Tough Love: 5 Biggest Mistakes in Youth Sports Sponsorship

dive into bed2To attract sponsors in youth sports, we are getting it all wrong. Our tendency is to try and emulate how sponsorships are done in the college and pro world, but we are a unique property that has to be positioned differently. It’s time for some tough love to change our approach.

Here are the five biggest mistakes in youth sports sponsorship:

Using the Phrase: “We Need a Sponsor.” When I hear anyone say that, my response is, “So what?” We all want a sponsor. It’s not about you. It’s about the sponsor and what that company can get in return. If you want a donation, just ask for money. If you want a sponsor then be prepared to show a return on investment and make it a two-way street in benefits and get that phrase out of the vocabulary.

passionDon’t Confuse Your Passion with the Sponsor’s Needs. Even worse than saying, “We need a sponsor” is saying (and believing) something like “these are such good kids, and we have such a great team,” blah blah blah. So what?! That’s not the reason for a sponsor to get involved. How can you help the sponsor drive their business? Winning helps, but this really means “butts in seats” or “heads in beds” or any other cliché that makes the cash register ring.

Let the Coach Be the Coach. The coach often spends most of his/her time focused on the field of play. Few teams dedicate someone to marketing and PR for the team and this is left to the coach who has hundreds of other duties already. Most teams have a hospitality chairperson, but few think about dedicating someone to marketing and promotion.

sports sponsorshipIt’s Not a Quantity Game. Every sponsorship proposal needs to be grounded in reality and have a solid pricing strategy, but for youth sports to compete, we have to position it differently. The reality is a sponsor can likely reach more people with one ad in your local newspaper than through your team. So, youth sports needs to position itself as a “quality” investment vs. “quantity.” Youth sports families are typically an attractive demographic. The USA Swimming demographic for example has 75% college graduation rate and a household income of $122,000 and, like other sports organization the parents are involved, attentive to the sponsors and loyal.

Media Doesn’t Look the Same. Shrinking newsroom budgets mean fewer reporters going out and covering youth sports. We often myopically feel like it only impacts our individual sport, but look around and you will see misery loves company across all youth sports. We also live in a “gotta have it now” generation with social media, tablets and smart phones setting our expectations to receive instant information. So, this means in the youth sports business we ARE the media. Teams must be savvy with their own social and digital channels like never before and grow those properties. If you don’t like Twitter for example, get over it, because that’s how many people consume their news today.

Summary
Every school, youth group, sports team and community service organization is out there looking for money. To succeed in this cluttered fundraising environment we have to position and promote ourselves differently and change our way of thinking to get there.

About these ads


Categories: Marketing

Tags: , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Hey Matt, I’ve just discovered your blog. With my background covering the Olympics and role making video content for brands & agencies, I will definitely have to add this to my reading list. Question, where is that swimmer photo on this page from? We were brainstorming something kinda similar and I want to make sure it hasn’t been done.

  2. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way Ill be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly. gddddeagcgdacegc

  3. Hi.im tembakazi an organiser of a local choir in alexandra caled new voices..as a choir we are looking for a company that can sponsor us,definately we have found it.u are a good company and we will be happy if you sponsor us…
    Yours in sencere
    Thembakazi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers

%d bloggers like this: