The intersection of sports and diplomacy is increasingly part of everyday business in today’s interconnected world. Governments and NGOs, sports federations and leagues, teams and athletes, academia, the media, and the private sector all utilize or conduct sports diplomacy.

But what, exactly, is sports diplomacy? 

Simply put, it is communication, representation, and negotiation in or through the prism of sports. 

Sports diplomacy has the capacity to “do good,” but don’t confuse it with sports for development, philanthropy, or sports-orientated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 

Sports diplomacy is a core, baked-in component for many organizations. It’s increasingly part of their mission, a theme interwoven throughout C-suite executive communications, internal operations, and public-facing storytelling and brand identity for governments, professional leagues and teams, athlete brands, and more. Just a few examples include,

  • The Government of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently implemented an aggressive sports diplomacy policy as part of its tourism, sports, and business development plan.

  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver referenced using basketball diplomacy to ease trade and business tensions between China and the United States ahead of the 2019 NBA Finals. 

  • Multi-national companies, teams, and athletes are already conducting informal aspects of sports diplomacy when they communicate, negotiate, and represent to their global audiences, including the likes of NIKE, Adidas, Roger Federer, or Manchester United. 

Learn more about the intersection of sports and diplomacy for stakeholders from all perspectives through “The Power of Sport and Diplomacy Roundtable” (NYU, 2019) and “Basketball Diplomacy Africa” (SOAS, 2019) workshops I’ve produced and co-hosted. The “Sports Diplomacy: A Vision for the Future” (Oxford, 2018) dialogue overview may also be instructive, especially for content producers such as media and technology companies, as well and teams.

I can help your organization tap into the nexus of sports and diplomacy, reinforcing your brand identity and messaging, and more.  Please contact me to exchange further.