Many people dream of throwing out the first pitch at the World Series or suiting up for a real NBA game. Now, a new charity challenge that’s already recruited the likes of Mark Cuban, Tom Brady and comedian Kevin Hart is offering numerous reasons to look forward to a post-coronavirus world where a few lucky winners could actually make those dreams come true.
And it’s part of a contest that’s raising at least $100 million to provide food for children, the elderly and frontline health workers amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Rubin, the billionaire e-commerce CEO and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, unveiled the “All In Challenge” on Tuesday. The virtual fundraising challenge is offering dozens of highly desirable experiences — from a one-day contract with Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks to a role in comedian Hart’s next movie.
The All In Challenge had already raised nearly $2.8 million for five charities — Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry, America’s Food Fund, World Central Kitchen and Feeding America — as of Wednesday afternoon.
Participants have the option of buying tickets to enter drawings to win certain prizes or competing in auctions to buy other experiences.
For example, $10 will buy you 10 entries into a contest to win a one-day contract with Cuban’s Mavericks that will allow the winner to suit up and sit on Dallas’ bench during an actual NBA game, be a part of the team’s layup line at game time, and even shoot a free throw during the game. (Entrants can pay more for more entries, with $100 getting you 200 entries, though there is a limit of 1,000 entries per person.)
Cuban confirmed his involvement in the charity challenge in a Twitter post on Tuesday in which the billionaire also challenged Michael Jordan and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer to join the All In Challenge by donating their own experiences.
The All In Challenge website notes that new contests and prizes will be added to the charity challenge every day as more and more celebrities and athletes join the effort.
Entrants can also buy drawing tickets at the same prices to win chances to throw out the first pitch at the next World Series, play in the NBA’s All-Star Celebrity Game, win a walk-on role in the next movies from comedian Hart or Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, or even have pop star Justin Bieber come to your house to serenade you with his song “One Less Lonely Girl.”
Meanwhile, other celebrities and superstar athletes have donated experiences that the charity challenge will auction off to the highest bidder. Those include a private workout or dinner with NFL quarterback Tom Brady and an invitation to attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first home game of the upcoming season. Bidding for that item starts at $50,000, while you’ll need at least $200,000 to bid in an auction for rapper Meek Mill’s 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom.
Other experiences being auctioned off include a batting lesson with former MLB All-Star Alex Rodriguez or a round of golf and dinner with former NFL star Peyton Manning (the opening bid for both is $50,000).
In a video posted to Twitter, Brady announced his involvement in the charity challenge. “I would like to donate a once-in-a-lifetime experience to bring you and some friends down to Tampa Bay for our first home game,” Brady said in the video, in which he also invited his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, rapper Drake and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to join the All In Challenge by donating their own experiences.
“Let’s all make a positive impact on the world and do our part during this very, very difficult time,” Brady said.
Of course, with all major sporting events canceled for the foreseeable future, many Americans are just dreaming of the day when they can simply watch their favorite team compete in person, or at least on live television. (For example, some health experts don’t expect sporting events with fans in attendance will happen until the fall of 2021.) Production on Hollywood projects, like movies and TV shows, have also been temporarily halted amid bans on large gatherings of people.
Still, the All In Challenge is offering contestants a chance to dream big about one day fulfilling their wishes of stepping on an MLB pitching mound, palling around with their favorite athlete, or acting alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in a Scorsese movie. (The fine print on the All In Challenge website notes that, for most of these prizes, “prize delivery time will be mutually agreed upon and determined at a later date when it is safe to do so.”)
“I believe when the world faces a crisis, businesses and sports have an obligation to step up and make a difference,” the organizer, Rubin, said in a statement regarding the All In Challenge. The 48-year-old Rubin is a former college dropout who built an e-commerce empire and now boasts an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion, according to Forbes.
According to the challenge’s website on Fanatics.com, the online sportswear retailer run by Rubin’s company Kynetic, 100% of all funds raised will go to the five aforementioned charities.
Technically, entrants don’t have to donate any money to enter the drawings, as there are links on each contest page allowing you to enter for free. However, the challenge website notes that participants should “keep in mind that there are a lot of people struggling with food insecurity who need our help.”
“We encourage you to donate any amount possible, big or small, to help ensure others don’t go hungry.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, tens of millions of Americans struggled with hunger, according to Feeding America. Now, school closures across the U.S., and the fact that millions of Americans have lost their jobs in recent weeks, have exacerbated the issue further and caused food banks across the country to be overrun with people seeking emergency food supplies.
Participants can already enter the contests and auctions that have already been announced on the All In Challenge website, though more prizes will be added in the coming days. Final dates for entry vary by contest.
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