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DC Teams Combat COVID With Merch Fundraiser

Professional sports teams in the nation’s capital are teaming up on a merch-driven fundraiser that benefits people on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

The Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA) and Washington Mystics (WNBA) have a released a new line of branded T-shirts that will raise money for Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s “Feeding the Frontlines” charitable fund.

Proceeds from sales of the T-shirts will go to feeding first responders, healthcare workers and essential workers in the Washington D.C. area.

In replacing “Washington” with “Wash Your Hands” in the Capitals logo and adding a second, sudsy hand in the Wizards logo, the T-shirts’ messaging promotes frequent hand washing, a CDC recommendation to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Mystics “We’ll Always Be Together” shirt promotes unity and togetherness during a time of quarantining and social distancing.

Capitals shirt
The Washington Capitals replaced the “Washington” in their logo with the phrase “Wash Your Hands.”

The Washington Capitals replaced the “Washington” in their logo with the phrase “Wash Your Hands.”

To date, the “Feeding the Frontlines” fund has underwritten more than 7,500 meals to first responders, healthcare personnel and essential workers – and raised more than $175,000.

The limited edition T-shirts cost $25 each and can be purchased on the MSE Foundation site at

Virtual Races Want Promo Products

COVID-caused social distancing is canceling running races, but organizers are holding virtual events, which still require swag.

Because of COVID-19, the Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival had to go virtual this year.

Instead of having the marathon, half marathon, triathlons and various other endurance events between June 19 and 21 at courses in Sunriver, OR as planned, organizers have invited participating athletes to complete their race distances anytime from June 19 to July 4 on a course of their choosing, then submit their time online.

Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival T-Shirt.

Even though the athletes won’t be competing together, they’ll still get branded merchandise to create a sense of camaraderie and to remember the unique “event.” Pacific Crest will be shipping race-branded T-shirts, medals and more. So far, 1,000 or so participants are said to be signed up.

“A big piece of virtual (races) is the swag,” Max King, who reformatted the April 19 Bend Marathon into a virtual event, told The Bulletin. “People are looking for that, since they can’t have the physical event.”

The Bend Marathon and Half hoodie eco-fleece contains organic and recycled materials.

King’s insight should come as welcome news to promotional products distributors. Virtual race events are proliferating across the country amid social distancing practices that are occurring due to the coronavirus pandemic. And, race organizers still want to help attract and reward potential participants with swag.

Take the “Social Distancing Run 2020.” Organized by the Marathon Training Academy, more than 14,000 participants around the world are reportedly so far signed up to participate in the rolling date event, which invites athletes to run any distance from 5K and up between now and the end of the year. “Join our virtual race, stay motivated and earn some cool bling in honor of your un-run races,” race organizers say on the event website.

Folks who sign up for the basic $30 registration get a finisher’s medal and virtual race bib. Those who sign up for the “deluxe” package get the bib, medal and a technical running trucker’s hat.

Finisher’s medal for the Social Distancing Run 2020.

Elsewhere, Virtual Strides organizes virtual races that typically have a charitable aim. For instance, the Coronavirus Relief virtual race benefits Direct Relief’s efforts to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Participants in the race receive unique virus-themed swag. There’s a 3-D coronavirus molecule medal that features a toilet paper-patterned ribbon, an attached silicone keychain containing a 1-fluid-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer, a “Wash your hands, ya filthy animal” button and a forehead thermometer.


Such examples show that the demand for creative swag remains even though races are virtual.

To capitalize, promo distributors should contact race organizers with whom they’ve previously worked to see if they’re in need of solutions for a virtual race. If a distributor doesn’t have experience with races, he or she should reach out to people in their personal and professional networks who participate in races to see if they can point them in the right direction or help make an introduction to folks involved with organizing such events. Also, distributors can check out sites like and for help identifying virtual races.

Devo Debuts Energy Dome Face Shield

It’s among the more light-hearted, clever and quirkier pieces of branded personal protective equipment to hit the market amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Devo wants to whip COVID-19 – whip it good.

The classic New Wave band has released a line of branded personal protective equipment that includes face masks and face shields. The shields are created in the style of the unique “Energy Dome” hats the act sported during its early 1980s heyday.

Devo fans will remember the Energy Domes, which band members perhaps most famously wore in the video for their 1980 hit “Whip It.”

Devo performing “Whip It” while wearing “Energy Dome” hats.

“Devo introduced the Energy Dome in tandem with our 1980 LP. Graphically bold design in aggressive primary red, it became the most iconic symbol of the band’s multi-media mission to spread the idea of Devolution,” writes Devo member Gerald Casale in a characteristically quirky description on the band’s website.

The “spiffy, clear plastic Devo … shield is designed to attach easily to the Devo Energy Dome to protect you from invisible microbes and unwanted bodily fluids,” Casale continues. “Stay safe in devolved style!”

Devo Energy Dome
Devo’s Energy Dome with face shield is available here.

Devo enthusiasts can also purchase various quantities of Devo-branded masks, which come in two styles. The band’s focus on PPE appears to be another indication that the market for branded personal protective equipment is poised to grow amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Devo face masks
Devo face masks are available here.

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