The U.S. is the most sports-mad nation on earth.
The sheer number and diversity of sports Americans watch and participate in is massive. And it’s not just so-called major sports like football, baseball and basketball. Consider: The U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York draws more than 700,000 people each year.
Given our athletics obsession, it’s not surprising that live sporting events are sales hot spots for distributors. Here are four spectator sports to target:
Get in the High School Game:
If you provide school and team apparel for high schools, you’re already in a great position to expand into game-day giveaways. Talk to athletic directors and coaches about how items like rally towels can build spirit and an adrenaline-pumping atmosphere at football, basketball and hockey games, as well as wrestling matches. Also, consider pitching small plastic footballs that cheerleaders can throw into the stands after touchdowns, and plastic basketballs that can be sent seats-ward in between quarters on the hardcourt.
Heat-Up Business With Horse Track Promos:
Folks who go to play the ponies welcome receiving track-branded merchandise. Savvy distributors are helping tracks and their partners meet this demand. For instance, Saratoga Race Course held giveaways on four different days last summer. Offering a single item each day, the track’s products included a curved-bill ballcap, a duffle bag, a beach towel and a long-sleeve pullover. CocaCola and Foxwoods Resort & Casino were among the companies that presented the giveaways.
Professional teams that compete in the minor and independent leagues of sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer and hockey represent potential clients for game-day promotions.
During the 2015-16 season, for example, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, an AHL hockey team in Allentown, PA, gave freebies to fans that included caps, rally towels, T-shirts and magnets. Meanwhile, the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball distributed bobbleheads at a game. The team has also provided seasonally timed giveaways, such as cooler bags at a game at the start of summer.
To get an edge on competitors, help prospects brainstorm unique – even quirky – theme nights that you can support with killer swag.
Rev-Up Sales With Race Tracks:
Help local raceways and their partners/sponsors thank motorsport fans with race-day giveaways. Such promotions can be especially effective when tied to a family night. For instance, 34 Raceway in West Burlington, IA, recently hosted “High 5 For Kids Night,” which featured giveaways from a nonprofit that included backpacks, checkered flags and temporary tattoos. Racecar-shaped keychains, pet bandannas and stock car stress relievers are other items to consider. Don’t limit yourself, though: Talk to your client to come up with a creative concept and products to match.
244 – Number of U.S. Minor League Baseball teams. (MILB)
More Than 14,000 – Number of U.S. high schools that field football teams. (National Federation of State High School Associations.)
350,000 – Estimated number of people who attended the Indianapolis 500 in 2016. (Indy Star)