How to Market a New Sports Franchise

How to Market a New Sports Franchise

Admittedly, I’m not very organized. Just ask my co-workers or my wife.

So when the opportunity to become part owner of a new Ultimate Frisbee franchise in DFW came up, I bought in without thinking about the repercussions.  Below are some problems we ran into and the solutions which are a work in progress.

 

Problem #1
We didn’t know what we didn’t know.  The AUDL – American Ultimate Disc League is only three years old and there’s no template on what needs to be done to be successful. Every team acts individually with a monthly owners call.  

Solution #1
Ask what works from the successful owners.  Listen to them and take what they know to your team.  One thing was obvious from our discussions; we need to sell beer at the games to have a chance at being profitable.

 

Problem #2
Leadership needs to be clearly defined.

Solution #2
Once defined, the leaders/managers need to be given the autonomy to make decisions quickly.  This is true for any business.

 

Problem #3
There are too many projects and not enough time.

Solution #3
Delegate.  Once you begin to understand what’s got to be done, it can be overwhelming.  If you say you don’t have enough time, you haven’t delegated it yet.

 

Problem #4
How do you promote an obscure sport to the number 5 market in the US with a limited budget?  

Solution #4
As I write this, we are beginning this process.  The home opener is April 2nd at the Five Star Complex in The Colony.  You should come.  We are behind the eight ball when it’s coming to sponsorship ad promoting so I can’t tell you what works but can let you know the plans.  

 

We have a three prong approach – Sponsors, Media and the PTA.

Yep, I said the PTA.  Another profitable franchise (The Madison Radicals) brought this up in a call and we are beginning to work it.  Basically what we can do is come out to their schools and give a clinic to the kids.  Along with that we give a block of tickets to the PTA moms and tell them for every ticket they sell, we will give back $2.  Simple and I hope effective.  

Sponsorships are incentivized as well.   Not only are the owners working our contacts, we have incentivized the players 5% of any sponsor that signs up.  Stay tuned on this.  

The promotion via media may sound very hard, as I’m sure most of what we are doing is not newsworthy to the editor sitting at his desk in at the local TV station.  Same thing we always run into: no one knows what Ultimate Frisbee is.  But we have an ace in the hole.

Not only have we accumulated the best players in the Ultimate world on our team, two of the players are currently on The Amazing Race.  Leave it to reality TV to come through.  It’s at least good for something!  If nothing else, we should be able to get the CBS affiliate to do an interview.  We will also be hitting up our agency’s local reps and calling in favors as much as possible.

Oh, and the Dallas Roughnecks will be the front runner in every game they play.  We are shaking up the ultimate community by bringing in the top talent.  So we are the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys and Manchester United of the AUDL.  You can love us or hate us – I don’t care.  Just show up to the games, buy a beer and some merchandise, and I’ll be happy.   And you get the added benefit of witnessing the best the sport has to offer.

Cover photo by Alex Fraser — UltiPhotos.com.

Kirk Wooldridge

Kirk has the unique position of negotiating media from both sides of the table and has carried that expertise to The Miller Agency. More info