Just imagine for a second you are working in a local business here in Rhode Island. Your job is to get the word out, advertise your business, build up a client base, establish a brand and an identity so your local business can thrive here in Rhode Island. Now imagine going into your boss’s office and stating “I found a way to get our business 10,000 views a day.” The solution – a professionally designed sports sponsorship banner.
For years, sport banners have served as an effective marketing and advertising method for small to large businesses here in Rhode Island. Local sports teams, such as Little League®, Cal Ripken youth baseball, AAU teams have connected with local businesses for league support. Most, if not all of these teams are non-profit and rely on sponsorship money to pay for league fees, equipment, umpires, field upgrades, uniforms, and day to day operational needs. Sports sponsorship banners can be hung in the field of play, next to the snack shack, in the entrance of the ball park, draped over the backside of the bleachers, and next to the scoreboard.
From roughly the end of March (weather permitting) until the middle of October (again weather permitting), ball fields from Woonsocket to Westerly to Block Island are filled most days with players, coaches, families, and fans watching baseball games. Add friendship tournaments, AAU tournaments, District and State tournaments to the already busy regular season games. End result, you have baseball fields filled with spectators and potential customers for roughly 75% of the year. Fans and families who walk into the ball field, where banners for ice cream parlors, nail salons, and computer repair shops are displayed next to the bleacher seats. Spectators that look out into the field of play for their son or daughter who is playing center field and notice the outfield fence peppered with banners for law firms, auto detailing, dog training, pizza, and painting services. Spectators that visit the snack shack and walk by a colorful banner promoting a local sports photographer, like Team Photo Shots Photography.
Speaking of Team Photo Shots Photography, I asked owner Seth Francis about his experience with sports banners. “We have sponsored many a team,” states Seth. “My word of advice on them is that they should be at least 3′ x 5′ with large clear lettering and not a blown up business card.. Unless they are way out in the outfield but if they are going to be close it will reflect on the business and the league. Signs used to be made out of vinyl lettering placed on heavy metal or board, but now are printed on plastic corrugated boards which produce great full color images and text when they are printed on.. These signs will last forever as long as they are taken care of and the cost is much better then the days of old. With a good design, good readable text the signs can be very effective. Plus they look awesome lining the fence lines making the field look like a ball park.. Not to mention they make great backgrounds of pictures.” Thanks Seth for your insights here!
As far as what you should put on your sports banner, consult a marketing professional, like my friend Tuni Renaud Schartner, RI’s Economic Gardener and Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation for Innovate Newport. Tuni mentions to take a number of factors into your design – “what makes your business unique“, “focus on promoting your logo, your brand identity, color schemes should match your company letterhead, designs” and “who their customers (target audience) are, what their true motivation is. An advertisement like this could be worth a million dollars to the right business, in the right location if they are doing it for the right reasons.” Also, be a strong business self advocate when it comes to placement. Tuni writes “where are the most eyes or where is it most visible? Don’t be afraid to ask where your banner will be placed!” Thanks Tuni for your advice on design!
10,000 views a day or a game is a “ball park” figure, of course. It may be much, much higher. For information about sports sponsorship banners, contact your local baseball organization in your city or town.
Contributing to this article are:
Seth Francis – Team Shots Sports Photography, www.teamphotoshots.com
Tuni Renaud Schartner – TS Consulting, www.tunischartner.com