Problem Solver - August 2007
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Improving Revenue Through Sports Marketing

We'd like to give our venue a fresh look, but we don't have a lot of money to spend. Are we chasing an impossible dream?

Your quest isn't as quixotic as you think. Progressive recreation managers are giving their facilities much-needed facelifts by allowing their venues to become sports marketing havens. It's a golden idea just waiting to be mined.

From new signage to state-of-the-art scoreboards, industry leaders have found ways to spruce up facilities by letting others foot the bill. This creative sports marketing endeavor is fueled by advertising dollars. Facilities hire an outside company to sell ad space on scoreboards, wayfinding signage and other key spots. That money, in turn, pays for the boards, funds capital improvement projects and provides new revenue streams.

Many venues have been able to afford top-of-the-line scoreboards because of the revenue-generating advertising spaces incorporated into the design. Most of the advertisers are locked into long-term deals, meaning facilities can count on the revenue stream for years to come. The extra cash usually results in the boards paying for themselves and then some. The additional dollars also give facilities the freedom to purchase upgraded boards with perks such as video screens or large displays.

While scoreboard advertising long has been employed by professional sports venues, it's becoming a hot trend among cash-strapped youth leagues and school athletic departments, as well. The modern boards are a welcome marketing tool for nonprofit athletic groups that have grown tired of asking businesses for donations year after year. Rather than hit local companies up for handouts, they have something tangible to offer them: a chance for thousands of spectators to see their name in lights.

Scoreboards, however, aren't the only fixtures that can help with your facility's sports marketing initiative. The industry has found ways to incorporate advertising into venue signage, updated school logos and other aesthetic elements. For example, many schools have dated logos and lettering on their walls. With the help of sports marketing companies, they can have a new, professionally designed logo created to replace the antiquated one. What's more, the new logo will earn money through advertising opportunities incorporated into the design. Facilities also have livened up their corridors by hanging sponsor banners with images of players, fans, etc. Other creative advertising spots include concession stand sponsor applications, themed mosaics, standard football displays and sideline scoreboards.

One of the most appealing aspects of such a marketing endeavor is the assistance you receive. The best contractors will sell the ads, handle contracts and offer the use of their graphic artists. Venues are expected to suggest possible advertising partners, but the bulk of the work is handled by the outside company.

Facilities can sweeten the deal by offering sponsors more than just a chance to have their name and logo in lights. In many locations, facilities have lured advertisers with perks such as special recognition nights, reserved seating and free tickets to events. Venues that purchase video scoreboards also can reward advertisers by playing their commercials during events.

Daktronics Sports Marketing: