Tips for Sponsorship in Club Basketball
How to attract the right sponsors for your club
We know from conversations with the growing number of clubs joining the .basketball community, at a grass roots level funding is an ongoing issue. In the 2019-2020 season, sponsorship for the NBA and its teams was just shy of US$1.4 billion. Needless to say, club sponsorship plays a major role in basketball today and is an essential part of ensuring the survival and longevity of your club.
Club sponsorship can be a double-edged sword, however. This is because it can be a polarising topic for fans; some can feel that their club has sold its soul if it is over-commercialised. As a result, this can mar the team’s public image – which can be quite the
blow, since fans are the foundation to a club’s success.
Not only that, but the close ties between clubs and corporations that sponsorship deals create mean that both sides are intertwined. If a brand comes under ethical scrutiny and lands in hot water, then the club can be dragged under too – a worst-case scenario that has been known to happen to some sports teams.
On the other hand, it can never be forgotten that without sponsorships of any kind, it simply wouldn’t be possible to see as much of the beautiful game of basketball as we can today. So, what can you do? How do you navigate the tricky terrain of club sponsorship? How do you even get sponsored in the first place? Here are three essential points to keep in mind, with practical steps along the way:
It’s About the Fans
Let’s not forget that the hordes of fans, sitting tentatively on the edge of their seats, or jumping up and roaring with excitement, are who it’s all about. Always keep your supporters in mind when making sponsorship deals. Remember that you are representing
them and their values. Your club’s raving fans are the key to your success, and are the reason why any sponsorship is possible.
If you’re involved in running a basketball club, then you’re a fan too. Think about what you would want from your favourite club as a supporter, and you’ll be better placed to make decisions that are beneficial to both your club’s long-term success and to your fans.
The relationship you have with your supporters is pivotal, sacred and must be respected. Your success, and failure, is very much tied to your fan-base.
Now that you have that in mind, how do you even go about landing a sponsorship? The great news is that you already have what many brands hunger after: fans. You have something great to offer businesses, which is why you can create a partnership with
them in the first place. They’re not necessarily solely being charitable by partnering with you; they will have a return on their investment by being more exposed to your fans.
Knowing this, the first step is to create a comprehensive sponsorship package to offer businesses. Give a short summary of the team along with match and season statistics. Describe your loyal fans and how many of your supporters turn up to your games.
Break down what your club needs financially and exactly where the funds from the sponsorship will go to.
Your future sponsor could also be hiding amongst your fans and your team. Find out what businesses fans and team members may be aware of and connected to . Someone may know of a company that wants to be more involved with the local community and could put you in touch.
Show Them Who You Are
Who does your club represent? Who are your fans? What are their values? What are your values? A club is never a separate entity but is the result of a colourful variety people coming together out of love for the great game of basketball. That’s the true value of
any sport; it can bring people and communities together.
When making a sponsorship deal, think about the persona of your fan, does this sponsorship align with their values?
Consider who is sponsoring you. While it’s important to have a sponsorship deal that is commercially sustainable, it’s essential to screen the brands that you may be partnering with. What are the brand’s values? Do they conflict with your fans’?
Don’t be afraid to approach larger organisations and brands on both the national and international level. You’d be surprised at how excited they may be to support the local community. The Skycity Breakers recently signed a sponsorship deal with Starbucks, with whom they share common ground on supporting minorities and the black lives matter movement. They aim to provide support to the movement through their combined community outreach in providing basketball programs. This kind of intrinsic activity is critical for the brands and the community of whom minorities are an important part.
If you’re not sure what kind of businesses to approach, it’s helpful to start with companies that are already contributing positively to the community. That way, you can be sure of their values and be able to offer them an opportunity that could prove lucrative for them as well as creating a positive impact. You can also start by connecting with local businesses that are oriented around sports, ensuring you create partnerships with brands who align with your values, since they will be just as passionate about the game as you are.
Support Your Community
Strike a balance in your club sponsorship deals by creating partnerships with local community businesses and organisations, as well as larger corporations. If your club is in the position to do so, give back to your local community and team up with local
charities. Let’s not forget what’s important: what good is your success if it’s not shared with your community?
By focusing on supporting your local community as well as your club’s prosperity, you ensure that your fans continue to be your supporters – and your fan-base will grow too, feeding back into your commercial success.
When a club participates in its community, then the identity of the community can be tied to the club – creating a powerfully loyal fan-base that will ensure your long-term survival. A fan- base is the foundation of a club and its success. Investing in the community also means that you are investing in your club’s future.
There are a variety of ways to support your community; simply partnering with local businesses as your sponsors is a fantastic way to achieve this if you’re a smaller club, since you will also reap the benefits of the community supporting you in return. Your community and your sponsors are a part of your team.
As well as representing community sponsors on team uniforms and courtside advertising, you can represent them even more palpably by taking on a new club name that includes your sponsor. This strategy has proved very effective and immensely popular in the Philippines where basketball club fans have dramatically increased the sales of sponsor products as a result. This is quite literally making sponsors a part of your team!
Your online presence is an invaluable asset that you can offer these companies; you can give them advertising space on your website and email newsletter as well as creating exclusive promotions for your fans that can be shared on your social media channels. The best strategies always ensure that everyone wins.
Creating the Right Balance
It is true that club sponsorship can be a double-edged sword, but that’s only if the right balance isn’t struck between commercialisation and supporting your fans’ community, and one doesn’t necessarily have to oppose the other.
You’ll be adeptly walking this tightrope if you always keep your fans in mind, show businesses who you are, and focus on sponsorship deals that are not only commercially sustainable, but promote your community and your values.
You’ll be ensuring the best case scenario: happy brands with happy fans.