Sponsorships provide financial or in-kind support and an opportunity to build relationships for your club and your members. You don’t have to overcomplicate things when it comes to sponsorships. Start conversations and see where they lead. Not every company has to fit into a rigid package structure, and you might find that companies are willing to contribute more when they have more say.
Understanding and Defining
Defining your sellable assets
This doesn’t have to get complicated. As long as you’re clear what’s up for grabs. You should create a database, it allows you to then mark which assets have been ‘sold’ and which ones you still have available.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea that you’ve got a lot of potential advertising space. Even the items denoted in the brackets can be individually ‘sold’ to sponsors, everything advertising related has a value because every business has a rough idea of how much it costs to acquire a new customer.
- Naming Rights (Whole Club or specific teams, field, clubhouse, canteen, events, etc.)
- Uniforms (Sleeves, Back of Jersey, Side of Caps, Side of shorts)
- Supporters Gear and other Apparel
- Digital (Website, Social Posts, Direct Emails to members)
- Field Signage (Backnet, Home Run Fence, Scoreboard)
- Event Sponsorships
- Supplier agreements (Food, Drink, Events Host, etc.)
Talk to potential sponsors and gain an understanding of what they find valuable. You might find that what one sponsor (or industry) values is polar opposite to what another sponsor sees value in.
Individual Player Sponsorships
Pine Rivers has a great scheme that allows businesses to cover their club and uniform fees.
This allows individual players and families to secure their own sponsors to directly reduce their own fees.
How does Pine Rivers do this? The below is taken from their website.
1. When registering your player(s), indicate that you have a sponsor who will pay for the club fees – you will need the business name and ABN.
2. At the completion of registration, you can allocate an amount to be paid for by your sponsor, this can be any amount up to the full Club and uniform fees. (Note: this does not include BQ/BA fees)
3. The club will then issue an invoice to the sponsor for the nominated amount, with 30 day payment terms. This will be a fully tax deductible invoice for the sponsorship of the nominated player(s).
If you’re seeking more than just club fees, present the players’ value, similar to the below section for clubs. You may identify how many programs or tournaments your player intends to compete in. An opportunity for the player to do a sponsored post on their social media’s and what kind of following they have.
Understanding your Value
Understand what you have to offer and quantify it. Businesses are always looking for a Return on Investment (ROI). You’ll need some facts to present to justify your position and your value to any potential sponsor.
Key facts may include
- Membership numbers
- How many people visit your facility each season
- Your social media following
- Social Media engagement numbers (Reactions, Comments, Shares)
- Livestream engagement
- Your email list (if you do a Newsletter)
Essentially you’re looking to communicate how big your club’s audience is, your ability to engage with them, the methods you use to engage and the influence you have over that audience.
DO NOT oversell or overcommit, understand your limits and what you have to offer.
Networking and Building Relationships
Identifying Potential Sponsors
Everything should start with the community you’ve already built. There’s a high likelihood that within your existing player and volunteer base is at least one person that owns or manages their own business. They should be your first approach. If their business doesn’t have the capacity to sponsor, they might have a network of other businesses they utilise that you could approach.
Start with members, family and friends. They know your club and they know the value.
Then look towards your local community, try to identify businesses that would benefit from engaging with your club – sports clothing and equipment stores, food and beverage, accommodation, tourist destinations/family day out type providers.
You could look to larger companies who may have more resources, however, be aware that Baseball clubs are typically quite small comparative to other sporting codes. So it may be harder to justify the value of sponsoring your club, or you may be competing with sponsorship requests from a variety of other sporting organisations.
You have the perfect opportunity with social media like Facebook to create your own networks, you can create groups that allow companies related to or involved with your club to network, your members to find exclusive deals and provide a platform for your sponsors to advertise directly to members.
Windsor Royals do this with their “Windsor Royals means Business” group – provide a platform to network, and that creates an additional valuable asset that you can provide free of charge to anyone interested in sponsoring your club.
Servicing Your Sponsors
Never assume. Your sponsors are partners. You work together with a set of predetermined objectives or deliverables. Unless they’re specifically providing a donation, a sponsor should be a relationship that is built and maintained. You can never guarantee that the sponsor will renew or come back at the end of their term, but you can make every effort to ensure they want to come back.
Ensure you deliver on the items you’ve agreed to when you’ve agreed to deliver them.
Some ideas for keeping your sponsors engaged:
- Provide some club polos or other apparel (for them to wear, but you could also do a signed jersey or baseball)
- Invite the sponsor (their personnel and family) to club events
- Offer reduced player registration fees for the sponsor or their employees
- Host events specifically for sponsors
- Send a personalised message from a team thanking the sponsors for their contributions
- Show interest in their business and their success
Have regular conversation but don’t overwhelm the sponsor with contact, check in, have a lunch or coffee to discuss progress/success or concerns.
Be loyal to your sponsors, treat them right and they’ll return the favour.
If there’s sponsorship for a specific event or tournament, provide the sponsor with a report after the event which covers the attendance (male, female), any feedback from attendees. What went well and what went wrong, how the sponsorship supported the event and the value the club and the event attendees got from it.
You should have set some clear deliverables or objectives with the sponsor, this is how you evaluate your progress and quantify the benefit to your sponsor.
Quantitative measures are results you can count, while Qualitative results are potentially intangible or less tangible measures that might improve the sponsors position or circumstance.
- Analytics (Website and/or Social Media)
- Click through rate, interactions, shares, likes, reactions, etc.
- Broadcast exposure (onscreen/livestream logos, signage and mentions)
- Business metrics (Sales, leads, new accounts, business – coupon usage, etc.)
- Customer/Audience satisfaction surveys
- Brand perception
Being able to quantify the results of a sponsorship can go a long way in retaining or renewing sponsorship contracts, but it can also be used to approach new sponsors. “Hey, this has worked for X company before, they were able to get X new customers or had X amount of orders with our club coupon code”
Justify – Deliver – Maintain
Support in Sponsorships
Appoint a Sponsorships Coordinator
Seek out someone who is great with people and that you trust to form those relationships for the club.
Don’t rely on the Executive Committee to do all the work, bring in people to work with that can take on these tasks!
Assistance in sourcing and securing new sponsorships.
Assistance in sourcing and securing new sponsorships.