Sure why not?! Well here’s a few things to think about before plopping down money towards a team. Let’s start with this, does this team have the ability to provide you some “exposure?” The E-Word seems to be the very thing soliciting teams often use to entice their potential sponsor to go with them.
To get the most out of your sponsorship/advertising money, the best thing to do is make sure the team you’re sponsoring has some sort of Social Media presence as well as blog. Part of your agreement with them is that they will always address their team your brand/company name. Here’s what I mean. A while back my websites, MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com sponsored a mountain bike race team. But they were also sponsored by a bicycle manufacturer called Airborne Bicycles which provided them free bicycles. The race team called themselves the Airborne Rangers. Since Airborne was the bigger sponsor, they got the title name. One of the agreements the race team had with it’s sponsors was to help promote the brands as often as they can on their website, race reports, at the venue and on Social Media.
If your sponsored team has some sort of Internet Marketing in place, then this will help stretch your reach further because you’ve got a bunch of people pushing out your brand to avenues you may not have had access to. It’s actually a great way to get into grass roots/guerrilla marketing.
Another thing to consider when you sponsor a team is the relevance of your brand to the sport/team your sponsoring. If you sell computer software and you sponsored a Men’s Slow Pitch Softball Team, what kind of exposure are you really getting? Unless the team uses Social Media and Blogging, then this might work, the key word is might.
If you sponsor a team, does it necessarily mean you give them free products or pay for their expenses? Nope. If you offer goods, then you can provide the team a Pro-Deal. Basically you are selling them your products at your cost. In this arrangement, you’re not really losing money, plus you’ve got some loyal fan-boys pushing your stuff.
Make sure you have some sort of agreement with the team that if they carry themselves unprofessionally, or inappropriately while participating in the event/activity you are sponsoring them for, that you could pull out of the deal. Just use Lance Armstrong’s example. Once the stuff hit the fan about him doping, all of his big sponsors pulled out.
So let’s recap:
1. Make sure you ask the team; “what’s in it for me?”
2. Ask them if they have at a minimum, Social Media in place to help promote their team as well as your brand.
3. Sponsor relevant teams and activities. Don’t sponsor a bowling team if you’re brand sells women’s underwear or something that has nothing to do with bowling.
4. Code of conduct. The team you sponsor needs to carry themselves in a professional manner at all times.
Now if you’re a food company, heck you can pretty much get away with sponsoring all types of sports teams.