For the Love of the Game
Noisemakers. Stadium mugs. Giant foam tomahawks decorated with the refreshingly direct team slogan of "DECAPITATE THE OTHER GUYS." The sports world is overflowing with promotional products, beheading-themed or otherwise. More importantly however, the sports world is also overflowing with opportunities to sell them.
From the NFL to the local Little League team, there are almost too many sports teams in need of fan and spirit products to count. You can go big and try to sell a sports merchandising program to a local college, you can go small and create a fundraising program for your local pee-wee football league, or you could do something in the middle, say for a nearby minor league baseball team.
Sound good? Like printing money one sheet of fully licensed temporary tattoos at time? We thought so. Check out the list of pointers below to help get on your way to that sweet, morale-boosting fan and spirit money.
1. COLORS AND EXPECTATIONS
Sports teams can be particular about the color of their items. If a T-shirt or foam hand doesn't match a team's colors closely, the products will seem cheap and inauthentic. Since an exact color match isn't always possible however, you have two objectives when explaining coloration to sports clients: getting all the necessary color details, and also managing expectations. Lisa Bascom, vice president for AmeriFoam/The House of Foam, Brooklyn, Mich., explained.
"Always remember to ask for the team's PMS numbers," she said. "But do not forget to let your customer know that PMS ink matches are not always guaranteed." This way, you're managing your client's expectations ahead of time, while also doing your best to get accurate coloration.
2. ALWAYS ASSUME CHILDREN WILL BE PRESENT
If a product is likely to be used by children, it significantly raises the product safety requirements of the item. And while you may feel positive that no children will be present at the sporting event you're providing items for, say something like a UFC event or 40-and-over corporate softball league, it's never a 100 percent guarantee that there will be no children present.
"No matter what event, there will most likely be young children there," said Malia Anderson, TAS, marketing manager for CleggPromo Inc., Gardena, Calif. "Even if you don't think it's an event geared towards children, don't assume, play it safe. Think about college basketball games," she said. "You typically think of rowdy college kids and faculty. In actuality, many faculty members take their kids to games and college students take their younger siblings who are visiting or who live in the area," she explained. "Our light-up products are a huge hit for sporting and outdoor events, so we make it a priority to make sure they're tested and CPSIA-compliant."
3. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Don't assume you know everything about a prospective sports client just because you've been to a few games. Doing a little research beyond what you've observed at the venue can be helpful in making the sale. Does the team do a bobblehead promotion every year? Are the fans in stadium allowed to have glass bottles? What kinds of co-sponsors, if any, has the team worked with in the past?
These are the kinds of questions you should be finding answers for. Michael Bistocchi, senior vice president of sales and marketing for CleggPromo Inc., also noted the value of doing research on what teams in the prospect's league or market have done before.