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Kings, Reign join with LA Sports in ‘Teams For LA’ fundraiser

The proceeds will go to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, but are the teams pulling enough weight in this partnership?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 11: Gabriel Vilardi #42 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the Ottawa Senators at STAPLES Center on March 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images

Teams across the city have come together to create a single fundraising effort to raise funds for those in Los Angeles impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. “Teams For LA,” as it has been named, will offer team-branded merchandise for the LA Clippers, LA Galaxy, LA Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Sparks, Ontario Reign and TEAM USA (basketball), as well as several large events that took place in LA (including the 2017 NHL All-Star Game).

All proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will be donated to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, a COVID-19 crisis fund for the city’s emergency response and relief efforts. Those efforts aren’t just directly combating the 15,140 confirmed cases in Los Angeles County, but also identifying critical needs of LA and directing funds to provide relief in those areas, like providing meals for children who rely on school lunch programs and relief for homeless populations. The site also offers the option to provide a cash donation in addition to or in lieu of purchase.

“All of us in the Los Angeles sports community have been looking for additional ways to support the tremendous efforts of our City’s leadership and to help those in our community that are most impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak,” said Dan Beckerman, President and CEO, AEG.

“Our collective donation of merchandise will provide our fans a way to show their ongoing support for their favorite teams while also contributing to help their fellow Angelenos in need.”

Kings Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman echoed that sentiment.

“Teams for LA is a great opportunity for our city and another example of how our fans can continue to give back in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” he said. “Sports plays a special role in society and when we join forces it only amplifies what we can accomplish, and with more than 300,000 units of merchandise to aide local shelters and other worthwhile local programs we can collectively accomplish so much. On behalf of the LA Kings and AEG we are thrilled to work with Mayor Garcetti to help support the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles.”

While the teams joining together for a centralized fundraising effort is smart and makes sense, it’s always a little weird when organizations owned by billionaires do this without mentioning how much money they’ll be putting in themselves, especially given the financial insecurity a lot of people are facing right now.

There’s some wording in the press release that feels weird in the same way:

“In addition to the 30,000-plus items offered at discounted prices, fans who visit the site will have the opportunity donate cash to the Mayor’s Fund. All financial contributions collected on the site will facilitate the donation of an additional 30,000 items of merchandise by the Los Angeles teams to local shelters and non-profits supporting the community.”

What that sounds like to me is that fans will be buying clearance items and part of the surplus of funds from sales and donations will be used to then buy merchandise from the teams to then donate to the shelters? Why aren’t the teams just donating the merchandise directly?

A small amount of credit is due, I suppose, in making this an event of clearance merchandise. Often fundraisers will print new T-shirts for a fundraising event that cost too much and are branded to the point that they lose relevance within a month, finding their way to Goodwill rather quickly. But it still feels like the teams are getting their old merchandise bought out, with the donations being an added benefit.

Read the full release here, and check out the Teams For LA website here.