As a coach, you want to give your athletes and players the best start in their sporting careers.
Particularly for youth players, sport is all about having fun and participating. Sometimes, it can be hard to engage with kids and create that fun learning atmosphere when you’re strapped for cash.
I started playing junior rugby at my local rugby club that had almost zero income. The equipment we used was on its last legs, and the clubhouse was falling apart. That ultimately prevented us from attracting new players to our team.
But with a bit of elbow grease and some savvy marketing, we were able to pull in some big sponsors for our youth sports team, including a professional rugby club, to help us source more money!
Finding youth sports sponsors can be very hard. But it is almost always worth it. Here is our guide on how you can source more sponsorships for your youth sports team and help create a fun and exciting atmosphere in which kids can enjoy the sport with their friends.
The Main Principal
When trying to source a sponsorship, your end goal is to build a relationship with a sponsor from whom you can continue to receive funding from in the future.
With that in mind, you have to remember that the arrangement works both ways, i.e., there is something in it for both parties.
And there are a variety of places that will sponsor youth sports teams.
Businesses, foundations, and corporate bodies are always looking to market themselves to the local community. Many companies also have corporate social responsibility quotas to fill. So remember, you don’t have to be the LA Lakers to get a sponsorship from a conglomerate enterprise.
In fact, my university soccer team was sponsored by the biggest student housing association in the country.
How did we get them to sponsor us?
We just asked the question, and we were not afraid of rejection. There is never any harm in asking, so one of my top tips is not to be scared of asking for funding.
But you’re not always going to secure a corporate sponsorship for your youth sports team right away find big companies wanting to sponsor your youth team right away, so you’ll need to start more local.
Who You Know
The most untapped resource I see many coaches neglect is their network of friends who have a professional occupation.
Do not ignore these people.
As they are closer to you than perhaps a business might be, and they will immediately or already know the work you’re doing to promote your youth sports team. That means they’re always more likely to lend a hand.
When it comes to your social networks, start by tapping up your friends or family members who might work for a companies that sponsor youth sports teams.
Parents and Guardians
Let’s also not forget that there may be some pretty influential parents or guardians in your team who can subsidize you for some new kit or a new box of balls.
The best way to approach a parent is to start at your team’s annual pre-season meeting or sign-up. Get to know them. Assess whether there are any opportunities to approach them for sponsorship, and again, don’t be afraid to ask the question.
I can guarantee that most parents don’t want their kids running around in old sports gear, which could sometimes be unsafe for their child. Plus, most parents will jump at the chance just to even be involved in their child’s sports team. So providing them with an opportunity to spread awareness of their brand through sponsorship of their child’s sports team could become a very lucrative deal for you.
Leagues and Federations
Next, you’ll want to check in with your league or federation.
The promotion of grassroots sport in the United States has never been more prominent. Since the federal government launched its National Youth Sports Strategy in 2019, the US Department of Health has been striving to make sport more accessible for young people throughout America.
That means tons of funding is currently going into youth sports programs across the country. Typically foundations and sports leagues are the best sponsors for sports teams. Depending on what sport you’re coaching, you will usually be able to approach the sports governing body or federation to apply for some of that funding.
Here are a few other sponsorship funds we’ve found online you can check out:
- Dicks Sports Matter
- Nike’s Community Impact
- NFL Community Foundation
- US Soccer Foundation
- Baseball Tomorrow Fund
- LPGA Fund
You can even try reaching out to your local professional sports team.
Back when I was playing junior rugby, we were luckily able to gain financial support from our local professional rugby team. They invested in our club and used us to promote their brand by hosting festivals, providing coaching sessions, and printed their logo on our team uniforms. They also used our club to build a rugby scholarship program to fast-track emerging young athletes into their academy systems.
Your Local Community
Next, tap into your local community. This is one of the most lucrative areas for sponsorship. Local businesses will already know your club and might have a vested interest in supporting you.
And if you know a small business that sponsor sports teams, then there’s a good chance they’d be willing to do the same again. Particularly if they’ve supported an adult team in the past, they will also likely be interested in sponsoring a junior team.
Having their branding on your team’s kit is a massive bonus for any local business. Depending on what sport you’re coaching, youth sports teams always have huge squad numbers. And with so many players running around wearing their logo, they’ll see the results of this added exposure almost straight away.
Let’s also not forget that your team will be wearing these kits for multiple seasons, so their exposure will continue for years to come!
National Companies That Sponsor Youth Sports Teams
Why not think about taking things nationally?
This is where the money is. Corporate entities like Nike, Subway, and Dominos regularly commit to funding youth sports teams nationwide.
You should never think big brands won’t be interested in sponsoring a small youth team because they will. Mainly food and clothing brands!
Entities like Nike and Adidas will also sometimes provide teams with free equipment if they make a large order for new team uniforms.
Here is a list of ten of the best companies who regularly provide sponsorship opportunities in America:
- Wells Fargo Bank
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Whole Foods Market
- State Farm
- US Bank
- Bank of America
- Coca Cola
But How Do You Secure a Youth Sports Sponsorship?
Now we’ve covered the different entities you can approach to find funding; it’s time to look at how to get a potential sponsor to write you a cheque.
And in the same vein, as you might present an investor with a business proposal, you need to pitch potential companies a sponsorship plan.
Create A Package
To optimize your chances of securing a lot of money for your team, you need to approach businesses professionally and clearly.
That means you need to do your research to know what you want to provide your team with, how much that costs, and how your proposed sponsor can help you actualize that.
The first step is to identify what your team needs. Whether it’s money for a new kit or a little extra cash to help subsidize pitch hire, you need to know what your team needs and how much it’s going to cost before you approach anyone.
You can then set this out in a package. This is going to be your business proposal you can send to potential sponsors to secure their investment.
And you want to be very clear with proposed youth sport sponsors about what they’re investing in, emphasizing the value on your end and what you’ll use their money for.
Most important of all, though, you’ll then need to emphasize what value you can provide to your youth sport sponsors for the money they’ll be giving you.
That’s why it’s beneficial to set out a variety of sponsorship packages. Each package will range in price and provide the sponsor with a different type of advertising or logo placement.
You might say as an example, “Ohio State boys soccer team are looking for a new sponsor for the 2021/2022 season to help raise funds to purchase a new team kit. The uniforms will cost $1200, and we are looking for a sponsor to cover some or all of that fee.”
You can then provide them with multiple packages tailored to the sponsor you’re looking to approach. For example, a sponsor might only have a budget of $600 and would like to imprint their logo on your training kit.
Offering different sponsorship plans is a great way to draw in multiple sponsors, and the more you can bring in, the better.
Don’t forget – you must present your targeted sponsor with a compelling argument for why they should sponsor your team and what they’ll get out of it.
For example, show them the demographics where you’ll be playing. This is important particularly for local businesses looking to increase their brand exposure in the community and its surrounding areas.
Companies that sponsor youth teams will also regularly need to know updates of how your team is getting on. Did they win the league? How many games have they won this season? Where are they playing? The best way to do this is to
You could also inform them of how many players will be wearing your kit with their logo printed on it and how long you intend to use that kit. That will give them a good idea of how much their logo will be shown to the public.
And invite them to watch you play! This will help you build a personal relationship with your youth sport sponsors and showcase what they’re investing in before writing the cheque!
Partnering with a local business can be an excellent way to secure funding or even free-bees!
One good way to get local businesses to support your team is to organize a fundraiser or a festival day. Here you can invite a local food vendor to run the catering while your team participates in a tournament.
Vendors can then sell their food and drink at the event and feedback some of their profits to the team. You can also use events like this to secure long-term partnerships with these vendors, with who you’ll now have a personal relationship with.
Youth sports sponsorships don’t always have to come in the form of a bank transfer.
And some businesses that sponsor youth sports teams may not be able to support you financially but can offer their services in another way.
For example, a hire car service might be able to lend you a minibus for the day to transport your team to an event. Or perhaps a fruit and vegetable stall could provide you with some half-time oranges for your team.
You could also run a sponsorship raffle. This is an attractive way to gain funding at little financial risk. Organizations will each purchase a ticket to secure some kind of sponsorship or brand exposure, with the potential gains being huge for them. The more tickets they buy, the more chance they have to secure the prime logo position on your team’s new kit!
So be creative! Don’t always look for big cheques!
Sponsoring Youth Sports
My top tip for anyone looking to secure a lucrative youth sponsorship deal is to build personal relationships with your sponsors. The better they know you, the more likely they are to send money your way.
And the better you maintain those relationships over time, the more likely it is you’ll receive recurring sponsorship offers from them in the future.
Invite businesses that sponsor sports teams to come and watch your side play. Show them the values and principles of your youth sports program. And above all, enlighten them on the good work you’re doing to help kids in the community have fun through exercise.
The more money you have at your disposal, the better chance you have of giving your team the best equipment possible. So try to maximize your marketing to approach to use at least a two of the funding sources mentioned above. Ideally, your goal should be to seek funding from multiple sources so that you can increase the amount of money going into your team.
A youth sports sponsorship program can be time-consuming to put in place, but the rewards are worthwhile when you see your squad having fun rocking their state-of-the-art kit.
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