Another week of The Inches podcast brought some amazing insight from Rich Franklin.
This week we dove into how you can monetize your off-season to make money year-round for your team.
This really was driven from the ENORMOUS success the NFL saw with their draft in Nashville. What was once just a meeting in a small room now is a gold mine for attention & sponsors in the off-season.
On the micro side, teams had the ability to create fan events around it for their own eco-systems.
Listen to the full episode HERE, but below are some key elements from our talk.
Sports are now 24/7/365, and sponsorship is no different
Rich brings up a great point here and I think that this is nothing too new for us all…in fact, Mark Davies touched on this on a past Inches Podcast as well.
Now when you start putting together your partnership packages you HAVE to be thinking about events & opportunities all year.
Why? Well, for one thing, there are a TON of advertising options out there for your brands that do offer year-round connections with consumers.
What we have as leverage as teams is the ability to reach a passionate fan base. If we can stretch that out year-round you only maximize that leverage.
When you build out your packages, start thinking off-season.
Look at your off-season for events and opportunities to offer sponsors
I’m sure you have great events you are a part of in the off-season (even some that you put on). These events need to be in your thought process as far as building packages.
An easy example is the drafts, combines, international competitions, etc. Again the NFL teams have done amazing in capitalizing this (my personal favorite was the Saints Draft Boil…nothing more New Orleans than crawfish and football).
But you don’t have to be a top league team to capitalize on this. As Rich points out the Winterhawks throw an NHL draft party as a WHL developmental team. For one reason…the Winterhawks produce a TON of draft picks…so it fits in their fan story.
In addition to this, they also do some event work around the Bantam Draft for their own players.
Right here are two awesome opportunities to activate in the off-season for a sponsor that pushes the future of the Winterhawks, both as they get started and as current players move on to the professional ranks.
Linking a sponsor into that story is amazing, and one that can only happen in the off-season.
Find off-season events that you currently have on the calendar, they may be small now, and figure out how to make them BIG.
Helping sponsors gain access where they normally can’t
Rich brought up an amazing point during the podcast that I hadn’t even thought of (which is why I constantly chat with him and wanted to get this on audio for the podcast).
Most brands cannot get into schools…which makes total sense. Could you imagine if brands could start advertising in houses of learning?
But most teams do events at schools. It is a great tool overall in the community AND helps build affinity to the team.
A big key here is the Winterhawks bring sponsors into that equation and give them access where they normally couldn’t get in.
But more important than that is the brands can authentically mix into that equation.
If you hold any school events with your teams, see if you can incorporate your sponsors into that mix. Obviously, make sure it is a fit for the audience (kids/families) and they bring value (book giveaways, etc.) back to the community…but this is a great off-season event that you can easily bring value to your sponsors in the off-season with.
But during my off-season, I plan for my in-season…when do I have time for that?
I hear you…it is a tough cycle that can get you into tunnel vision as off-season turns into the madness of in-season.
This is obviously a time management piece, but as Rich mentions, it is too valuable not to carve out an hour a week to plan your off-season assets.
Make a conscious effort to plan the off-season into your packages. If you don’t, you are leaving money on the table.
Last, experiences are so powerful today for fans & brands. Utilize that in the off-season.
We are living in an experience world. Going out and creating more opportunities to tie brands & fans together through experiences will drive major revenue for your brand.
Other than digital connection, I don’t think there is a more important asset to nurture than the experience side.
Make sure you are stretching that into the off-season to provide max value.