Press Releases

Crew, FC Cincinnati supporters surpass 17,750 registered donors during Ohio blood drive competition in August

COLUMBUS – As part of a friendly challenge focused on helping save lives in Ohio, Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati supporters surpassed 17,750 registered donors (17,771) during the inaugural Columbus Crew vs. FC Cincinnati Blood Drive Competition from Aug. 1-25, connected to the “Hell is Real” matchup at Field on Aug. 20. Columbus collected more donations during that span to claim the contest’s first trophy, co-designed by each club’s supporters group.

“We are so happy that we were able to work with Cincinnati to have over 17,000 registered donors who donated blood in the State of Ohio. As much as we're competitors on the pitch, off the pitch to come together with partners like OhioHealth, the American Red Cross and of course our wonderful supporters is a great accomplishment. We couldn’t be prouder of this win,” said President of Business Operations Kristin Bernert. “The impact that we can make in our community is so important to us… [and] this is going to have a wide-reaching impact throughout the State of Ohio.”

“It's so impactful that our fans showed up for this blood drive with the American Red Cross. We're obviously competing with FCC on the field – and we took home the victory that night – but the community really is the winner in this competition because we came together in a friendly competition off the field,” said President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Soccer unites people. That's the special thing about this sport. Whether or not it's in our beautiful Nordecke, across our entire stadium or beyond, soccer brings people together, and it's these types of events off the pitch in the community that really unite us all.”

“This was a tremendous initiative to rally soccer fans in Ohio to give back in a major way,” said Kate Solomon, ‪Senior Vice President of Fan & Community Engagement, Executive Director of FC Cincinnati Foundation. “More than 17,000 registered donors across the two cities made a huge impact on their communities with Hoxworth here in Cincinnati and American Red Cross and OhioHealth in Columbus. The spirit of competition and this great rivalry made it a great event for us to help those in need. Thank you to all the fans and staff who participated over the course of the month.”

“It is a truly amazing testament to the communities for both teams that we had almost 18,000 units of blood collected throughout the entire month,” said American Red Cross Central & Southern Ohio Region Communications Manager Don Hawkins. “The summer months are a vital time for collecting blood. It’s harder to get people to donate during August – we see a big dip in donations. We saw a dip in everything that wasn’t tied to the Crew throughout August. The Crew helped bolster that and make sure that the blood is there for people who are in emergencies, people who are getting cancer treatments and people who are getting blood transfusions regularly. All these people who need blood on the shelves are going to be in a better place because of the impact made by the Crew and FCC.”

The Crew partnered with American Red Cross and OhioHealth in Central Ohio during the competition while FC Cincinnati collaborated with Hoxworth Blood Center in Greater Cincinnati. Individuals who donated blood at official sites during the month, including at Field on Saturday, Aug. 19, received a club-themed t-shirt. Donors who registered online also counted toward each city’s total.

The Black & Gold and American Red Cross formally activated on select dates at five Central Ohio locations, where donors received commemorative “I Bleed Black and Gold” t-shirts.

The blood drive occurred at a critical time during the summer months, significantly impacted by the fact donations are being requested by hospitals in higher numbers than are being contributed at centers. While the competition has concluded, community members are still highly encouraged to give now to help avoid a looming blood shortage.

How to donate blood

To make an appointment, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

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