Grassroots football teams are often founded on mutual love for the game; however, once a team starts playing on a regular basis there becomes the need for a ‘proper’ team kit, which unfortunately cannot be funded on enthusiasm alone.

This is where it becomes essential for clubs to secure a sponsorship deal to fund team kits. However, attracting sponsorship can be one of the biggest headaches that club managers face, as highlighted in our recent video interview with the chairman and manager of amateur club Southey Wolves.

With this in mind, we decided to find out exactly what would motivate a company to sponsor a grassroots team, and interestingly, the prime motivation was community rather than profit.

Read on to discover:

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Why local businesses choose to sponsor grassroots football

To reveal more about what motivates companies to get behind grassroots football, we carried out a survey amongst 504 small businesses, here are the results:

why-local-business-sponor-grassroots

1. Community benefits

Investing in the community is the key motivator for local businesses.

2. Family interests

Those with children were more likely to invest in their team.

3. Company branding

Company logos on shirts will advertise the sponsor’s business week after week.

4. Just ask!

Awareness is also a key area, simply being asked ranked highly in the survey.

5. Financial ability

Thriving companies are in a perfect position to put something back into the community.

Sponsors should expect to pay £500 to cover the cost of a full team kit for two years.

The importance of getting behind your local team – the sponsor’s story

Toby Vernon

toby-vernon

CPP is entering into the fourth season of sponsorship for the team.

Partner at CPP

Sponsor of Ecclesall Rangers U11s

To gain further insight into the subject, we spoke to Toby Vernon, partner at CPP which has sponsored one of the Ecclesall Rangers’ teams for the past four seasons.

The inclusive team ethos and community spirit plays a huge part in CPP’s continued support of Ecclesall Rangers. The team is very close to Toby’s heart, so much so that he is one of the team’s coaches and his son Henry plays for the Under 11s.

“I have always admired the spirit and way Ecclesall Rangers is run. Club founder and Chairman, Martin Windle, is a huge advocate of inclusiveness for all abilities, fun and enjoyment and this is the backbone of the club.”

When asked how rewarding he found sponsoring the team Toby, went on to say:

“Very rewarding. Grassroots football brings huge benefits to children in many ways and I’m proud to be able to lend some financial support to ensure the team have the kits and training gear they need. CPP don’t sponsor the team for any financial benefit but do it to support grassroots football.”

In terms of benefits for his company:

“Match day kits and training gear display company logos and CPP has also received some press coverage over the years, particularly when our team won the Fair Play Trophy. But, for me, the main driver has never been based on any financial benefit and I suspect this goes for most businesses that sponsor grass roots football. I am driven by wanting to support youth football and the benefits this brings to local communities. My advice, therefore, is use grassroots sponsorship as a way to support a good cause, not as a means of financial reward.” 

How to secure sponsorship for your grassroots team

From a team’s point of view, it is great news that community values are often enough to secure that all-important sponsorship. Knowing who to approach, however, can be a whole different challenge. Here we speak to grassroots managers Darren Large of Tinsley FC and Richard Askham of Ecclesall Rangers who, due to the nature of their clubs, have taken very different approaches to getting local businesses to sign on the dotted line…

Darren Large

darren-large

Darren began managing in 2015/16 and has since taken on the additional role of Club Secretary.

Club Secretary & Manager

Tinsley FC U10s

Sponsors: PC Civils, BOSCH, Right Mix Concrete and HE Barnes Electrical

Richard Askham

richard-askham

Richard is preparing for his 3rd season as manager.

Manager

Ecclesall Rangers U9s Blues

Sponsors:  The Play Arena.

The ‘Personal’ Approach:

Darren began by taking the local approach when securing sponsorship for Tinsley FC:

“Initially we had club sponsorship from BOC, which is based across the road from our home ground and the founder of the club worked there. Despite some initial interest from some local companies, we were never actually able to “seal the deal”. It has to be said that this wasn’t very successful given the demographic of the area. I honestly believe this was because no-one even knew there was a football team in Tinsley.”

Realising that local businesses were reluctant to take the plunge with a relatively unknown new team, Darren decided to bring his sales pitch closer to home, namely to the players’ families.

“Thankfully, we are fortunate to have a fantastic parent group at the Club who have managed to secure sponsorship with their own network of contacts, and a number of whom are self-employed, which helps!”

As Darren’s experience highlights, personal interest is clearly a driving factor in why companies invest in local teams. This was reflected in our survey, with almost a quarter of respondents agreeing that they would sponsor their child’s team. Again, highlighting the importance of investing in the local community.

The ‘Tactical’ Approach

Securing sponsorship for a team in a well-established club in a more family-orientated area presented an equal amount of obstacles for Richard. On the plus side, the club’s size and reputation will naturally attract local businesses within the community; however, there is a high chance that all of Ecclesall Rangers’ 16 teams (not to mention the array of clubs from nearby schools) are all likely to be approaching the same local businesses.

Aside from talking to local business owners, Richard took the tactical approach and decided to appeal to companies that might benefit from the demographic.

The Play Arena was an inspired choice of sponsor for the team, enabling the soft play center to get its name directly in front of its key target market week in week out.

Richard’s approach ties in with the response we received from 20% of small businesses: brand exposure. By investing in their core customer base, The Play Arena is not only keeping the brand front of mind with both players, parents and siblings, it is also investing back into the community that keeps the company in business.

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What a team should expect from a sponsor

Once a team have finally secured a sponsor there is then the question of “what do we ask for?” We asked Richard how he pitched the financial side of the agreement:

“I asked for £500 to cover the cost of a full kit for the team. I offered two years’ exposure as the kids will obviously grow out of the kit; however, the kits are likely to get handed down. This will ensure weekly exposure of the company brand around the local community from the shirt logo alone, plus potential PR opportunities.”

Keeping it real

With so much press coverage about the astronomical sums of money changing hands on the international football scene, it is encouraging to see that when it comes to amateur football, the game is still very much rooted in the local community.

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