Tips for Getting A Youth Sports Sponsorship for Your Team
When parents and others attend your team's Little League game, it’s likely don’t pay an admission fee—but the team members are wearing uniforms and using equipment, and this cost money. There are also costs to keep the field or court well maintained. So, who’s on the hook to make playing the game possible for these young athletes?
In most cases, it’s the parents. They often pay for league-registration fees, uniforms and equipment—but there is a way to defray those costs. As a coach or manager, you can secure a sponsorship from local businesses and organizations who will make donations to help pay the costs for young athletes. The question is, how can you most effectively ask these business leaders for a youth sports sponsorship?
It’s a Win-Win Situation
Most local businesses that sponsor youth sports teams are doing so because they value their membership in the community, but they also have a vested interest in sponsorship. Understanding how both sides can benefit from a strong partnership is the key to obtaining a sports sponsorship. And it is up to you to do the legwork to ensure a successful outcome.
Here are 5 strategies which will help your get the sponsorship they need to finance the youth sports teams which you coach or manage:
- Show them what’s in it for them: there are several incentives for team sponsors. The most obvious is that the name of their business can appear on team uniforms or gear, which translates into inexpensive advertising and a strong return on investment. Other opportunities include things like printing bumper and window stickers with the name of the sponsor’s business for parents and other interested parties to place on their cars, or inclusion in a program or monthly newsletter. You should also consider following the lead of leagues which agree to include the sponsor’s name in the team name itself (“the First National Bank Bears”), which means increased brand recognition every time the team is called out over the loudspeakers.
- Pursue businesses with a history of sponsorship: it’s not difficult to find out what local businesses and organizations have sponsored teams in the past—it just takes a little legwork. Find out which local groups have sponsored teams in prior years, and put these on the top of your contact list.
- Follow established relationships: coaches, managers and parents all have strong ties in the community. For example, you all work for local businesses, and many of you volunteer at local organizations. A valued employee already has an “in” with his or her employer, as does a hard-working volunteer. You can leverage those relationships by having employees approach their employers, and volunteers approach leaders in the organizations for which they work.
- Don’t just tell them—show them: it’s one thing to walk into a CEO’s office and make a pitch for the importance of supporting local youth sports teams. It’s another to take parents, and even team members, with you. This way, your potential sponsor can see firsthand exactly who will benefit from their sponsorship, something which can be a strong incentive to say “yes.”
- Do some research to identify new and startup businesses: businesses and other organizations which are new to your community, are likely looking for ways to establish a foothold and get traction. Explain to them how sponsoring your particular sports organization will generate a lot of goodwill and positive word-of-mouth to ramp up business. Tip: To find out what businesses are new to your area, check with your local Chamber of Commerce.
Youth sports teams contribute a lot to the vitality of local communities and provide unparalleled opportunities for children to learn the values of teamwork, dedication and hard work. There are businesses and organizations in your community which share those values and, with a little prompting, will be happy to sponsor your organization. If you show them how they can benefit by sponsoring your team, do your homework and put in the time, you should have no trouble finding loyal organizations which will sponsor year after year.