If you’re involved with or own a football club, then chances are you’re interested in knowing how to go about getting a sponsor for your team. It seems a given when operating a football club that you will require a sponsor, to help with the payment of team kits, equipment, or travel in return for some advertisement, however, it’s not always clear how to attract a sponsor.
Perhaps you’re a company looking to sponsor a club, but you’re not sure how to choose which club to sponsor or what benefits it will have for you and your company. As a brand specialist and Sport management expert, the necessity for a football club to have major sponsor or technical sponsor is not that easy to secure one. It can be time-consuming and a little stressful if you haven’t handled something like this in the past but I have created this guide to point in some direction and make things a little easier. In this post, I have outline what a sponsor can do for a football club, the process of attracting and requesting a sponsor, and some of the benefits that sponsoring a team can provide for business too.
What are sponsorships in sports?
Put very simply, a sponsorship in sport is a business providing funds to a football (or other sports) team to help them buy essential assets such as team kits, equipment, training facilities, and even travel to and from matches. In return for this investment, the sponsor will receive extensive advertising across the club, the team kit, in a newsletter or programme, online, and so on. This association can prove a great way for businesses to demonstrate good corporate social responsibility and also helping commercially too.
Why is sponsorship important in sport?
Sponsorship is important for a football club as it can help to fund necessities to ensure the club can continue to run. Not only does it provide the means for your club and team to operate, but it also on a vanity level, demonstrates that you’re a professional club. Having this type of support from a business can take the financial strain off your shoulders, leaving more time for you to focus on performance, training, and matches. A sponsorship works both ways, giving a brand great exposure and a football team the means to focus on the sport.
What companies should you approach for sponsorship?
First of all, you must do some research into the type of company that you think would be a good fit for your club. Which companies align with your values? Do they fit with the prestige of your club? Are they experienced in sponsorship? Are they financially viable?
The next step is to come up with a ‘target list’ of companies to approach about sponsorship. A good place to start is looking for new companies in need of exposure to help them build brand awareness, particularly if they are a local business. You can also look to your competitor clubs and target their sponsors’ competitors. It’s good to approach businesses where you will be able to speak directly with the decision-maker, so don’t aim too high into a big corporation. Perhaps approach companies that are in the health or fitness sector, as these will naturally align well with a sports team. You could even look to schools, colleges or universities within your local area.
Narrow it down to the companies you feel would be the best fit and that you would be happy to promote through your club. Then, you can begin appealing to the companies on the list to try and land your club a sponsor. Be sure that you don’t waste your time contacting companies that aren’t in a financial position to support your club, by conducting extensive research prior. Not only will this make your list far more qualified, but it will also give you a competitive edge against other clubs scouring for a sponsor as you will have greater insights into the company and be able to proposition your club better according to their values.
How do you get a company to sponsor your team? / How to appeal to a prospective sponsor
Now you know what a sponsor is, why they’re important, and how to choose a type of company, you’ll need to begin maximising your team’s appeal in accordance with these companies. This can be done in many ways, from the colour of your team’s kit right down to your location.
Are the colours of your team’s kit something that local residents have an affinity with? Does your kit have a creative flair that will get you noticed among the rest? Is there enough space on your kit alongside your team crest to display a sponsorship logo clearly and boldly?
If space allows, you can even approach more than one sponsor, charging various price points for the size of the logo you add to your kit and where on your kit it will be displayed. Having a kit that will naturally draw people’s eye and perhaps even get you noticed in the press will have a large appeal to a sponsor. They will be looking out for creativity and how their brand will look against your team’s look.
Not only do you need to look the part, but you must act it too. When approaching a company to sponsor your team, it’s important that you have a formal sponsorship package that looks professional and demonstrates the key areas that a company can get involved with the club and for what price. By packaging your offers, you’re offering a variety of options to a company to handpick what will be beneficial to them with regards to their budget. It enables them to clearly see which options they have available to them and how this will work with their goals.
You must be transparent on pricing too, but you can’t just add any old number on there. You must do your research and calculate a realistic price point based on the advertising opportunities you’re offering, impressions (how many people will see the ads you offer), and the length of time the sponsorship will run for.
Some opportunities to detail in your sponsorship package include:
Company logo on your team jersey
Company logos displayed on your team website
Company logos displayed elsewhere on your team kit
Size of company logos on team kit
Company logos on all club printed collateral
Company logos displayed beside the pitch in banner form
Company logos on your social media channels / regular social posting about the company
Booth, box or special seating at your club
Inclusion in any club events
While it’s important to show all the ways you can benefit a company through their sponsorship, it’s important to keep at the forefront of your mind when creating a sponsorship package that your club’s primary needs are from a sponsor.
How do you ask for sponsorship?
So, now that you have a hit list of companies that could suit your club and you know your proposition, how do you go about asking them for their support? Firstly, you’ll need to have your shiny new sponsorship package to hand. You will then need to accompany this with a sponsorship letter.
How do I write a sponsorship letter?
It’s important that when writing your letter that the personality of your club shines through. Don’t make it overly formal, make it personable. It’s important to have a sole point of contact for sponsorship so that the company knows exactly who they’re talking to and can build a rapport. This isn’t to say that all sponsorship responsibilities should fall on this person, but as sponsorship is a sales negotiation at heart, it’s recommended to have one ‘spokesperson’ that is savvy on the costs and ready to promote your proposition and negotiate well with a company. The letter should come addressed from this person.
So what should the letter include? Begin with a solid introduction that outlines the club, the story behind it in terms of how it all started, the impact the club has on the local community, how it helps youth and provides opportunities in sports and basically all of the good work that your club does. Introduce the team, their age ranges, why they love being part of the club and what makes you different from the rest.
Then, you should dive straight into the potential of the opportunity you are offering. Tell them the size of your following, how many people attend matches, how many players do you have on the squad, do you have investment from any other big players in the community that would make others want to get involved? If you’ve had a sponsor in the past, then detail all the ways your partnership benefited them and how you could exceed this for the particular company you are writing to.
Next, you must discuss their company, why it is them you are choosing to approach, why you feel your club and their business are a good fit for each other, mentioning their business goals, challenges, and any shared values.
To close, you must directly ask them for sponsorship and tell them why it is an excellent opportunity for them to do so. Give them the sponsorship package and detail which options you think would be best for their business and why.
Don’t leave this open to interpretation, be clear on what you want from them and provide a strong call-to-action to get in touch with you, fill out a form to begin the process, invite them in for a meeting on a particular date or however else you may wish to begin the partnership.
What are the benefits of sponsoring a sports team?
You must be transparent about the benefits of sponsoring your team and fully outline what is in it for the sponsor. This can be done by creating a comprehensive sponsorship package as discussed above that outlines exactly what you need from a sponsor and why it will help their company, as well as your club. You should be 100% certain on what you want from a sponsor and then propose it to them in a way that demonstrates how it will align with their business goals, challenges, or values.
This will then enable the company to see what you’re offering in terms of exposure, advertising and support for their business. Here are just some of the ways that sponsoring a football team is beneficial to a company:
Wider brand awareness
Demonstrates personality around the brand and its products/services
If the team and business are both local, it shows local pride
If the team is outside of the business’s operating area, this opens up new geographical areas to market to
Can be to market a particular product or service to align with current campaigns
Intrigue interest and drive more traffic to a company’s website
It’s a low cost alternative to many other forms of advertising and marketing
Sports teams provide a positive contribution to the local community, so it’s a great CSR opportunity to show your support
As a lot of grassroots teams are nonprofit groups, it could also benefit companies in terms of tax incentives
Ready to get yourself a sponsor? Don’t be afraid of asking, you may be told no, but as long as you’re determined and don’t give up at the first hurdle, you’ll be sure to succeed. Ensure you put in the necessary groundwork to take a proposition to a company that looks and feels professional and something they will want to become part of.
Unfortunately at Avec Sport, we’re unable to sponsor teams due to the nature of what we do. However, we can help and support you with all of your sponsorship needs. We provide excellent value on multi-buy kits that are of the highest quality, bespoke to your team and you can even design the exact kit you want using our kit builder. We can work with you and your sponsor to decide where on your kit you can feature logos, whether this is printed or embroidered, and help you to create a kit that truly represents both your club and your sponsor.