Corporate Athletic Association takes company wellness to new levels

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Competition between companies in Utah County has expanded outside the office and onto the field.

The Corporate Athletic Association has taken a new approach to health and wellness by providing a venue for corporate teams to play soccer and basketball against local competitors.

CAA soccer games are played at the Real Salt Lake's old practice field. [Photo taken by Jordan Kinghorn]
CAA soccer games are played at the Real Salt Lake’s old practice field. (Photo by Jordan Kinghorn)
The new organization began its first soccer season this July and drew teams from twelve different companies including NuSkin, Qualtrics, Domo and others. October’s basketball season is expected to bring in even more companies and will launch in the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys.

Rich Wade, the league’s commissioner, was inspired to create an outlet for employee unification within companies through being healthy and active. Wade, 26, along with co-founder and brother Jason, 24, have honed in on the excitement that comes from competition between companies.

“We feel like there’s a lot of value being able to have a professional environment for people to play against each other,” Rich Wade said.

Players, both male and female, from various company teams enjoy rivalries with opponents. Dane Jensen, 26, works in market research at Qualtrics and was quickly impressed with the league.

“The competition is good, and it’s fun to compete against other companies in the area,” Jensen said.

In addition to taking down competitors, teams are also motivated by great incentives. At the end of playoffs in August, the winning team, Qualtrics, received a championship cup and a billboard along I-15 featuring it as the new champ.

Companies gain great marketing through the Corporate Athletic Association by being showcased as unique and fun. This selling point is one of many reasons companies are jumping on board to play, according to Wade.

“It wins in so many areas. You get people running around, being active, being more healthy; you market their brand in a fun way … and it’s just fun to do,” Wade said.

The organization has expanded through its partnership with The Good Line, a video documentary company that has helped get the word out about the Corporate Athletic Association. Wade expects the number of registered companies to increase significantly during the October basketball season and hopes to have around 80 teams.

The basketball season starting in mid-October will include fun, competitive and premier leagues. The fun league includes a low-key, 10-game season, just a step down from the competitive league, champions of which will receive a cup and an I-15 billboard.

The premier league boosts incentives by including additional team gear, features on an I-15 digital billboard and the Energy Solutions jumbo screen, prize packages for top-four and top-two teams and packages sponsored by the Utah Jazz for champions. Wade explained that this is part of the overriding mission to foster an exciting, health-oriented outlet for competition between companies.

“Essentially what we’re trying to create is an NBA for corporate companies. So it’s really professionally done; it’s a comfortable, yet professional and fun environment,” Wade said.

The cost of team registration varies between leagues, starting at $1,450 for the fun league and $2,950 for the competitive league. Registration costs for the premiere league, which is expected to have about 20 teams, remain undisclosed.

Members of the Domo soccer team are looking forward to the upcoming basketball season starting in October. [photo taken by Jordan Kinghorn]
Members of the Domo soccer team are looking forward to the upcoming basketball season starting in October. (Photo by Jordan Kinghorn)
Members of summer soccer teams are talking about the upcoming basketball season and are excited to get involved. Zeke Kuch, 27, works in sales at Domo and is driven by the excitement of competing with business rivals to continue playing during the basketball season.

“It’s been competitive and fun and a great team-building exercise. It also stirs up local rivalry, which is good,” Kuch said.

Members of Qualtrics’ soccer team have also enjoyed building new relationships with co-workers. Jensen mentioned he has become friends with fellow teammates he didn’t know very well beforehand.

“The colleagues I play with in the CAA get together at work the day after the game and talk about the game from the previous night. It’s fun to chat, and it has really brought us closer together,” Jensen said.

The organization is expected to grow significantly and will require a larger infrastructure to manage increasing volume. Wade acknowledged that organization has been key and hopes the larger difficulty of connecting with the right people will decrease once word spreads about the organization.

“Our biggest problem is getting in touch with the right person at companies; we’re trying to drive this through employees with the billboards,” Wade said.

Despite difficulties faced early on, the Corporate Athletic Association still foresees immense growth in the future. Wade attributes this to businesses’ common goal of marketing and the importance of promoting wellness.

“It hits on all those aspects of HR, healthy living and adopting a great lifestyle while at the same time marketing their brand in a fun way,” Wade said.

For those interested in getting involved, more information can be found at www.corporate atheticassociation.com.

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