FOR THE HOME TEAM
“Promoting for special sports events, that’s a different kind of market,” said Michelle Fladebo, premium sales manager with Baden Sports, Federal Way, Wash., the world’s largest manufacturer of sports balls. While many premiums can be basic office accessories or polo shirts, sports promotions are exciting and fun, and range from the practical commemorative cup to the playful noisemaker. Whatever the promotion, it will be a product the end-user wants to keep, producing brand loyalty and extended brand exposure.
“I think a ball is unique [for promotions],” said Fladebo. “People keep it around. And it has potential for added value—if a sports star signs it, you’ll definitely keep it around.”
Sports promotions provide a lasting thrill for the end-user. But working in the sports promotions industry can also provide thrills for manufacturers and distributors. Last year, AmeriFoam provided an order of 20,000 visors for a Detroit Pistons game. Seeing the product cloaking the masses offered a look into the effectiveness of a promotion. Bascom noted how exciting it was to watch a game and see the entire crowd wearing the product AmeriFoam supplied.
Most fans are born into a sports tradition that may be generations old. Such people make for life-long customers, but new ideas are needed to keep them interested. It is crucial to keep reinventing to maintain the competitive edge.
“We come out with new, innovative products to sell at the retail level, and we extend that to our promotions as well,” said Fladebo. Baden has mastered the old classics and is already the go-to source for premium sports balls of any variety. The company recently introduced glossy balls, glow-in-the-dark balls and iridescent “illusion” balls. These designs are available in all of the company’s sports ball lines—baseball, basketball, football and soccer.
“Sports are our main market,” said Bascom, and AmeriFoam has made sure to cover the playing field. The company’s foam “No. 1” hands, mitts and headwear are available in dozens of styles and shapes, in a rainbow of colors and custom options.