Inside the First-ever Joint Sports League Campaign and A Look Into the Future of Sports

14 Different sport leagues. 28 Days from idea to execution. 3.5 Billion social impressions. 1 Award-winning storytelling movement.

In the early days of Covid-19 here in the U.S., when schools began shutting down, employees were told to work from home, travel ceased, hotels began opening their rooms for overbooked hospitals and sports came to a screeching halt, we had a call. This “Sports Unite” call included CMOs, CBOs, Chief Fan Officers and Presidents across various sport and esport leagues to discuss what was happening right at that moment and how we could support one another.

In that very first call, we went from group therapy to heroic action, with all leagues agreeing to join forces to serve the real heroes—the frontline medical workers—through the power of their leagues, clubs and athletes recognizing and celebrating those who were risking their lives every day to help others. And that is how the The Real Heroes Project was born.

Uniting “Avengers-style,” 14 leagues came together with 72andSunny to create, plan and launch a massive campaign across all leagues involving many athletes who turned over their jerseys and created video tributes by replacing the name on their jersey with that of a doctor, nurse or EMT fighting the pandemic. Soon, thousands of fans were finding their own jerseys to join in on the tribute, leading to 3.5 Billion social impressions and an award-winning feature story on the cover of Adweek—just named Folio Eddies Best Single Article in the B2B Media & Entertainment category.

It’s been just about six months now and it was time for a check-in. Starting with Glenn Cole, Co-founder & Creative Chair of 72andSunny, with a look behind the scenes on how the campaign came to life in just a mere four weeks, to a catch-up with leaders from eight of the participating leagues: Tim Ellis, CMO, NFL; Heidi Browning Pearson, CMO, NHL; Danielle Lee, Chief Fan Officer, NBA; Stephanie McMahon, CBO, WWE; Barbara McHugh, SVP Marketing, MLB; Micky Lawler, President, WTA; Jill Gregory, Chief Marketing and Content Officer, Nascar; Daniel Cherry III, General Manager, SVP, DC Comics.

Find out what’s been happening since and what these inspirational leaders are looking forward to in the future of sports.