Here at Huzzah Sports, we are well aware of how important sponsorships are for the health of local teams. The dollars generated provide desperately needed funds for uniforms, team travel, insurance, equipment, the ubiquitous pizza parties and operations in general.

For good reason, much of the sponsorship thinking is viewed from the needs of the team and how they benefit. Looking at the sponsorship landscape slightly differently, here are five reasons that smaller businesses should consider helping local teams.

1. Supporting local teams increases brand awareness beyond the initial sponsorship

Your business is part if the larger community and whether you are thinking about sponsoring a girls’ soccer team, the local AAU boys BBall squad, or the adult rugby club crosstown, supporting local activities is a cost-effective method for reaching your targeted audience.

Local sports clubs are supported by passionate fans and that passion can overflow to your brand. Often missed in the calculation when considering smaller sponsoring opportunities is the Long Term Value (LTV) of a new customer.  For example, Alicia and her family, who come to you for pizza after her game, will keep coming back (assuming your pizza is yummy) long after Alicia’s soccer playing days are over.

2. Local / neighborhood and citywide publications, and bloggers are always looking for stories that go to the grassroots nature of their readers  

This too goes to brand but can be seen as improving audience reach. Besides the obvious immediate value, coverage by a community partner, articles online and in print effectively live forever. We’ve often seen online stories picked up by larger media outlets resulting in valuable TV spots.

Event Marketing Institute in 2016 found that 74 percent of consumers are more likely to buy products after exposure to a branded experience. If done well, growing your reputation in your community is clearly positive with lasting value.

Beyond the financial investment and in the spirit of partnering and the win/win, you can help the club and yourself with introductions to media outlets that you’ve worked with in the past.

3. New relationships / sponsorships create opportunities (and buzz) that would be missed without the effort to connect locally

Whether the parents of players on the youth basketball team or adult players on an adult softball team, business people from your community are involved and your support in the local club helps you develop partnerships unique to local communities.  

Connecting your business to the local sports club can create lasting support from professionals in your area. Community involvement also sets you apart from larger big box brands. People have more incentive to support your business if you’re invested in the local community. Find out what matters to customers, and pick causes that align with their values to boost loyalty

4. Results can (should be) measurable

Typically, local sponsorships investments can run $100 up to $1000 per month in season and can include simple logo displays on the website, thank yous in the team’s publication and on social media, and customized ads within game day programs.  More advanced marketing techniques might include real time scoring sponsor on social, game day discounts, website links integrated with a contest, and uniform based logo branding.

Besides the soft awareness that occurs with sponsoring a team (which we feel has great value), businesses want to know – is it worth it? One suggestion is to consider the BE or Break Even point of a sponsorship investment.  Asking, how many new customers will I need to recoup my investment is a good starting point.

When considering numbers remember that your ROI calculation is against a tax adjusted number. Also, use net profit as a benchmark not revenue, i.e., how many pizzas at 30% net will it take?

We’ll let you figure that out but the point here is that if done correctly your efforts over time are quantifiable.

5. It feels good and gets you involved with members of the local community in unplanned but valuable ways

Strengthening your business image is one of the most valuable benefits of event sponsorship. Customers love brands that care about spreading positive messages and helping the community. Attending a game or serving a hungry team after a win is just plain old fun.

As the buy local movement gains traction, it’s clear that consumers prefer to patronize local businesses. Taking an active and supportive role in the community can create new profitable and fun opportunities for your business and offers a great way to differentiate yourself.