The ALS ice bucket challenge has taken the country by storm. Facebook feeds are flooded with people dumping freezing cold buckets of water on their heads to raise awareness about ALS (sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Donations have skyrocketed as awareness has been buoyed by movie stars, politicians and sports personalities sharing their ice bucket challenge on multiple social media outlets. Now the memorabilia market is getting in on the action.
No, collectors aren’t dumping ice water on their heads, but this week Lou Gehrig’s 1928 World Series watch went up for auction by SCP Auctions. The timing couldn’t be better for the sellers. This is the 75-year anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest man” speech. Couple the anniversary with the increase in ALS awareness, and the watch could set an auction record. The auction ends Aug. 23, and SCP is hoping the final price to reach close to $300,000.
This is not just an attempt to benefit from the amazing amount of social awareness. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated toward ALS research. Did the recent ice bucket challenge explosion help drive up the price? No doubt. Is it more than coincidental that the auction opened last week during the height of the ice bucket challenge? Probably. But any donation can go a long way toward helping find a cure.
This is another example of social enterprise ingraining itself into the world of sports. Leagues and players publicize how they give back to the community. Now it is time for the fans to give back, even if it is indirectly. Fantasy leagues are being designed to give a portion of the entry fee to charity. Sports memorabilia companies are donating to causes. And every last bit helps.
RELATED: Donate to ALS Research here.
Michael Colangelo is Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute and Senior Editor of The Fields of Green.