Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sports Sponsorship: A path to the top

In a former life, I worked with a company who built their business around providing apparel for sports organizations. They deployed a strategy in their business to leverage more from each contact, and ultimately built it up to a multi-million dollar business for a successful sell-off.

The key to their small family business success

Sports was a major focus for the family that owned this printing and embroidery business. They were members of the local football clubs and competed in State and National Surf Lifesaving competitions. You could say sport was in their blood. When they started a family screen printing and embroidery business, it was natural for them to gravitate to their local sports clubs for business; after all, they were active members. Most good business is built around good relationships.

But local clubs only created local, small-run and seasonal orders. They wanted to keep the orders flowing, and to achieve this they had to use their understanding of how sports organizations are structured. Working for them, I learned a lot!  Most sports organizations are multi-layered, starting from the local junior clubs right up to the national pros. In the same way that players work their way up from the junior ranks, business relationships start at the bottom in the local clubs and work their way up.

Making connections happen

As we were doing orders for our local club, we were only dealing with the local club President and Secretary. But we knew that each local club deals with the regional organization that governs all the other local clubs, so we asked the club we were dealing with if they had a contact they could introduce us to on a regional level. And they did. Once we were in at the regional level, we had a greater access to other clubs within the region, and – more importantly – a contact at the regional level to help make business connections happen.

Once we captured business at the regional level, we knew our next step was State. We asked our regional contact if they had any contacts at a State level – the people who govern each of the regional divisions. Of course they did! Just as had happened at the regional level, the State level contact gave us better access down to other regions, and through them down to regional local clubs. You can guess what’s next! We asked our State contact if they had a contact at the national organization level. And, of course they did! We were now introduced to the top people in the organization – those who had access to all States, all regional divisions and all local clubs. Now, that’s what I call expanding your market!

Climbing the ladder

To make this work for you, you have to understand the business of sports and use the most valuable asset you can have in any sale – a contact – to help you climb the divisions ladder and work your way right up to the national level. You may not aspire to a national contract right now, but you can use this tactic to simply get a better and more influential introduction to other regional clubs. You can use this method to grow your business at a speed and pace that suits you. It worked for us!


This story is an extract from our eBook on ‘Sports Sponsorship – How-to coach a sports sponsorship deal’. To view the complete eBook you can download it now for free and gain more valuable tips on how you can take a slice of the lucrative sports apparel market.


from DecoNetwork Blog

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