For the Love of the Game
4. PRE-SELL CO-SPONSORSHIPS
A "co-sponsorship" is when you get a third party to pay part of the cost of an item in exchange for having their logo or desired advertising copy placed on said item. Examples would be the sponsors you often seen printed on the backs of complimentary T-shirts at 5K runs or drink vendors sharing decorative space along with sports teams on stadium cups. It's a handy tactic for reducing the cost of the promotion for your client, as well as an occasional way to boost your own profits. (If you sell a co-sponsorship space for $1,000, you could pass $800 in savings on to your client and rest on to yourself.)
So, co-sponsorships can be a valuable addition to your sports marketing, to say the least, which is why it sometimes pays to seek them out ahead of time, before you even pitch to your intended client.
"Some of our distributors report success in pre-selling the idea/product to the sponsor before approaching the schools," said Mark Jenkins, MAS, sales director for Pioneer Balloon, Wichita, Kan. "This is especially true of high school game night giveaways."
5. TRY HIGH SCHOOLS FOR REPEAT PROGRAMS
Along with co-sponsorships, another way fan and spirit programs can be lucrative is the high likelihood of repeat business. Few are the sporting events that are one-and-done, so if your first program with a sports client is successful, it's likely that you'll be asked back the following year to repeat the program.
Jenkins provided one example of a sports market that is likely to result in repeat business. "High school game giveaways have a high rate of repeatability year after year," he said. "Once the program is sold, the likelihood of a repeat order for next year's first home game or homecoming game is favorable."
6. DON'T FORGET THE PTO
When working with K-12 schools, remember that the school itself does not handle 100 percent of the buying. Outside parent-teacher organizations (PTOs) will sometimes be involved in the sports marketing or fundraising for a school. Sometimes, especially in the case of primary schools, PTOs can be an easier sale than the school itself. "It is sometimes difficult to get into primary school," said Bascom. "We have found the best route for our distributors to go through is a PTO member."
7. TRY TANGENTIAL MARKETS
With so many sporting avenues to sell to, it can be easy to get tunnel vision and only focus on specific sporting event sales. However, there are lots of tangential markets available off to the sides of sporting events.
"Fan and spirit items may not just be used at sporting events," said Bascom. "Keep an open mind. Fan and spirit products can also be used for parades, political rallies, wedding receptions, etc."