What Sports Films Teach Us About Corporate Reputation

sports movies blog

Sports movies are fun. Plain and simple.

You don't even have to be a sports fan to enjoy them, because they all have underlying messages that can be applied to almost any life or work scenarios (even corporate reputation-building). The bond between a team and its fans is similar to the emotional bond that drives support for a business.

If you need a reminder of why you're working so hard to build your company's reputation, or you'd just like some unconventional inspiration, watch any of these famous sports films.


BASEketball is based on the theory that over-sponsorship of professional sports can result in a decline in audience interest. In this classic 1998 film, baseketball is a brand new sport developed around what spectators—not sponsors—want. By focusing less on revenue and more on pleasing the fans, the sport succeeds quickly and earns an incredibly positive reputation. This comedy serves as a reminder that considering and relating to customers will help in developing a positive corporate reputation. It's hard to lose when you put your audience first.

Jerry Maguire

Warren Buffett said it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it, and Jerry Maguire is a great example of that. The sports agent, played by Tom Cruise, spent years building a reputation that he one day comes to hate. When he wants to make a change within his company, his ideas are rejected and he is out on the street—so to speak. He's again tasked with doing the work to build up a new reputation. He succeeds with a clear message that's built on passion. Jerry takes a stand to support his values in a way that they align with his business, showing his #1 client, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., the money!



In 2002, the Oakland A's general manager, played by Brad Pitt in Moneyball, along with his Assistant General Manager, played by Jonah Hill, gave the baseball team a much-needed makeover. They didn't even have to spend a lot to do it. They had the third lowest payroll and the worst reputation in the Major Leagues at the time, so players weren't exactly banging down the door to join the team. How'd they turn their reputation around without overspending? Analytics. The A's dumped the traditional way of scouting players using intuition for a data-driven method. By signing undervalued players based on metrics, they got the maximum bang for their buck. They turned the A's into a team with a 20 game winning streak that broke an American League record. Moneyball is a great example of how to rebuild reputation with little resources in order to attract quality customers and team members.

A League of Their Own

Based on a true story of the professional U.S. women's baseball league launched in 1943 during World World II, the film highlights the struggles these female teams had in building an audience of fans. To help, the women used charismatic tactics to stand out -- catching baseballs with their hats instead of gloves, performing splits to stretch for a catch, and diving into the crowd to grab hot dogs during a play. Marketing at its best, these ladies worked harder and used their creativity to showcase their talent, give their reputation as a sport to be reckoned with a boost, and to draw record-breaking crowds.

Lesson Learned: Even when times get tough, there's no crying in corporate reputation!

Amanda Ri

Amanda McCormick
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator
Reputation Institute

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