks for the correction on the name!