Big marketers often develop multi-million dollar deals with individual athletes to promote products and brand names, often entering into huge advertising agreements where a stadium will be named after them or their brand will appear on a racecar.
But how can small, independent bars and restaurants see real business benefits from sports sponsorship?
The key is scaling the concept down to the local level and handling it both creatively and strategically. Your establishment can sponsor one or more local sports teams as a branding and marketing investment:
There are lots of possibilities, but you need to be concerned about ROI too. What true business benefits can your restaurant gain from team sponsorship? And what can you do to give yourself the best chance of success?
Local sports team sponsorship as an advertising alternative
Advertising is not as simple and straightforward as it used to be. Options that used to be the go-to strategy for local businesses simply don’t work like they used to, primarily because those resources are disappearing in favor of digital avenues that are much more in the consumer’s control.
But sponsoring a local sports team provides restaurants and bars with a real-world advertising option that can pay for itself over and over again. Rather than paying to place an ad somewhere that the audience has trained itself to ignore, sponsorship offers highly visible “ads” in a setting where the audience has paid to watch and pay attention.
From signs around the field to custom team uniforms with your restaurant’s brand, logo, or marketing message, your name is delivered repeatedly to fans who appreciate your company’s role in supporting local teams.
This is a unique – and highly effective – form of advertising that lasts all season long!
Entice more people to your restaurant
But you can also use creativity to take it even further. For example, consider these options that can greatly enhance the value of your sponsorship investment:
Any method that can extend your sponsorship from the game directly to filling seats is going to mean direct sales and profit in return for your marketing investment. So think creatively and consider what you can do to encourage the team themselves, along with staff and fans, to visit the bar regularly as part of your agreement.
In exchange for the higher number of customers you can expect to serve each game day, discounted prices or free items from the menu will likely pay for themselves many times over.
Multiply the effects of your sponsorship investment
Once you succeed at getting more people to your bar as a direct result of your sponsorship efforts, you can take it a step farther by capitalizing on these customers’ arrival. Here are some ideas to try:
These are just a few ideas that may work well for you, but no one knows your sports bar and its customers better than you do. The real conclusion is simply this: Sponsoring a local sports team can provide a fantastic return on investment if you handle it creatively and strategically rather than just assuming your name on a hat is going to accomplish anything.
With effort and determination, it can easily be the most effective marketing strategy your bar employs all year long.