Youth athletics has become a billion-dollar industry. According to WinterGreen Research, a firm that tracks youth athletics, U.S. youth sports is a $15.3 billion market. And it’s only getting bigger. WinterGreen provided exclusive research to Time stating the youth athletics industry has grown by 55 percent since 2010.
According to Time, retail and media companies are investing in technology related to youth athletics, and cities are investing in facilities in hopes of the young athletes boosting the area’s local economy. And leagues are investing in teams more than ever before. Teams are now using evaluation apps during tryouts, like TeamGenius Athlete Evaluation Software, to provide real-time statistics and results. This makes the process easier for teams and players, as they can get their results immediately after tryouts. Check out our post for additional benefits of player evaluation software.
With money being invested and more eyes on youth athletics, companies are more likely to participate in team sponsorships to get a piece of the pie. Running a team is expensive for leagues and parents between fees, uniforms, equipment, transportation and travel fees, and sponsorships can help alleviate some of these costs.
How can your league cash in on this growing trend and secure sponsorships? Find out below.
Start with who you know
When trying to find sponsors for your team, don’t overlook the obvious – your team. Before hitting the pavement and trying to find a company to sponsor the team, start with the players’ families on the squad and those affiliated with the league. Do any parents on the team own a business they’re looking to promote? Or do any parents work for a company that’s looking to make an impact at the local level and would be willing to sponsor the team? Bring up sponsorships at an early-season meeting to see if there is any interest. You never know who has connections within their network, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
“Before you start hitting the pavement and trying to find a company to sponsor your youth sports team, leverage who you know and start with the players’ families and those affiliated with the league.” [Click to Tweet!]
Go into the local community
Local businesses like to make an impact in their communities and might be the perfect targets for sponsorships. ThemeBoy.com suggests to ask local businesses in your area who are affiliated with the sport or athletics in general, or businesses the team and its families frequent often, or any family-friendly establishment in the area that might be looking to extend its marketing efforts and help a local squad. To protect the image of the league, try to target businesses that make a positive impact in the community.
Ask national companies
Don’t be afraid to try to find a national-level sponsor. While local companies are unique to your community, national companies might be just as interested in getting involved at the local level.
“Often, smaller, local teams think they cannot bring any benefits to the table but that is not the case. Larger businesses and corporations are always on the lookout for promotion opportunities so it’s a good idea to make a list of businesses that cater to the same audience.”
To get started, make a list of larger, national-level companies that are in your area. Go to their websites to find out who to contact and what criteria might be involved in securing a sponsorship.
Be digitally savvy
Going online can also help teams secure sponsorships and funding. Performing a search for youth sports sponsorships or grants can help provide a list of which companies are open to funding youth teams. Also think about how you can market your youth sports club with both on and offline channels. Your ability to position your club or team favorably in the community will impact your ability to land sponsorships.
BizFluent.com created this list to help you get started.
Create a package
Before securing a sponsorship you need to determine what you are looking for from companies. Are you looking for a financial contribution for overall costs? Are you asking for donations to an overnight tournament or travel fees? Or are you looking for something specific, like devices to run tryout apps and stats software on, or equipment and uniforms? Being prepared will help you determine if you can accept donated items from companies or if you are only looking for financial contributions. Companies might be able to help in various ways if you are specific about what you are looking for.
You can also think creatively when offering sponsorships. To entice companies you can look beyond physical sponsorship opportunities like uniforms and field signs, and also include digital sponsorship opportunities on the team website and email newsletters. Having more sponsorship opportunities available can give you more leverage when approaching companies. Click here for more information on building your sponsorship packet.
Be professional and personal
Put together a professional package to show companies exactly what you are looking for and who they are sponsoring. Creating a brief portfolio of the team, including a team photo, testimonials, team record and stats, and a list of where the requested money will go towards. This will give companies a better idea of if the sponsorship fits their needs.
How would you spend your youth sports sponsorship dollars?