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Kicking Off Sales of Cheer/Sports Promotions
From youth leagues though colleges, sports related promos are big business. 8/15/2017 | Lisa Schofield, Product Feature

Cheering teams to win as a show of fandom is a uniting bond. Especially for back-to-school season, when football takes the main stage all across America – from Pop Warner through the pros.

After a long, hot, and fun summer, we Americans still like to have fun, and cheering on our sports teams allows for the hearty, happy times to continue.

Margit Fawbush of BIC Graphic describes, “School spirit, fight songs, and Friday night lights have remained the same for decades.” However, she adds, what has changed significantly over recent years is the skill level – and cheerleading is one outstanding example. Today, cheerleading takes serious dedication and commitment, requiring several hours of practice every week. “It seems as though every year, the stunts become more complicated and the competitions become fiercer. They don’t just lead cheers anymore. They are true athletes now and cheerleading has become a respected sport,” she observes.

So, there is ample opportunity for teams and the schools that they represent to strategically use any of a wide range of promotional products to connect and unite teams, cheer squads and fans. Schools and sport teams appreciate a higher level of quality from the products they put their name on,” according to Tyler Robbins of Clothpromotions Plus. “We are seeing that schools as a brand are needing a more diverse range of items that uniformly suit the needs of their students and faculty. Safety is always a concern of schools and parents, and items that have inert properties are popular as it eases concerns regarding chemical additives. What remains the same is the notion that it is important to be seen.”

And games now are more than just cheering in the stands. Josette Bosse of Bay State Specialty Co., notes an increasing number of people are tailgating – not just at professional games. “Tailgating is now a tradition for families and friends to gather before a game to extend the full game experience,” she says. “Products that help end-users proudly show team loyalty will be used frequently because in many parts of the country, football especially has very loyal fans.”

Budgets, even in flush economic times, are still somewhat tight among school districts. Booster clubs are good to start with, and any local business can certainly show local team support through promotions that also act as fundraisers for the school district. And there are many cost-effective products that end users will love.

BIC Graphic, says Fawbush, recently introduced Sweaty Bands® Headbands which are suitable for the cheer market (and sports teams) because the velvet inner lining won’t slip, even during intense exercise. In addition, the full-color imprint allows for decorating the headbands with any school logo or team mascot. In tandem, the supplier also launched its Winners Take All collection featuring a sporty, double stripe design across a family of items including a tote, duffel, backpack and lunch cooler. Combine these products with our new vacuum-insulated drinkware from bubba® or mist and sip sports bottles from O2COOL®, and you have a comprehensive and unique sports/cheer promotional campaign.

For 2017 Clothpromotions Plus has expanded its FlexFiber line of wearable active accessories, according to Robbins. Incorporating multi-function headscarves, headbands, full-size bandannas, and pet bandannas, the company can offer the sports/cheer market a wider variety of school spirit wearables that are lightweight, functional, and printed with vibrant full-color graphics. In tandem, Clothpromotions’ offers simple-to-activate CoolFiber cooling towels, that are also printed with full-color graphics.

“These items are high impact and perfect for school spirit and athletic departments,” he comments. “Providing these types of products to students and fans as giveaways will increase brand awareness over a longer period of time. The high quality of both the materials and fabrics ensure that these will be kept for awhile and not thrown out. Also, with media coverage, a stadium filled with thousands of spectators wearing these types of products on their heads will be captured by cameras and be viewed by thousands of more fans.” 

Rather than trying to just sell one item for cheering on teams, Fawbush advises creating a sports/cheer kit by packaging several budget-friendly but relevant items together. For example, she offers, pack a plastic sport bottle and a small sport towel inside a duffel bag or cooler bag. Imprinting all these items with the same team logo and/or mascot will make a lasting impression and also provide a high perceived value. 

“Another option is our ready-made Sport Kit, which includes 10 pieces packaged inside our popular Poly-Clean Bottle®. It includes 1 muscle gel packet, 1 insect sting relief packet, 1 antibiotic ointment packet, 2 bandages, 1 antiseptic towelette, 1 moist towelette, 2 SPF-30 packets, and 1 SPF-30 lip balm,” she describes.  “It’s everything an athlete needs, and we’ve done the packaging for your client.”

According to Robbins, the key to a successful promo campaign is finding the right product(s) that the recipients will bond with. He advises to choose based on three key characteristics – quality, longevity, and return on investment. “Products like ours that integrate wearability, usefulness, ease of use, comfort, full color graphics, and a team mascot all but ensure that they will kept for years as keepsakes and collector’s items,” he says. “Procuring promotional items that will generate a demand for them will justify the investment and open the door to larger budgets and multiple products.”

Bay State offers several promotional products geared for a delicious tailgate experience. “Bottle openers are a must,” Bosse asserts. New is the Multi-use Magnetic Bottle Opener and the Multi-Use Magnetic Clip Bottle Opener.  Fans will also appreciate the Extra-Hand Snack & Beverage Tray, which holds a sandwich plus chips, dip and more, as well as a can of soda or beer. It’s dishwasher safe and stackable. Stadium cups are perfect for team logos and mascots, and will be taken home; Bay State’s Home & Away stadium cups come in 12 oz., 16 oz., 22 oz., and 32 oz. sizes. And for those who cook and grill during tailgating, try the Chef’s Therma-Grip Striped Oven Mitt Silicone Utensils Combo, or the Quick’n Slick Silicone Basting Brush. And when it’s hot out, Bay State’s Can Cooler and Zipper Bottle Cooler would be highly appreciated.

All these items make great fundraising for school teams, especially when they travel for play. Any local business that wants to show support can get in on the game – and spread the cheer!

CASE STUDY:

Tyler Robbins of Clothpromotions Plus: A professional football team in the southern region of the U.S. was seeking a highly visible and functional promotional product that offered a reasonable budget and effectively exposed the branding. After looking through many different products, they decided a cooling towel would be best, but they did not want anything that would be too complicated to activate or too heavy to wear. The CoolFiber™ cooling towel was a perfect fit. It is made from a lightweight, breathable material, and is designed for outdoor events, running, cycling, and sporting events. It also activates using only water and is completely chemical free. Fans were able to activate the towel with water from their water bottles and water fountains. They successfully stayed cool under the hot sun in the early games of the season.  

The organizers and recipients of the CoolFiber™ loved the product, and the crowd uniformly wore the item, providing visible branding to the sponsor and event. The event also was given considerable media attention and the visible sponsor branding on event attendees’ heads and necks received residual branding through various media outlets.

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