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Social Media, Sports, and Fanbases Create Powerful Change

By: Nick Tilson

It feels like almost every day there is a new way to utilize social media. Whether you are building your personal brand, expressing yourself, or absorbing the news, social media serves a purpose for everyone. As we continue to see rapid growth among platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok the possibilities for creativity are endless. The 2020-2021 NFL season has been unique, to say the least. From the Denver Broncos playing without a quarterback to empty stadiums due to the pandemic, this has been a season unlike any other. Nevertheless, fan bases showed the same passion and excitement as seasons prior.

As Week 17 of the NFL season approached, the American Football Conference (AFC) playoff picture still had questions that remained unsolved. The Indianapolis Colts entered with a 10-5 record, needing a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and loss from either the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, or Miami Dolphins to clinch a spot in the 2021 playoffs. After the Colts defeated the Jaguars, the Bills defeated Miami, thus giving them the right to play in the postseason.

Before the game, Colts fans vowed to donate to a charity relating to the team that helped them make the playoffs. That team was the Buffalo Bills. Colts fans chose to donate money to the Patricia Allen Fund at Oishei Children’s Hospital. The Patricia Allen Fund was set up to honor Bills’ quarterback Josh Allen, whose grandmother unexpectedly passed away. Colts fans donated nearly $3,000 to the charity to show their appreciation for the Bills helping them make the playoffs.

This isn’t the first time a fan base has rallied on social media for a charitable cause. Less than a month later, the Bills fan base showed their support for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson after the Bills beat the Ravens 17-3 in the AFC Divisional round. Lamar Jackson was injured in the second half of the game and couldn’t return after failing to meet the league’s concussion protocol. Shortly after the game members of ‘Bills Mafia’ tweeted their support for Jackson and wished him a swift recovery. Several tweets mentioned one of Jackson’s favorite charities, “Blessings in a Backpack”. These tweets started to gain traction among the Bills Mafia, which led to over $450,000 in donations.

These are just two examples of fan bases making charitable donations. The overlap between sports and charity work has become more popular, even in the eSports industry. The fundraising organization “Games Done Quick” is one of the leading organizations of its type in the eSports world as it hosts events and streams with the purpose of raising money for charities.

Through social media and the love of sports, fan bases and organizations have been able to use their fandom as a means for charitable efforts. After a difficult year for most, helping others is more important than ever.

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