A football coach can certainly be hired without any sales or marketing experience, but most newly hired coaches will learn quickly the more they sell and market their program, the more money they’ll have in the budget.

PARENTS, NOT PLAYERS

RYAN KUREK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT for Odem Global Marketing, has a simple piece of advice for coaches who are looking to secure a sponsorship: Stop thinking about the players, and start thinking about the parents. Kurek, who specializes in the sports and entertainment industries, believes securing a sponsorship is about following the money.

“Parents have the purse strings to make decisions,” Kurek said. “Focus on the parents in terms of where they’re spending their money.”

Here’s an easy tie-in for parents of high school athletes: car dealerships. Kurek recommends that any coach seeking out a sponsorship should start with a local dealership. Ask the dealership manager for a discounted rate on any new or used car in exchange for a ticket stub, and make the sponsorship mutually beneficial for both parties.

“A majority of players will get a car for their 16th or 17th birthday,” Kurek said. “We know that to be true. Ask the dealership for an opportunity to offer an incentive to potential new car owners from your school, and you’ll help them bring more business.

“The way the dealer looks at it, the school has 400 kids in the graduating class. If 50 get a new car, that’s not a bad target, and the rate of return makes sense.”

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Central High (Little Rock, AR) at Crain Chevrolet


EXPAND THE FIELD

WHEN SEEKING A SPONSORSHIP, CONSIDEREVERYone exposed to the program – whether it be players, parents, fans, opponents or cheer team/band members. The program has a much broader reach than what a coach might see at a given weekday practice.

“Look at the whole school,” Kurek said. “If you advertise with our football team, we’ll give you exposure at the largest sporting event and biggest audience in our town. Through that advertisement, you can see X amount of fans. You want their business. Coaches have to present in a way that will make sense for the business owner. If they don’t have a background in advertising or marketing, it’s OK. If they provide the facts to the business owner, he or she can figure out the math.”

Kurek sees a high school sports team as an ideal partner for a local business because the consumer pool at a high school is always rotating.

“Think in terms of parent turnover,” Kurek said. “If you do it year after year, the clientele will be different every four years. It will be different buyers. Your consumer pool rotates, and the parents need the same things in terms of support and lifestyle.”

PROOF OF PURCHASE

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DAN GUTTENPLAN GETTY IMAGES


A ticket to a high school football game can be worth more than just the price of admission for spectators. Coaches who are looking to secure sponsorships should leverage the ticket stub and additional signage around the stadium in exchange for sponsorship dollars and discounts at local businesses.

In an ideal situation, a fan will become aware of the value of his or her ticket stub, and shop at the sponsor’s place of business in the aftermath of the game.

Most business owners are eager to create goodwill within the community while increasing awareness of their products and services. A coach should consider all of the real estate he has to offer for advertising – in programs, on stadium signs, on uniforms, in training rooms and locker rooms.

“Use the audience at games; they are basically your catalyst to lead to sales,” Kurek said. “Maybe the ticket stub is good for a $250 rebate when they buy a new or used car at a local dealership. Between all of the spectators at the game, there could be 40 to 60 new cars purchased every year. Maybe the dealership digs its claw into 20 percent. Now, they’re incentivized further to sponsor your team.”

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