Youth sports are essential to your local community, teaching children teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. Sponsorship dollars are a big part of what makes these programs work.
Here's a look at some of the best sports sponsorship examples, demonstrating how businesses and organizations can make a difference in young athletes' lives.
Types of sponsorship opportunities
Sports sponsors come in many forms, depending on what the team or league needs and the sponsor's offer.
Here are some common sponsorship opportunities:
This is the most direct form of sponsorship, with cash contributions supporting equipment, travel, and operations. Sponsors often get prominent logo placement and recognition for their support.
In-kind sponsors donate goods or services rather than cash to support youth sports. Youth sports donations can include equipment, uniforms, sportswear, or venue rentals. Like financial sponsors, in-kind sponsors usually get recognition and promotions.
Sponsoring an event means supporting a specific tournament, competition, or other sporting events. Sponsors can get their logos on event materials, banners, and signage and engage with attendees through product demonstrations.
Top youth sports sponsorship examples
There are many companies that sponsor youth sports. Here are some outstanding sponsorships that have made a difference.
Nike and the Elite Youth Basketball League
Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) is a premier grassroots basketball circuit for high school athletes.
Nike sponsors this league so young players can compete at a high level, get exposed to college recruiters, and develop their skills. Moreover, Nike supplies uniforms and shoes to the participating teams, reinforcing their commitment to youth sports.
Adidas and Little League World Series
The sports brand Adidas has officially sponsored the Little League World Series since 2019, providing uniforms, footwear, and equipment to participating teams.
In addition to supporting a global youth baseball league that inspires young athletes, this sponsorship promotes values like teamwork, sportsmanship, and perseverance. It also helps prepare young athletes for higher level play like college or the MLB.
Gatorade and the Gatorade Player of the Year
Gatorade has a long-standing tradition of recognizing and supporting outstanding high school athletes through its Gatorade Player of the Year program.
Athletes in various sports receive this award for their on-field achievements, academic success, and exemplary character. Gatorade's sponsorship shows its commitment to youth sports and reinforces its position as a leading sports beverage.
Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation's Sports Matter Program
Dick's Sporting Goods has made a name for itself as a significant supporter of youth sports through various community programs.
Their Sports Matter initiative helps fund youth sports programs facing financial challenges, so that more kids can play sports. By investing in local communities, Dick's Sporting Goods not only strengthens its brand image but also makes a tangible impact on the lives of young athletes.
Under Armour All-America Game
The Under Armour All-America Game is an annual football showcase featuring the top high school players in the country.
Under Armour sponsors this event to support these young athletes and promote their brand. Under Armour also provides the participants' with uniforms, footwear, and training gear, emphasizing their commitment to youth sports.
Local sponsorship examples
While national brands often grab the spotlight, smaller, local sponsorships are just as important for youth sports.
Small business partnerships
Local businesses can sponsor youth sports teams or leagues, providing much-needed financial support while also increasing visibility amongst their target audience, the community. It's a great way to build long-lasting relationships between businesses and sports programs.
You can offer sponsorship in exchange for advertising on merchandise like:
- Dugout banners
- Jersey patches
- Field signs
- Postseason recognition
You can also offer exclusive digital sponsorships on your website.
💡PRO TIP: Put a sponsorship form on your sports website to make it easier for local business owners to sponsor your team. Set up this page in minutes with a Jersey Watch account.
Local celebrity involvement
It's not uncommon for local celebrities to sponsor youth sports teams, like professional athletes or prominent community figures. Youth sports programs can benefit from this kind of sponsorship because it generates excitement and encourages community involvement.
Most influential sports sponsorship deals
Now, let’s explore some of the most influential sports deals of our time to inspire your own youth sports fundraising ideas.
Nike and Michael Jordan
One of history's most iconic sports industry sponsorships is the partnership between Nike and NBA legend Michael Jordan.
In 1984, Nike signed a then-rookie Michael Jordan to a five-year, $2.5 million deal. This collaboration gave birth to the Air Jordan brand, which transformed the sneaker industry and solidified Nike's position as a global sports powerhouse.
Adidas and Manchester United
In 2015, Adidas signed a record-breaking 10-year, $1.3 billion sponsorship deal with the English Premier League soccer club, Manchester United. This partnership marked the largest kit sponsorship deal in sports history at the time and further cemented Adidas' status as a major player in the global sports market.
PepsiCo and the NFL
In 2011, PepsiCo, the parent company of Pepsi, Gatorade, and Frito-Lay, signed a 10-year, $2.3 billion sponsorship deal with the National Football League (NFL). This partnership expanded PepsiCo's presence in the world of sports, providing the company with exclusive marketing rights and access to one of the largest sports leagues in North America.
Coca-Cola and the Olympic Games
Coca-Cola has consistently sponsored the Olympic Games since 1928, making it the longest continuous corporate partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The partnership has expanded over the years, with Coca-Cola committing to an extension through 2032, totaling an estimated $3 billion in sponsorship funds.
Emirates and Formula 1
In 2013, Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Formula 1, estimated to be worth over $200 million. The partnership positioned Emirates as a major sponsor in motorsports, granting the airline exposure to millions of fans across the globe.
Visa and FIFA
Visa has officially sponsored the FIFA World Cup since 2007, securing exclusive marketing rights. Through this partnership, Visa became the preferred payment solution for millions of sports fans worldwide, leveraging the World Cup's popularity to raise brand awareness.
Measuring the success of your sponsorship
To evaluate the effectiveness of your youth sports sponsorships, it's important to establish measurable objectives and track your progress over time.
Consider the following metrics when assessing the success of your sponsorship activations:
- Brand visibility: Measure the number of impressions your brand receives through logo placement on uniforms, banners, and promotional materials. Track social media mentions and website traffic generated through your sponsorship.
- Community engagement: Assess the level of community involvement and support generated through your sponsorship. This can include attendance at sponsored events, interactions with your brand at these events, and positive feedback from team members, parents, and spectators.
- Return on investment (ROI): Calculate the financial return on your sponsorship investment. This can include increased sales, new customers, or other tangible benefits directly attributed to your sponsorship activities.
- Sponsor satisfaction: Gather feedback from your sponsored team or league to gauge their satisfaction with the partnership. This can help identify areas for improvement and inform future sponsorship decisions.
Finding the right sponsorships for your team
Sports sponsorship offers numerous benefits for businesses and organizations looking to increase brand visibility, engage with their community, and support the development of young athletes.
By creating an effective sponsorship proposal and selecting the right type of sponsorship opportunity, you can maximize the value of your investment and create a lasting partnership that benefits your sports organization and the sponsors you choose.