How To Sell Your Sports Team Merch And Get Sponsors At The Same Time

Placing your sports team and sponsors’ logos on your merchandise is a subtle, yet useful way to to do sports team advertising.

When attracting sponsors, the more brand visibility you can sell, the better. If you can offer more opportunities beyond the standard fare, you’ll appear at the top of their potential support list.

You can show off your sponsors to your fans whether it be on players’ jerseys or as an emblem on a tote or other merch fans buy.

In this post, I share how to create your own merchandise with your team and sponsor’s logo to attract more sponsorship deals as well as how to use WooCommerce to sell it like wildfire on your sports website.

Upping the Merch Game

If you haven’t considered developing a line of branded merchandise to start selling to your fans and to get some sports team advertising going, you’re missing out. Merch is a great way to make money and raise funds for the team, while also spreading the team pride all across your city.

Brainstorming Merch and Sports Team Advertising

When considering what people would want to buy, keep it simple, and tailor it to your unique town or city.

For example, if you’re in a cold-weather climate, a hat will probably sell much better than a beach towel. If you have got a lawn by your playing area, blankets would be a hit.

Here are a few ideas and categories for customizable merch opportunities you could develop:

  • Wearable – Team shirts, uniforms, jerseys, hats
  • Game gear – Umbrellas, blankets, bags, chairs
  • Fan gear – Novelty shirts (embellished with sequins or metallic fabric), baby onesies, custom sweatshirts and jackets
  • Smaller “somethings” – License plate holders, bumper stickers,  decals, flags

If you’re not sure where to start, why not take a poll and ask your fanbase what they want to see the most? That way, you don’t start pumping out water bottles when there’s really no need.

For details, check out 5 Things You Can Sell on Your Sports Website.

Planning Your Sports Merch

If you haven’t yet designed your merch, you have a fun opportunity to really do it right and capitalize on a possible fundraising opportunity.

By developing good-looking, fashionable and high-value merchandise, fans will flock to it, and sponsors will all want to take part.

Here are a few steps to think through as you map out your plan for sports team advertising with merchandise.

Hire a Designer

Depending on the size of your team and who you know, you may already have a graphic designer in mind that you can tap on the shoulder. Chatting with them is a really great place to start, especially if they’re already a fan since they probably know your visual brand the best.

Also, conduct some research across teams in your sport and figure out what style you like. Even check out other sports to see if anything sparks an idea.

A race car racing with several logos painted on it, crowding the car's number that's painted on it.
Logos are super recognizable on a car, but too many on a jersey can be visually confusing. Designers can help you navigate that.

If your organization doesn’t know a graphic designer, there are a number of websites that specialize in cultivating the hip and talented few.

Think outside the box a bit to bring in fans who don’t always go for the athletic-fan-look: check out these fabulous t-shirt designers who can whip up a custom t-shirt design: The 10 best freelance t-shirt designers for hire in 2019.

Put a Sponsor on It

In your talks with a designer, make sure they’re aware of your interest in sponsored merch. They’ll be able to suggest a location where the item looks best or possibly even work the logo into the design in a cool way.

Before you get too hesitant, know that in 2015 the NBA approved a pilot program for a 2.5 inch by 2.5 inch advertising patch on their jersey, which was projected to generate an addition of $150 million in additional revenue each year.

The brand logos on this cycling uniform make companies prominent and at the forefront of the action.

The program was wildly successful and reaped major benefits for the sponsors. Not only is the logo much more visible than the floor of a court, but the brand placement is second only to the apparel sponsor.

Use the coveted apparel sponsor location to motivate businesses to outbid one another. Since you can’t have five sponsor logos on there, the lucky one that’s selected has a truly special distinction that elevates a company beyond the norm.

You can spur a bidding war among sponsors by getting your team on local access television and including the extra coverage in your sports sponsorship packages.

Check out these resources for details:

Purchasing the Merch

With the internet at our fingertips, some top-notch merch and athletic apparel are only a few clicks away.

A number of companies specialize in printing all types of athletic merchandise so you don’t have to run around and get your shirts and hats from two different companies.

Here are some great ones to consider:

  • Squad Locker – It’s a great option for outfitting your team in that swagged-out sponsored gear.
  • Custom Ink – From team uniforms to matching soccer mom hats, Custom Ink has a vast selection.
  • Underground Printing – This hip custom t-shirt company has all the top apparel brands you could want.
Squad Locker website
SquadLocker can help you turn things around fast if you need new uniforms with brand new sponsor logos for sports team advertising.

If you’re looking for more print materials like retractable banners or large signs for games, check out a print specialist like VistaPrint.

Levelling Up

Once you click the order button, you’re not done yet. Time to show off your gear in style and make all the other sponsors jealous.

Stage a photo shoot with a photographer or your smartphone and take some action pics to showcase the sponsors’ logos. Not only does it serve as great sports team advertising, but also something to show potential sponsors.

Pitch the logo locations to your potential sponsors by including the pictures in your sponsorship package, and if you want to go the extra mile, mock up a piece of merch with the sponsor’s logo on it. Being able to see the final product will really help a potential sponsor envision what your partnership would be like.

Once you have put a plan together, it’s time to start selling.

What’s WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is the best way to sell your merch on your sports WordPress website. There’s also a compatible SportsPress WooCommerce extension to help you do it on your SportsPress site.

The WooCommerce SportsPress extension makes integrating your website with an eCommerce store a breeze.

Here are a few of the key features of WooCommerce and the SportsPress extension:

  • Ability to sell physical and digital products
  • Large variety of payment options and platforms
  • The capability to include a merch store within team profiles, which is useful for clubs and leagues
  • Product filters categorized by team
  • An easy build with the SportsPress drag and drop layout designer

If you’re not familiar with selling with eCommerce, WooCommerce has excellent beginner tutorials, documentation and visual examples to walk you through the set up of your online store.

WooCommerce also has so many extensions and options to customize that you can even start selling your game tickets or passes to high profile donor events.

Setting up an Online Store with WooCommerce

Here’s a quick rundown of how to set up your WooCommerce site to help get your team rolling in merch sales:

  1. Install the plugin and activate it in your website.
  2. Run the WooCommerce setup Wizard and enter your details, payment gateways, and shipping/tax options.
  3. Click the “Add your first product!” link.
  4. Add products with details like name, description, weight and other relevant options.
  5. Activate your attributes or categories if you’re selling a variety of different items in your online store.
  6. If you’re a club or league setting up merch stores for each team, you can activate the WooCommerce SportsPress extension. Then, select the team name in the Team box on the right.
  7. Double check all of your information.
  8. Click Publish so fans can see all the goodies they can buy.

For a more extensive look at setting up WooCommerce on an athletic site, take a look at How to Sell Your Team Merchandise With SportsPress and WooCommerce.

Making It Work

There’s a number of ways you can make your online store the one-stop shop for all your sponsored sports merchandise and potentially do even more.

Here are a few ideas to help jog your imagination:

  • WooCommerce is an easy way to help you sell sponsored sports merchandise. However, it’s also a great avenue to have your team order their gear for the new season. Take a look at 6 Best Membership Dues WordPress Plugins as WordPay Alternates in 2019 for information on setting up membership plugins that lets only players access specific gear and jerseys.
  • Use the system as an RSVP for big tailgating events. It helps you get a head count for game day and also lets fans feel like they’re invited to the party.
  • Use WooCommerce coupons and discounts to rally the forces for opening and closing days as well as any big tournaments where you need the stands packed.

Of course, you’ll also have your sponsors’ logos throughout the online store, reminding everyone of your biggest supporters.

Integrate your store right into your team’s profile page so fans can check the schedule and gear up for the big game.

Bring It Home

The world of sports merchandising and sports team advertising is vast and potentially overwhelming. But, you can take it step-by-step as described above. You’ll be that much closer to landing more sponsorship deals while making extra merch sales to fund your sports club or league.

What sports teams have your favorite merch? Have you noticed sponsor logos on merch in your area? What types of merch excites you the most? What kind of sports team advertising have you tried or want to give a shot? Let us know over on Twitter or Facebook.

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