Sports Industry and Organizations: Social Issues, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy


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The intersection of social issues and corporate social responsibility (CSR) within sports organizations reflects a growing trend of leveraging athletic platforms for positive societal impact. This notion has long played a significant role in the world of sports and has become increasingly prominent in recent years (Chiu et al., 2023; Fatima and Elbanna, 2023; Walzel et al., 2018). Sports organizations, athletes, and sporting events recognize their ability to make a positive impact and generate value beyond the playing field (Yiapanas et al., 2023). Whether it is through financial support, charitable institutes, direct donations, fundraising initiatives, or partnerships with non-profit organizations, philanthropy has the power to transform the sports industry in meaningful ways (Cury et al., 2023). 
Sports organizations engage in positive social contribution and development, often supporting local communities. They are actively involved in diversity and inclusion programs, aiming to foster equitable representation among players, coaches, and executives (Yiapanas et al., 2022; Fechner et al., 2023). In addition, philanthropic contribution is made through individual, athlete-driven initiatives, which also relate to mass dissemination of positions on social issues e.g., athletes speaking up about discrimination, or workplace concerns and disagreements (Tedone and Bruk-Lee, 2022). Many professional athletes, recognizing the financial success they have achieved and the communications platform they have at their disposal, showcase a holistic approach to societal engagement and have used their influence to give back to society in numerous ways. Athlete activism has emerged as a powerful force, with sports figures advocating for issues such as racial injustice, gender inequality, education, mentorship programs, and mental health advocacy (Kang and Matsuoka, 2023). Beyond organizations and individual athletes, sporting events like the Olympic Games can also impact society. They are often used as means to raising awareness and funds for various causes. In this and similar contexts, varied sports stakeholders, including athletes, corporate sponsors, associations and governments come together to contribute to humanitarian efforts and to promote social change (Hwang and Henry, 2023). 
In the contemporary sports industry and context, social issues, CSR and philanthropy have become integral parts of the sports landscape (Anagnostopoulos et al., 2022). The goal is to bring together multiple stakeholders, such as sports organizations, athletes, community sports nonprofits, sports business professionals, and the business community, and drive positive change towards shared visions. This leverages a plethora of opportunities to make a meaningful impact on society, support prosperity for people, and contribute towards social, economic, and environmental sustainability (Sant et al., 2023). 
The above constitute a new reality for the sports community and society at large. And form an inexorable set of forces and conditions that sports executives, administrators and policy makers have to consider and utilise for the mutual benefit of society, industry, organisations and individuals. Further considering the increasing commercialization of sports, their high media coverage, and wider social resonance, greater pressures and new challenges arise for all sports stakeholders. Adding to that the strong relationship between sports organizations and the cultural identity of their local/national/global communities, the gravity of sports’ social role and contribution becomes even greater. 
In the above context, this Special Issue elucidates the multifaceted ways in which sports organizations, events, athletes and stakeholders, can embrace their role as catalysts for positive social change, as well as the corresponding issues, challenges and potentialities.

List of Topic Areas

  1. Sports as a catalyst for social change; 
  2. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sports; 
  3. Balancing business, profit and society in sports; 
  4. Meta-analysis (systematic and/or bibiometric reviews) of the association between social issues, CSR and philanthropy within sports; 
  5. Social and business stakeholders and interrelationships within sports; 
  6. Value creation through CSR and philanthropy in and for sports;
  7. The link between social contribution and sport management; 
  8. Strategic and Management aspects of social responsibility and philanthropy in sports; 
  9. Marketing and consumer (fan) behavior effects of and on sports CSR; 
  10. The linkage between sports CSR and philanthropy, and sustainability; 
  11. Sports integrated communications means and tactics towards social awareness; 
  12. The relationship between sports CSR and corporate performance; 
  13. The relationship between sports CSR and athletic performance; 
  14. Sports social responsibility and business risks (e.g. compliance, financial, strategic, and operational threats); 
  15. Sports social responsibility and other risks (e.g. image, positioning, community relationships); Sports social responsibility and ethical concerns; 
  16. Individual athlete philanthropy and social positioning; 
  17. The implementation and performance measurement/evaluation of corporate social responsibility and athlete philanthropy activities; 
  18. Social sports stakeholders’ identification and interrelationship.

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 20/10/2024 
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 19/01/2025


Anagnostopoulos, C., Winand, M., Papadimitriou, D. and Zeimers, G., (2022). Implementing corporate social responsibility through charitable foundations in professional football: The role of trustworthiness. Managing Sport and Leisure, pp.1-21. 
Chiu, W., Cho, H. and Won, D. (2023), "The knowledge structure of corporate social responsibility in sport management: a retrospective bibliometric analysis", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 771-792. 
Cury, R., Kennelly, M. and Howes, M. (2023). "Environmental sustainability in sport: a systematic literature review". European Sport Management Quarterly, 23(1), pp.13-37. 
Fatima, T. and Elbanna, S. (2023). "Corporate social responsibility (CSR) implementation: A review and a research agenda towards an integrative framework". Journal of Business Ethics, 183(1), pp.105-121. 
Fechner, D., Filo, K., Reid, S. and Cameron, R. (2023). "A systematic literature review of charity sport event sponsorship". European Sport Management Quarterly, 23(5), pp.1454-1476. 
Hwang, B. and Henry, I. (2023). "Identifying the field of Olympic education: a meta-narrative review". European Sport Management Quarterly, 23(2), pp.561-585. 
Kang, T. and Matsuoka, H. (2023). "The negative effect of CSR-CSI domain overlap in CSR-linked sport sponsorship". Journal of Business Research, 156, p.113527. 
Sant, S.L., Maleske, C. and Vanderboll, K. (2023). "Research on human rights and large-scale sport events from 1990 to 2022: a scoping review". Sport Management Review, pp.1-22. 
Tedone, A.M. and Bruk-Lee, V. (2022), "Speaking up at work: personality’s influence on employee voice behavior", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 289-304. ttps:// 
Walzel, S., Robertson, J., and Anagnostopoulos, C. (2018). Corporate social responsibility in professional team sports organizations: An integrative review. Journal of Sport Management, Vol. 32(6), pp. 511-530. 
Yiapanas, G., Thrassou, A. and Vrontis, D. (2022). "A holistic strategic perspective of football industry stakeholders". Journal for International Business and Entrepreneurship Development. Vol. 14 No. 3 pp. 349-377 
Yiapanas, G., Thrassou, A. and Vrontis, D. (2023). "The contemporary football industry: a value-based analysis of social, business structural and organisational stakeholders". Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal. Vol. X No. Y pp. xxx-xxx, DOI: 10.1108/AAAJ-06-2022-5855