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


As part of a friendly challenge focused on helping save lives in Ohio, FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew supporters surpassed 17,750 registered donors (17,771) during the inaugural “Hell is Real” Blood Drive Competition this past August. Columbus collected more donations during that span to claim the contest’s trophy, co-designed by each club’s supporters’ group.

“This was a tremendous initiative to rally soccer fans in Ohio to give back in a major way,” said Kate Solomon, ‪SVP 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.”

“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,” said Crew 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...but the community really is the winner in this competition because we came together in a friendly competition off the field,” said Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Soccer unites people. That's the special thing about this sport...Soccer brings people together, and It's these types of events off the pitch in the community that really unite us all.” 

“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.”

FC Cincinnati collaborated with Hoxworth Blood Center and the University of Cincinnati while The Crew partnered with American Red Cross and OhioHealth in Central Ohio during the competition. 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.

FC Cincinnati fans could donate at any of Hoxworth’s seven Neighborhood Donor Centers in the Tri-State area, where donors received commemorative “I Bleed Orange and Blue” 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, visit any of Hoxworth’s seven Neighborhood Donor Centers in the Tri-State area or click here. For information on how to donate blood: visit