The Gray Cat Blog

A comprehensive collection of blogs designed to assist small business owners and multiunit operators.

Local Store Marketing: Sports Sponsorships

Feb 03, 2023

Most sports teams-especially the smaller, local teams-will have a variety of sponsorship packages that are available. Depending on your budget, it can determine the extent of your sponsorship. Partnering with one of your vendors is a terrific way to help offset some of your sponsorship cost while developing an enticing promotion to drive store sales. Once you have established your sports sponsorship with your local team, you can offer part of this sponsorship to one of your vendors.

Make A Community Partnership: The great part about sports sponsorships is that you are not only benefiting your business, but you are benefiting a local team. Most minor league teams have a value-driven customer base and these teams want to get more people to their games. Often teams offer ticket vouchers as part of their sponsorship participation. Some of these ticket vouchers could be 2-for-1 ticket vouchers–with a ticket value of $10 or $16, as an example. Now imagine a co-sponsoring coffee vendor participating in a promotion at your store where a customer purchases a 69-cent cup of coffee and the customer receives a ticket voucher worth $16–not a bad deal for 69 cents! The opportunity to drive sales with such an over-the-top offer is significant.

Create A Win-Win-Win: All parties win in the above scenario — the team increases game attendance; your vendor sells more product; and your store has a point of differentiation from your competition-and the best part of all is that your sports sponsorship is driving sales for your store. In addition, vendors have access to a number of third-party sponsorships that are vast opportunities for you to tap into. Combine an attractive price point coupled with a “money can’t buy prize” (i.e., throw out the first pitch) and this will have critical appeal for your customers.

Tap The Local: Local teams such as school sports teams or minor league teams are anxious for partnerships with retailers. Utilize your customer traffic to help drive game ticket sales in exchange for group sales and advertising signage for your store. The sponsorship package could include arena signage, local cable television ads, radio spots, promotional packages, tickets, and on-field logos.

Provide Added-Value: BOGO (Buy One, Get One) team tickets with a product purchase, creates a perceived and real value with the customer compared to your competition. In addition, you create a greater awareness of your ongoing community support within your 3-mile trade area. Have the team track redemptions of the BOGO tickets, so you can gauge customer acceptance of your sports sponsorship and its impact.

Grow Your Business: Once your relationship has been established with a sports team, work with them to expand your opportunity for group sales. Every team will have VIP fund-raiser nights, team parties, tailgate events, etc., that enable your store to be the “product-of-choice” at each of these functions.

Make A Plan: Contact every minor league, college, or high school team in your 3-mile trade area and offer a trade-out sponsorship to the teams you select (NOTE: Major league teams will not have much interest in this). Negotiate a trade proposal that would include handing out “Buy-One-Get-One” (BOGO) ticket offers for the team to your customers in exchange for store signage and group sales opportunities at the arena/stadium. Minor league teams are interested in driving fans to their games–you need to position your store as a great pipeline for potential attendees.

Want more ideas?  For more information on Local Store Marketing, visit the Gray Cat Learning Series:

John Matthews, President & CEO, Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc.

John Matthews is the Founder and President of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc. a Raleigh, NC-based management consulting company. Gray Cat specializes in strategic project management and consulting for multi-unit operations; interim executive management; and strategic planning. Mr. Matthews has over 30 years of senior-level executive experience in the retail industry, involving three dynamic multi-unit companies. Mr. Matthews experience includes President of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches; Vice President of Marketing, Merchandising, Corporate Communications, Facilities and Real Estate for Clark Retail Enterprises/White Hen Pantry; and National Marketing Director at Little Caesar's Pizza! Pizza!