Giving Local Sponsors More Value

In the previous post on local business directories being added to your website (see previous post here), we showed how sports teams at all levels (high school, college, minor league, independent league, summer collegiate league, etc.) can generate new revenues that never existed previously.  By leveraging your website’s search engine authority, your real world fan base, and your social media followers — not to mention any additional marketing on classified ads or pay-per-click — you can give your partner/sponsor a significant increase in attention in your local area.

How to make this more effective, however, is to do two additional things:

  • Add value to the search engine user or your fans when it comes to the specific topic
  • Leverage “updates” (or “posts”) versus fixed pages on your website to announce the new page

 

Here are two examples:

The Texas Marshals currently play in the 2016 Texas Collegiate League season.  Their main website has some hindrances to build out a local business directory from a technical perspective.  Therefore, they had an employee build out an official “fan site” on the WordPress architecture.  He added hundreds of local business category-specific pages, and split the directory by the two main counties.

In the Collin County example, there is a CPA based in McKinney Texas who wants to get more exposure in the nearby city of Frisco.  In order to help him, the fan site generates authority in the search engines and then added his content to the Collin County accountants page.  The content “adds value” to both the end visitor and to his practice’s goals by:

  • Linking to his Frisco-specific page on his website
  • Mentions his basic services
  • Includes a YouTube playlist he created which was optimized on his YouTube channel about Frisco
  • Mentions nearby towns in case people on the outskirts of Frisco are looking for a CPA or other services
  • Gives him a new link which he can share on his social media properties, likely to mention his support of the team
  • Increases the likelihood of getting the specific page to be treated with respect by the search engines due to including an outbound (external) link to a Dallas-region CPA society

Here is that page:

Accountants

The other example is making a blog post (update) on the fan site which, in turn, links to the static page for a specific business.  In this example, a licensed counselor wants to increase her business.  Her office is located in Frisco, and she can serve 5 additional towns within a 5 mile radius.  Her page was set up in a similar manner to the CPA example mentioned earlier.

Using a WordPress post, however, the team was able to give its new counseling page (which has her contact information) more exposure.  Here is the post which links to the page:

Collin County Teen Counseling Added

Why would you do this and take the extra steps?

Here are the benefits of doing so:

  • Leverages the RSS feed feature of WordPress, and the team’s RSS feed has been syndicated to RSS directories needing fresh content about sports
  • The fan site is structured to automatically copy/syndicate any new WordPress posts (but not pages) to third-party social sites like Tumblr.com, WordPress.com, Delicious and Diigo (social bookmark sites), etc.  These links back to the original blog post help build up search engine authority
  • Having the content appear on those third-party sites ALSO helps with direct traffic as certain people may start on those third-party sites to search for local business services, instead of using the search engines

 

Some other examples from the website include:

  • Making the phone number easily visible AND clickable for mobile phone devices (example here)
  • Linking to other social media properties (example here)
  • Linking to state regulatory/licensing agencies when appropriate (example here)
  • Include geo-tag optimized images (example here)
  • Include YouTube videos from nationally-recognized, “verified” YouTube channels (example here)

 

If you are interested as to how we can help you with all of this then you are welcome to contact us with your questions.

 

 

 

 

Posted in direct revenues, local markets, sports team revenues, sports team websites | Comments Off on Giving Local Sponsors More Value

Examples Of Local Business Directories On Team Websites

If you are seeking new ways to make money for your college, summer collegiate, independent professional, international or other high-level baseball team (or any other sports team) then one sound method would be to apply a digital “twist” on what you already are doing.  If you derive a respectable percentage of your revenues from local sponsors (partners) then you can take advantage of your website’s inherent power to add more value in the local community.

 

Website Authority:  The “Digital Oil” Under Your Website

Your website likely has a significant number of other websites linking to it.  Many of those links likely are coming from “authoritative” websites both locally and nationally.  Nationally, your site may be getting links pointing to it from Wikipedia, sports media websites, sports bloggers, player social media properties, schedule websites, ticket websites and more.

Locally, your website likely is getting links pointing to it from local media, nearby businesses, the chamber of commerce, local colleges and high schools, local bloggers and other local authority websites.

Collectively, these links pointing to your website – combined with those sharing your news and updates on their social media properties – likely have built up a significant amount of search engine “authority”.  You can quantify this based on the Moz Domain Authority score, Majestic Trust Flow or AHREFS.com Domain Rank scores, among others.  The higher the score, the more “genetic potential” your website has to rank for targeted keyword phrases in the search engines.

If your stadium or arena was discovered to have oil or valuable minerals underneath the property, then you know that the value of that property would increase dramatically overnight.  What most sports team executives and administrators don’t realize is that their respective websites’ search engine authority (genetic potential) numbers are the digital equivalent of “oil” in terms of ability to generate new profits relatively quickly.

 

What To Do With This “Digital Oil” (Authority)

There are several things you can do with this built-up authority to generate new revenues.  One is to enhance your local sponsorship/partnership program by building a local business directory.  Your website’s authority now has the ability to power a business directory with several hundreds (or thousands) of business niche/category-specific pages for which local businesses already are paying for advertising in your geographic region.

If you were to go to the business phone book and create a new page on your website for every business category you discover, odds are that you can begin to rank in the search engines for several of those topics very quickly when someone types in the phrase “CATEGORY Town”.  Using Brownsville, Texas for example a local team (which has good search engine authority scores) can have a new category page rank in the search engines for a keyword phrase like “equipment appraisers Brownsville Texas”.  In Google (at the time of this post) you will see a former independent baseball team (Brownsville Charros) rank near the top of the search results for this phrase.

You then can post the contact information and website link on categories relevant to your current sponsors/partners.  For those category pages you create where you do not yet have a partner, you can create some boilerplate content relevant to that topic and rank it in the search engines.  Once you have a first-page ranking you then can contact local businesses already paying for advertising elsewhere (online or non-digital advertising) and encourage them to become a partner for your team.  You can add their contact information and bundle it with a regular sponsorship package; or you simply can lease them the page which is ranking for their desired keyword(s).  They can pay you per month (or for the season) and renew if they believe that the page you have ranking is generating them new business.

There are many other things you can do with these pages, but it should give you a starting point to help understand what you can do.  There are several advanced methods you can implement which are beyond the scope of this post.

 

Why Will This Work?

Many businesses in your local area already are paying 3rd party entities a lot of money to advertise digitally, and most of that money is leaving your geographic area.  These businesses may be paying the search engines to advertise in their platforms.  Some are paying third-party directory websites.  Other businesses are paying for targeted advertising in the various major social media properties. Most of that money is leaving the local market, not to get reinvested locally.

If you properly leverage your website’s authority and correctly create new, optimized pages your website has the potential to outrank most of the competitors in the search engines for those keyword phrases.  In essence, you can “leap frog” many of the current first page rankings because your team’s website is authoritative AND relevant to the local market.  Authority and relevance are two key aspects sought by the search engines when putting new website pages on the first page of results for targeted keywords.

By offering great first page rankings for their desired keywords, these businesses may feel inclined to do business with you when they otherwise wouldn’t be receptive to your team’s (or school’s) advertising pitch.  You would be giving them what they want more than anything:  increased odds of their phones ringing (or getting e-mails) from first-time prospective customers or clients.

You also can give these new businesses tickets as part of an advertising/sponsorship package, and this increases the odds of their meeting prospective customers at your upcoming games.  Again, this is just one of many ways to leverage these new pages; and the advanced possibilities of what can be done are significant.  Nonetheless, focus on the “big picture” of giving these local businesses increased odds of getting new customers.  By doing so, they should become more inclined to be loyal to your team.

 

That’s Great In Theory…. But Are Any Teams Doing This?

The answer is yes.  The Pecos League (featured in a 2014 documentary/reality TV show on Fox Sports 1) has decided to do this for all of its teams where there is an active website, including folded or future teams.

They have added over 1500 business categories for each market, and they have the potential to add more business categories over time.  Here are the links:

 

As an example, here is a page which should rank well soon for the keyword phrase “Tucson recording studios” on the new Tucson Saguaros’ baseball team website:

 

Okay, I’m Interested.  What Next?

 

If you are interested in what your team or league (or conference) can do, then be sure to contact us here.  We can review your website(s) authority numbers and determine strategies specific to what can work for your situation.

 

Posted in local markets, search engine optimization, seo, sports team revenues, sports team websites | Comments Off on Examples Of Local Business Directories On Team Websites

The Evolution Of Minor League Sports Team Websites

Apart from the major professional sports, such as the NFL and MLB, and major NCAA sports there is a lack of standardization on the various team websites.  MiLB team websites are included as a subset of the MLB platform because all you have to do is go to the footer of a team website like the Dayton Dragons.  You will see the “powered by MLB.com” mention in the bottom right.

In the various independent baseball leagues, summer college baseball leagues, indoor football, golf and other professional sports team (and league) website world there are a few major website developers.  Not all are equal however.  This imbalance creates opportunities, but there are a few underlying assumptions that each of the major developers have which hopefully will evolve to meet today’s demands.

Basic Needs Of Sports Team Websites

The needs of any college or professional sports team website should meet, at the very least, these basics:

  • The website should be stable, have minimal downtime, and not cause problems with the end user’s computing device (desktop, laptop, mobile device, etc.)
  • It should be at least useable on most mobile devices and be able to be read on the primary desktop/laptop browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.)
  • It should be the authoritative final source for all public information relating to the team.  Certainly, last-minute changes to rosters, game schedules, player injury status, and other short-term factors can be announced on social media or e-mail newsletters; but the website should be the final source of the day-to-day and year-round information
  • It should give accurate information to fans such as:
      • the prices for tickets + the methods of how to purchase them
      • official policies about ticket use for postponed games (e.g. rain out games)
      • the official policies and disclaimers about being on stadium/arena grounds (to protect the team)
      • the official schedule
      • the official roster (even if embedded from a third-party stats/roster service)
      • list of coaching staff including biographical information
      • official scores and recaps of games
      • the correct information regarding a promotion, such as where people should report and at what time if running a pre-game promotion on the field
      • links to the league (or conference) and other teams in the league
      • official history of the team, including famous alumni
      • official sponsors for the team and/or league (including any banner ads)
      • “call to action” to have people join the official team e-mail newsletter
      • accurate stadium/arena historical information + directions to the stadium (including anything regarding parking)
      • links to the team’s official social media platforms
      • standings and/or team (and league) leaders –> or at least links to the official repository of such information
      • link to any web page (on the site or off the site) with official, licensed merchandise
      • where to get any official team/league-endorsed mobile apps
      • official information of how to get in touch with the team, such as front office contact information
      • community outreach information, both what the team has done plus contact information to get athletes or team representatives into the community
      • any official web page or other directions for those seeking jobs and/or internship opportunities with the team
      • the official website privacy policy, disclaimers, sitemap and other legal disclaimers
      • any other official information needed by the team

This list is a good starting point for everything needed.  As the marketplace evolves, however, this list is going to be insufficient to help a team increase its valuation.  In a moment, you will get some more ideas of what an official sports team website has the potential to do.  Some of this can be supplemented with the team’s social media pages; but most will be tied specifically to the actual website.

Evolving Revenues Through The Team’s Website

A team’s official website usually has a significant amount of untapped potential for revenues.  Let’s break these down into three categories:

  1. Boosting existing revenue models
  2. Generating new revenues in the local market
  3. Generating new revenues nationally

Using A Team’s Website To Boost Its Current Revenue Models

While it is possible to have other revenue models, such as using the stadium or arena for unique events, most teams derive revenue from these revenue streams:

  • Ticket sales (all forms: walk-up, group, season, etc.)
  • Parking
  • Food concessions
  • Beer and alcohol
  • Team merchandise
  • Sponsors (signs, PA announcements, game program, ticket back, etc.)
    • A high-level sponsor may get a website mention/ad here, but it is usually a “toss in” or a part of the sponsorship package
  • Local camps and clinics
  • In-game promotions for the fans

This is the traditional “butts in seats” or “fans in the stands” business model where the revenue is derived from the physical world and, for the most part, from the local area (usually 20-25 miles around the stadium/arena).  A team’s website can be enhanced or modified to increase the likelihood of these revenue streams seeing improvement.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Enhancing a team’s exposure in the local community by improving its rankings in the search engines for local-oriented phrases which get entered in high amounts.  A previous article on this site explains the need to address search engine optimization (SEO) for sports teams
  • Promoting a team’s RSS feed to RSS directories, blog directories and even podcast directories (dependent on some XML web code) to give more exposure for each news item/game recap in the local area.  Here is more on RSS for sports teams and leagues
  • Being smarter and more creative with the e-mail newsletter feature.  Many teams regard this as an afterthought; but it can be a legitimate driver of new (and repeat) fans coming the stands if done correctly
  • Proper use of hashtags in Twitter.  For example, many teams do not use the #CITY (where CITY is the actual city name) in their tweets which have enough space for a hashtag.  The #CITY hashtags often have followers locally which can give exposure to local prospective fans who have never seen the team previously
  • Watermarking fan photos and uploading them to a site which allows images such as Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest.  Then embed the photos on the team website so fans can download them and share them as they like
    • The watermark would simply have the team name, phone number for tickets and website

These suggestions are all in addition to the off-website actions your team can take, such as placing your game schedule on the various online event calendars which serve your local market(s).

Using A Team’s Website To Boost New Local Revenues

One thing never goes out of style for businesses in any metropolitan market.  That is the person (or entity) who can generate quality leads over and over again for local businesses who need to increase market share in their industries.

What most sports teams fail to realize is that they have this potential right now due to the accumulated “authority” given to their websites by the search engines.  Most teams, right now, have the potential to “outrank” many local-oriented phrases in the search engines.  This is because the team often gets links from local authority web properties such as:

  • local newspaper, radio, television websites
  • local government websites (city website, chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • personal blogs from people who live in the area
  • business directory websites
  • event calendars serving the local area
  • local online forums
  • people locally are linking to the team’s website pages on their personal social media pages
  • other local websites and blogs which have accrued local authority themselves, and their links to your team’s website are passing on some of that authority as an “endorsement” to the search engines

All of this means that your team’s website has the ability to rank for local phrases better than most other local businesses or directories.  You simply have to provide the website structure and ability for new pages to generate leads for local businesses, year-round.  This actually now exists for a travel team in United League Baseball.  Take a look at this local business directory for the Brownsville Charros.

Some of the pages listed already are ranking on the first or second page of the search engines at the time of this post.  The goal is to lease out these pages for business categories where you do not have any “exclusive” sponsorships (or any sponsors at all) for a monthly rental fee once you rank in the search engines.  Of course, you can grant any local business exclusivity on the page your website has for that industry if that business becomes a full sponsor.  If he/she doesn’t care about your sport or your team, but still wants the leads, then you at least can “rent” the space (per month or for the off-season) at some fair price that your local market will bear.

Again, by ranking on the first page of the search engines (having an optimized page plus leveraging your website’s overall search engine authority) you now can open up new revenues locally.  The local business wants leads, and your website’s page has more authority than his/her website.  This combination opens up hundreds of possible new sponsors or, at a minimum, monthly web page rental income streams.

All of the above is just the beginning for using your team’s website for new revenue models in the local market.  Please contact us for at least three more strategies to leverage your authority in the local market.

Using A Team’s Website To Boost New National Revenues

One of the biggest reasons most sports teams don’t make money nationally is that they don’t ask themselves the right questions.  For example, in independent baseball, many fans get a chance to talk with players and the coaching staff.  Frequently the fans are asking about which equipment to get for their kids.  Very rarely, however, does the front office ask the question:  “How do we take these questions by our fans and reach a national audience with answers likely being asked around the country?”

One such answer can be found again on the Charros website.  By understanding XML code, affiliate programs, plugins and some other basic website information this travel team now has a chance to offset some of its expenses.  Each of the products listed comes from the affiliate program service used to handle tracking and commissions given by one of the online baseball product retailers.  The team will get a commission from each order anywhere in the USA, not just from the local market.

The reason this works is that besides the local “authority” being granted a team’s website (see earlier) each team also gets links to its website from national authority web properties including:

  • Sports media websites, including authoritative bloggers and mainstream sports media
  • Wikipedia
  • Online sports forums
  • Other sports team and sports media social media properties

Ideally, the team’s website will rank in the search engines for some of the equipment-oriented phrases being entered by people nationally.  You also would get the benefit of helping people in your local market buy equipment if you don’t have any sponsor who sells the same equipment.

Of course, there are many other ways to monetize the national audience.  These include ways to monetize:

  • Trivia
  • Intellectual property (how to information, etc.)
  • Affiliate programs to sports books
  • Memorabilia
  • Selling text links on archived pages to help other businesses rank their websites
  • CPM ads (these are not the per-click ads)
  • Many other online methods

Should any of the three new revenue models be of interest to you then please contact us.  We look forward to helping you with your team or league website questions.

Posted in local markets, rss, search engine optimization, sports team revenues, sports team websites | Comments Off on The Evolution Of Minor League Sports Team Websites

SEO For Sports Teams And Leagues – Why It Is Necessary

Most professional sports teams have a director of public relations, a director of community relations, and a director of social media.  Colleges have the Sports Information Director and sometimes the other staff members previously mentioned.  This blog post will emphasize the underlying need to add a member to the staff or outsource a very helpful function.  That is the need of search engine optimization / SEO for sports teams and leagues.

One element of attracting either first-time attendees to any professional or college sports team or league (or conference) event is to get the word out to where those prospective fans are spending time AND open to your message.  In the real world this could be the local newspaper, local school events, chamber of commerce meetings, and other venues where large numbers of people are spending time.  What can’t be denied is that, just by looking at your audience on their phones at your games and other events, the average fan is spending much more time online than a decade ago.

Their propensity to be online, even at live sporting events, should be indicative that your fans trust their online searches more and more.  For whatever reason, sports teams have bypassed the element of SEO in favor of social media.  Remember that search engine optimization helps you answer the “Who, What, Where, When, Why, How” questions sought online by your current AND prospective fans. By blending your current social media efforts with intelligent SEO, your sports team can open up many new options.

SEO can benefit a sports team (professional or collegiate) in many ways:

  1. Reach out of town people, who do not know that your team exists, and who will be in your area when your games are happening
  2. Local people who are looking for things to do, but they either don’t know your team exists or otherwise didn’t know that you had a game on the day/night they want entertainment
  3. The “untapped gold mine” of how first-page exposure in the search engines can make a team popular nationally AND bring in entire new revenue streams
Improve Attendance For Sports Teams

What most sports team owners fear their stands will look like during their games. SEO can help reduce this fear.

SEO For Sports Teams Reaching Out Of Town Prospective Fans

For out of town people who will be in town during the times you have games and other team events, you will want to know what they are seeking in the search engines.  For example, someone may go to the search engines and type in the phrase “nightlife YOUR CITY”.  Instead of bars, dance clubs, restaurants and other traditional websites ranking on the first page of the search engines your team’s website and/or social media properties should be there instead.

The reason why is that if they do not know that your team exists (or forgot that your team will be playing during their stay), getting them to your games will increase overall revenues from tickets, parking, concessions and possibly a purchase of merchandise.  In addition, these people even may join your social media properties and share your content which could produce online revenue. *

(* – if you don’t already have such content then be sure to contact us for a simple method to potentially monetize your social media audience without having to ask them to buy anything)

SEO For Sports Teams Reaching Those Who Live Locally

Regarding your fans who live in town, they likely are going to the search engines typing in phrases like “things to do in YOUR CITY”.  Why are they doing this?  There are a number of reasons:

  • a change in their relationship status, so they are looking for things to do which are different than what they know
  • they may need to have to entertain friends, family or clients who are in town
  • they may now have kids who are old enough to go to sporting events
  • new to town and they want to meet other people
  • etc.

Of interest, as of the date of this blog post (early September 2013), if you go to the major search engines and type in “things to do in X” – where “X” is each of the top 20 cities in the U.S. based on population – you will NOT see ANY sports team’s website ranking on the first page!!  While a stadium or team may be featured, it usually is listed on someone else’s website which means the team has minimal control over that content.  The bigger thing is, however, that….

… each major sports team’s website is already “authoritative” enough to rank on the first page of the search engines for these phrases.  All they have to do is optimize the desired pages and have interns and fans do their “link building” for them!

The other reason why ranking for “things to do in YOUR CITY” matters is that Google’s keyword tool (now “keyword planner”) indicates that that phrase (and similar ones) get entered over 10,000 times PER MONTH for each city.  This means that teams in big cities are missing out on over 100,000 people per year who are looking for things to do in your city!

Yes, even minor league and college teams in these large markets have the potential to get first-page exposure.  It may take a little bit more effort, but it can be accomplished with some expertise.

Remember that you will be reaching mostly people who are NOT already on your Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Instagram or other contact lists.  Since “new fan acquisition costs” could be escalating in your market, one way to lower the cost to get a new paying fan is to leverage what your team already has:

  • “authority” in the search engines based on your getting links consistently from local TV, radio, and newspaper websites
  • lots of fans on your social media properties who can “like”, “retweet” or otherwise share your pages which would be optimized for phrases like “things to do in YOUR CITY”

The Untapped Gold Mine Which Most Sports Teams Can Leverage In The Search Engines

Finally, most sports teams do not know how to tap into one of the most coveted assets they possess:  intellectual property.  They know how to do virtually anything being searched by parents and players around the country who are participating in that particular sport.  Using baseball for example, here are some of the phrases which get entered in the search engines EACH month several thousand times across North America:

  • “how to throw a knuckle ball”
  • “youth baseball team drills”
  • “how to choose a pitchers glove”
  • “increase vertical leap”

Go ahead and type those phrases (and other ones which you believe will have lots of queries in the search engines across all 50 states & Canada).  Take a moment to notice…

… that no pro team, minor league team (affiliated or independent), college team or summer collegiate team has a website ranking on the first page.  The teams are missing out on HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of searches EACH MONTH being entered by parents and players across the country.

Yet, each professional (MLB, MiLB, or independent) or collegiate (actual school or summer collegiate) team’s (or league’s) website is ALREADY authoritative enough to outrank the current websites getting first-page exposure — and tons of traffic thanks to that exposure!

“That’s Great And All… But How Does My Team Make Any Money By Ranking # 1 For These Phrases?  All I Care About Is Butts In Seats And Selling More Hot Dogs & Beer And Getting More TV/Radio Ratings”

The mindset in the quote above is pervasive throughout the industry.  By believing that your team’s SOLE purpose is to dominate the entertainment market in a 15-20 mile radius in the physical world will hurt your team’s valuation.  This is because such a mindset automatically excludes three other ways to make money for your team:

  1. making money in the online world within the same 15-20 mile radius
  2. making money nationally in the physical world
  3. the big one – making money nationally in the online world

There are MANY ways to monetize people who join one or more of your online lists.  By getting intellectual property (e.g. your pitching coach giving an exclusive video of “how to throw a knuckle ball”) you can get people to either:

  • buy a DVD (or online video course) of “how to play baseball” sold by your team.  Remember, your team likely is doing at least one local camp/clinic each season teaching the VERY SAME things; and now you can monetize that information NATIONALLY
  • join your e-mail list to get the video for free
  • forcing the fan to “like” your Facebook page to get access to the exclusive video
  • same as the above with Twitter

Once they are on your mailing lists and/or social media pages you can monetize the list with methods that are applicable to people in the online world in all 50 states and Canada.  Here are just a few examples:

  • putting revenue-generating click ads next to daily trivia questions
  • inviting them to an annual camp/clinic at your stadium or arena which teaches the “how to” information to thousands of attendees over one weekend
  • upselling them to tickets when they are in town
  • upselling merchandise to them, which they may buy from your online store since you gave them “value” with the helpful video content
  • selling a complete “how to” training DVD
  • encouraging them to click an affiliate link to buy equipment (where you get a commission) which your players actually wear during official college or pro games
  • many, many more methods to monetize a national audience in the online world

Please note that all of what you have just read is just the beginning of the benefits of SEO for sports teams.  Additionally, you can monetize your local audience who searches for local services online.  Furthermore, you can monetize some of your older website pages (about which you no longer care) by selling links on those authority pages for monthly revenues.  The list goes on, so please contact us with your questions about how we can help you to possibly increase your short-term revenues and longer-term increase in team valuation.

Both professional and collegiate teams in all sports are welcome to contact us.

Posted in direct revenues, increase attendance, indirect revenues, intellectual property, local markets, national markets, search engine optimization, seo, sports team revenues, sports team websites | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on SEO For Sports Teams And Leagues – Why It Is Necessary

Considerations For When You Buy A Minor League Baseball Team

Most adult baseball fans would love the opportunity to own a minor league baseball team, either one which is affiliated with a MLB team or even an independent professional baseball team.  The reasons vary, but they could include anything ranging from:

  • wanting to buy a minor league baseball team since childhood
  • attempting to build a terrific organization to pass onto your children
  • because you want to bring professional baseball to your community
  • you were involved with professional baseball at some point earlier in your career
  • you want to build the business and sell the team for a respectable profit
  • you love being around baseball and the players
  • you need it as part of a larger strategy for your business
  • you want to own, or have ownership in, a team with a direct tie to your favorite MLB team

While the reasons vary, one consistent thing is that if you plan on running the venture for a significant duration then you had better regard it as a a business instead of as a hobby.   The reasons for this also vary, but know that you must take it seriously if you love the game of baseball.

Going into mid-2010’s, your desire to buy a minor league baseball team has to be more rooted in smart business than in previous decades.  With so much required before the team throws its first (or next) pitch, you have to look at your lines of revenue in order to give yourself and your partners a solid chance of earning a decent short-term ROI, not to mention participating in any valuation increase from the time your bought the team.

Here are just some of the lines of revenue from the traditional model:

  • tickets (all forms – single, group, season, suite rental, specialty)
  • concessions
  • beer
  • parking
  • merchandise
  • sponsorships (all forms)
  • camps & clinics
  • revenue from promotions (not included in any of the above)
  • miscellaneous

The future model will include all of the above plus:

  • “micro revenues” such as monetizing your website and social media
  • new forms of merchandise
  • intellectual property
  • affiliate revenues tied to previously-wasted sponsorship inventory
  • creation of new high-traffic inventory against which you can sell ad space
  • equipment endorsements (passive or direct)
  • additional lines of revenue (e.g. merchandise being sold nationally)
  • additional outlets to increase team brand exposure to boost all forms of revenue

You also want to balance upside opportunity with certainty.  This means that the prospective minor league baseball owner or investor should weigh the opportunities to make good profit (and good cash flow) between the affiliated (MiLB) and independent league teams which exist and are looking for investor/ownership capital.

Even assuming that your financial investment is 100% liquid and represents a very small portion of your liquid net worth, you still will want to weigh several factors.  These include:

  • Who runs the league in which your team will play?  Will you have a say in how things are run?
  • Are there certain entity structures which are encouraged or discouraged for your team?
  • Who affects certain hard costs such as travel, per diem amounts for players, the maximum or minimum you can pay on-field personnel, etc?
  • How long has the league been in existence?
  • Do the teams in the league have a track record of stability?
  • Can you get along with the other owners in the league?
  • Does your league have committees, or is one person responsible for decisions such as how many weekend games you can get to maximize attendance?
  • How will your purchase of the minor league baseball team be financed?

At the local level you will need to factor in:

  • What rights do you have at the stadium?
  • Can you keep the majority of revenues collected?
  • If the stadium is funded by bond issuance, who pays for what with the city?
  • Are there union costs you have to incur?
  • What are the workman’s compensation costs likely to be?
  • Is there a political situation in the city or county which could affect your ability to play?
  • How responsive are the fans to the current team?  If a new team, what data is available supporting the likelihood that the fans will support the team?
  • Can you make staff changes in the front office, announcers, grounds crew, etc?
  • Who handles the team’s financial records and taxes?
  • What will make your team unique in terms of entertainment options to the local audience?
  • If taking over a previous team, how much damage has the previous front office staff done either by intent or neglect?  Can you undo any damage quickly and, if so, what will it require?
  • Who controls the physical facility such as how long the lights can stay on, city ordinances for sound or fireworks, and compliance with fire codes/ordinances?
  • Can you advertise your upcoming games around town with street signs and other marketing techniques, or are you prohibited from doing by city laws?

Again, this is just a small sample of what you will be dealing with as someone looking to buy a minor league baseball team.

Hopefully you start to realize that being a successful minor league baseball team owner is more challenging than what most people realize when they are dreaming of ownership.  Should you decide to pursue the opportunity then you should consider pursuing several of the new lines of revenue to give yourself some “cushion” or a “buffer” during your first year of owning a pro sports team.

Please contact us for help on these new revenue streams.  If you also need some assistance on the process of buying a minor league baseball team then also contact us so that we can point you in the direction of longtime experts who have helped both team buyers as well as team sellers.

Posted in ownership, sports team revenues | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Considerations For When You Buy A Minor League Baseball Team

Your Team’s Old Website Pages Can Make You Money

If you are a minor league or summer collegiate league sports team owner, general manager, director of marketing, director of sponsorships/partnerships, or even the team’s webmaster then this post may of interest to you.

Your Old (Archived) Website Pages Have A Little Bit Of “Life” Still Left In Them

Let’s say that your team’s (or league’s) website has been around for a few years.  Chances are that you have in the news archives – or player archives – dozens (if not hundreds) of pages which no longer have any importance to you.  These pages could have been about items a few years back such as:

  • a specific night’s promotion
  • a player signing or trade
  • a fan-related story
  • something which brought you national attention

None of the pages of which I am mentioning are your current “money pages” such as your:

  • home page
  • schedule page
  • roster page
  • page giving directions to the stadium or arena
  • tickets page

So What Do My Site’s Old Pages Have To Do With Making Any Money?!?

If you said something similar to that then that is a terrific question!

A common theme throughout this website is that typical vantage point of an owner, operator or team executive deals with:

  • ONLY the physical world
  • ONLY the geographic radius around the team’s stadium or arena

What you must understand is that EVERY ONE of your team’s web pages – visible to the public – has possible inherent value at the NATIONAL level, even long after the specific event being given attention is long completed.  What this means is that your archived web pages MAY have some value to an outside advertiser in the DIGITAL world, even if a given page may not be dealing with something recent or in the near future.

How Is This Possible?

Whenever your team posts a news item, a player page or other publicly-visible content on the internet it may be referenced by other people.  For example, the local newspaper and local convention and visitors bureau may have linked to a specific page from their websites.  Alternatively, a player (even one no longer on your roster), his family and friends, and certain fans may have linked to a story about the player’s performance on a particular game.

Should there have been enough people linking to a SPECIFIC page, and if those links to that page still exist on the internet, then that specific page may have any/all of the following “value”:

  • actual traffic still coming to that page (your webmaster may be able to tell you if this is the case)
  • authority from Google (ranging from 0 to 10) called “PageRank”.  Any page with a PageRank of 1 or higher (for a specific page) has possible value to outside advertiser
  • relevance — especially to advertisers in the sports, fitness, family and recreation niches
  • authority from other internet web page analysis services such as Majestic SEO, AHREFS, SEOMoz and SEMRush
  • “social signals” – specific pages may have been “liked” on Facebook, re-tweeted on Twitter, “plus 1” on Google Plus (+), or been shared on other social media platforms

That’s All Great, But How Does This Make Me Money?

There are many types of advertisers who are looking to place their ads on websites like yours – official sports team websites.  They want to increase their profits through internet marketing and they see value on your website in a number of ways.

Obviously, most teams are conditioned to ONLY accept a flat-rate paid sponsor on their sites.  This is a limiting approach, especially for teams which didn’t have a great year revenue-wise.  By opening up your options regarding your website you have several things you now can do:

  1. Monetize your high-traffic web pages (roster, schedule, tickets, etc.) with the paid sponsors.  If no one in your local area or through your connections is willing to pay a “premium” for the spot then know that there are several advertisers willing to pay “market rate” (just not premium) for the same space on your website
  2. Create new pages to rank in the search engines, and then monetize them with affiliate programs, per-click revenue ads, per 1000 impression ads or lead-generation ads
  3. Sell links on your old (archived) web pages which no longer have any value.  You have to know which specific pages have value to a potential advertiser and then where to find those ad buyers.  They simply may want to put a link with specific wording (no images/banners) in order to give their desired page a boost in the search engines.  This is especially true for sports/fitness/family advertisers who want that page’s “authority” AND the relevance to THEIR website

What Is The Possible Impact To My Bottom Line?

This varies team by team, so the example given IS NOT any guarantee or expectation of actual results!

Let’s assume that your team’s website is 5 years old, has about 800 pages on it (including your news archives and previous players), and has links to your site from the local newspaper, city government site, Wikipedia, sports-related websites, etc.  A thorough analysis (please contact us for help on this) indicates that – not including your “money pages” (home page, roster page, etc.) – you have 90 pages which have enough “authority” to sell links.  Of those, 80 of them are on your archived pages or other pages for which you really no longer have any use.

Realistically, you should be able to get:

  • $3 to $10 per month PER LINK on the page, depending on its authority and any traffic.  Yes, this assumes that you won’t display and ads which conflict with your current sponsors!
  • You have the potential to add up to 5 of these links per archived page without causing any concern to your website or to your fans

Here is the math, assuming that you can attract enough buying advertisers to fill all of your inventory on the currently-unappreciated web pages:

  • 80 pages * 5 links per page = 400 links
  • Average payout per link per month = $5/month
  • Estimated revenue per month = $2000/month
  • Annualized revenue (estimated) = $24,000/year
  • Hard cost to do this:  none except for the manpower needed plus the know-how

Again, this does not account for additional profits to be had by placing per-1000 impression (banner/billboard) ads, affiliate links, revenues generated by per-click ads or those ads which pay the team a commission when a lead is generated.

If you do not have the know-how on this revenue method then please contact us for assistance.

Posted in direct revenues, sports team revenues, sports team websites | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Your Team’s Old Website Pages Can Make You Money

How Sports Teams Can Share A Common Revenue Stream

In most professional and collegiate level sports leagues the teams only care about their own revenue streams.  Most teams have minimal (if any) incentive to promote:

  • other teams’ tickets and merchandise in the same league
  • other teams’ tickets and merchandise in other leagues
  • other teams’ social media properties and websites

Since many of the minor league, independent league and summer collegiate sports teams always would like more revenues and profits then the question becomes:  how can the sports teams find ways to derive revenue from each other without affecting any current business models?

This is a great question!

Common Intellectual Property And Other Sports Revenue Solutions

One way to address this is to deal with a common headache which all teams have.  For example, in the independent professional baseball industry most general managers, managers, coaching staff members and front office staff members get a constant barrage of phone calls, e-mails, letters and social media inquiries asking about tryouts from prospective players.  Most teams do not have tryouts going year round to address the prospective player demand, and only a few teams have tryouts which can make the team (or league) any money.

From personal experience as a team official in the lowest level of pro baseball in the late-2000’s, the GM and I received roughly 300 calls and e-mails each month from prospective players.  Whether the players had any previous pro experience or not, the consensus with other team officials in the league is that it is a significant annoyance which never seems to end!

So how does this “headache” get resolved in a way where all teams can benefit in some way?

One way is to have a centralized tryouts notification service which gives teams a financial incentive to promote the service regardless of if the player ever shows up at any tryout for any team, in any league.  Such a service exists (DISCLAIMER:  this is a website/service owned by the same for this website, so regard this simply as a case example) to help the teams:  http://www.independentbaseballtryouts.net

This is a tryouts notification and intellectual property (MP3 interviews) which gives advice to these prospective players on how to make a pro baseball team and stay on it.  The intellectual property is sold through one of the largest online/digital retailers (Clickbank.com), and it offers anyone to become an “affiliate” for free.  This permits the team to register with Clickbank and enter in the desired payment name and address; and Clickbank then manages the infrastructure for a team to get a “tracking link” (customized website link) specific to the team and the product being sold.

Should a prospective player click the team’s specific tracking link on the website (or social media, e-mail newsletter, etc.), and then purchase the tryouts notification service/intellectual property, the team would earn a commission.  Since the product happens to be digital (no physical delivery) then opportunity for a large commission percentage can be had.  In this instance, the tryouts service pays roughly 60% of the post-transaction fee proceeds.  After a certain minimum commission amount is earned, Clickbank then pays the team (“affiliate”) with a physical check according to the payout schedule.

Why Should Sports Executives Care About This Concept

While the example above is relegated primarily to the independent professional baseball industry, the real power is in grasping the concept and beginning to recognize that your team or league has much more revenue potential than you may have originally thought.  For example, there are many things your audience wants.  Sticking with prospective athletes, they and their families may begin to recognize that the athlete doesn’t quite have the skills he thought he has.  He may want help on:

  • increasing his vertical leap skill
  • improving his 60 yard dash time
  • improving his overall muscle mass
  • etc.

There exist affiliate programs for all of the items mentioned above; and the teams can become affiliates and promote those products with the free tracking internet links.

To take it to the next level, the teams in a league could band together and create their OWN intellectual property (e-books, videos, audios, etc.).  From there they could have other teams in the sports industry become affiliates for THEIR product.  Since everything gets paid on a commission basis only, and the money is handled through a neutral third party, teams can make money putting money in the pockets of other teams… some not even in the same sport.

That’s Great And All… But Is There Any Demand For This?!?

The answer is yes.  Google has a tool which gives conservative estimates of the number of times someone is looking for any phrase across the country.  The conservative estimate of the phrase “improve your vertical jump” is roughly 1600 times each month.  This means nearly 20,000 searches a year — just in the search engines (!) – are looking for that ONE phrase. Obviously there are hundreds of related phrases each year with lots of demand!

It also means that many more would be open to clicking your tracking link to an “improve vertical jump” online video course, since 20,000 people a year will actively go to the search engines with many more willing to share tips and your marketing messages through social media and e-mail newsletter mentions.

Whether you are willing to have your sports team become an affiliate, or are willing to take the more advanced step and create intellectual property, you can begin to understand that a small portion of your revenues now can be had:

  • nationally
  • shared by other teams
  • shared by entities in other sports

There is MUCH more to this topic, so contact us for guidance on what you would like to accomplish with your particular team or league.  Thank you.

Posted in indirect revenues, intellectual property, national markets, sports team revenues | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on How Sports Teams Can Share A Common Revenue Stream

How Sports Teams Can Increase Revenues With Their RSS Feeds

Increase Sports Profits With RSS Feeds

If you are a sports team owner, league executive, team executive or are a consultant for professional, amateur, and collegiate league sports teams then you may realize that your website likely comes with a RSS feed.  The problem is…

… you may not know what this thing is or what to do with it to increase sports business profits!

If so, that is okay.  Very few online marketers know much about RSS feeds either; and you are going to get a quick education on this technology which comes embedded with most team and league websites today.

First, RSS has multiple definitions.  One of the most commonly accepted definitions is “Real Simple Syndication”.  When your team or league’s appointed person updates the website with the most recent news (e.g. scores, trades and promotion announcements) the most recent news item shows up for your visitors to see.  Depending on which web hosting platform and design company you chose, you should have a RSS feed which gets populated automatically with the same content.

RSS Works Primarily In Two Ways For Sports Revenues

RSS feeds can be used in multiple manners, but two stand out for most sports teams and leagues.  The first way is the one which most familiar with RSS understand.  It also is the LEAST likely to improve your sports team’s revenues.

Most teams have been educated that they want RSS subscribers.  These are people who:

  • are likely already fans or at least consistent visitors to your website
  • have the technology to utilize RSS technology
  • are pre-sold on subscribing to RSS feeds (blogs, sports team news, etc.)
  • actually WANT your content

These types of people are terrific to have on your side.  This because they likely will share a few of your news items with their friends and social media followers.

The problem is that these people should be “icing on the cake.”  You are asking a lot to have these people consistently promote your news/ticket information/promotional items without any sort of compensation.

Instead, let’s focus on the second way to use RSS feeds to boost your overall profitability.  That focuses on the “syndication” word inside the “Real Simple Syndication” definition.  RSS feeds, formatted in the proper technology structure (RSS, XML, Atom or a few other accepted protocols) can be syndicated to websites, blogs, social media properties and others who do not yet know you.

These entities need fresh content for THEIR web properties.  Since you are a legitimate sports business, your content is deemed “authoritative” enough to warrant being placed on other websites with a link back to your main website pages.  This can be done automatically by adding your website’s RSS feed to:

  • RSS directories
  • blog directories (and “blog aggregators”)
  • web 2.0 pages which permit you to add your feed
  • other RSS-oriented web properties
  • sending the RSS feed link to your fans via e-mail/Twitter/Facebook and letting them know it exists

Well That’s Great, But How Does My Team Make Any Money Using RSS?

Great question!

Here are several ways in which your RSS feed can help your team, league or promotion can use RSS technology to add revenues to your accounts above and beyond your current efforts:

  • The web properties, which need content, that pick up your news items will include a link back to your team’s website.  People who read those web properties (which you do not know even exist) can click to find out more about you and buy tickets to events if they will be in the area
  • People who read your content on other web properties (websites, blogs and social media properties) may share your news item with their friends.  THOSE people may click the link and “up sell” themselves to buy your tickets
  • If you have a unique logo, people may buy a piece of merchandise online even if they never buy a ticket or come within 1000 miles of your stadium
  • You can “convert” or “burn” your RSS feed through Google’s FeedBurner technology.  If you run Google AdSense ads elsewhere, your converted/burned RSS feed now can contain Google ads which pay you when someone clicks on the ads
  • If you click the RSS image at the top of this post you will be taken to the RSS feed for IndependentBaseballTrivia.com.  In the footer of each RSS feed post, there is a “call to action” to dial a toll-free number from ANYWHERE IN THE U.S. (not just local) for people who want good prices on home repair/home improvement contractors in THEIR areas.
    • Since RSS feeds get “syndicated” nationally, this a good way to monetize any sports team’s RSS feed
  • You can add a sponsor to the footer of each RSS feed post and use it as new inventory or to boost awareness for a current sponsor
  • You can add an affiliate link which is relevant to your audience, likely to buy equipment for your sport

Again, the goals here are to have:

  • websites, blogs and social media properties (which you do not know) to promote your latest news/scores/trades/etc.
  • those properties’ visitors to click and discover you for the first time, from anywhere around the world
    • this leads to increased ticket sales
    • this leads to increased online merchandise sales
  • these visitors share your content with their spheres of influence
  • any readers of your RSS content click an ad or take the “call to action” in the footer of each RSS post in order to put direct revenues in your sports team’s accounts

Finally, all of this is not relegated to just your website’s RSS feed.  Your sports team’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media properties all have RSS feeds.  Each can be further syndicated and/or monetized in a similar manner.

There is even more which can be done with RSS feeds to help you reach your day to day goals.  Please contact us for more information on how we can help your team or league.

 

Posted in blogs, indirect revenues, rss, social media, sports team revenues, sports team websites | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on How Sports Teams Can Increase Revenues With Their RSS Feeds

How QR Codes Can Be Used To Make Money For Sports Teams

Using QR Codes To Improve Sports Revenues

Many people are now familiar with QR codes and how they get scanned through “smart phones.”  Some people in the sports world even are aware that a QR code can be modified to have the same background as the team colors or even include a smaller team logo in the center of the code.

The only problem is….

…. very few sports teams and leagues know how to use these to make money other than just sending people to the home page IN HOPES of buying more tickets!

It is time for sports teams to “lead the pack” and derive actual revenues and increase profits by using these codes intelligently.  The first thing we need to do is to bust some myths about QR codes:

  • “You are only allowed to have one QR code” — FALSE
  • “You should always send a QR code to your home page” — FALSE
  • “You only can use QR codes to send people to a link on the internet” — FALSE, although it is the most traditional use
  • “They only can be used in the physical/real world” — FALSE

 

How Sports Teams Can Use QR Codes To Make Money!

As a sports business executive, understanding the growing emotional attachment people have with their smart phones is imperative.  Here are some things you can do with any of the QR codes you create:

  • Send the visitor to your team or league home page
  • Send the visitor to a page on your website other than the home page, especially one that “adds value”
  • Send the visitor to one of your social media properties (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
  • Send the visitor to a page to leave a review about your team (e.g. sending a happy fan to the team’s page on Yelp in order to leave a positive review)
  • Download a team mobile application
  • Send a vCard or other contact information
  • Send the team to a website where you have a revenue stream embedded that meets the need of the person scanning the code
  • Promote your high-level sponsors on promotional items or during between-inning/intermission time periods
  • Participate on a Twitter “hash tag” discussion
  • Many more uses – please contact us to find out more

 

Some new QR technology allows you to send the visitor to an “intermediary” page permitting you to change out the final destination.  For example, you may place a QR code on a team photo poster which gets distributed around town; but you think that you may want to feature the “player of the week” as the incentive to get people to scan the QR code.

You then can direct the QR code to point to the “intermediary” link, and your staff can change out the end destination page each week in order to fulfill the promise you made to the person looking at the poster.  This keeps you in the good graces of local fans who demand more integrity from ALL businesses in the local area, not just sports teams.

“My Team Needs Actual Money.  QR Codes Are Great, But How Do I Put Money In My Sports Team’s Coffers Without Selling Another Ticket?!?”

This is a great question!

The answer is that you need to meet the needs of specific audiences who are likely to take some sort of action that:

  • meets THEIR needs (this is first and foremost!!)
  • doesn’t cost your sports team anything
  • gives you a commission or other credit which directly (or indirectly) puts money in your team’s bank account

 

If you scroll back up to the top of the page and scan the QR code, you will be taken to a digital e-book/course product to help baseball players improve their 60-yard dash times.  I do not own this product, nor do I know the product creator.  So how do I make money now that the page promoting his course is on YOUR smart phone?!?

The answer is that the product creator is offering his product through a digital retailer which allows me to become an “affiliate”.  I signed up for free through the “middle man” retailer, and they provided me a tracking link.  I then converted this tracking link into a specific QR code. If anyone clicks that link (on the website, through a QR code, through social media, etc.) and the person buys the product then I earn a commission of 50% of the post-fee purchase price.  At $29, the post-fee amount is roughly $26.  I would earn around $13 for the sale of this product bought through my tracking link.

The QR code now can be:

  • put on a team’s website, ideally the “open tryouts” page
  • handed to players as they register for a team’s open tryouts or private workouts
  • handed to players who didn’t get signed out of the tryout because they were too slow
    • Talk about meeting the needs of prospective customers who are in pain!!  Imagine that you wanted to play pro baseball but didn’t make it out of the tryout because you ran a 7.1 second 60 yard dash.  The team hands you a QR code that you scan on the way back to the car.  You get helpful information and the team gets roughly $13 for “adding value” to this very specific audience
  • market through online sites, such as articles about becoming a pro baseball player
  • through college baseball coaches who pass the code (or otherwise share your tracking link) with the players
  • any ethical way to get this information in the hands of a likely audience who needs the information

 

This is just a SMALL sample of what can be done with QR codes to put money in your team’s bank account without selling one more ticket or hot dog!

Think about what your fans need in their daily lives.  They will need:

  • home repair services
  • restaurant coupons to save money
  • trivia about your particular sport
  • weight loss information
  • relationship help
  • saving money on car problems
  • help making extra money

 

Get into the heads of your fans, both those who attend games as well as those who are fans from afar (online radio, website visitors outside of your area), and figure out what THEY need.  Then find products and services which offer your team an incentive to promote the particular web page.  You can get tracking links (or banner ads) that are free to create and promote.

The tracking links can be crafted into QR codes and distributed to your fans via:

  • the footer of every night’s news items
  • the sidebar of the team website for any unsold inventory spots
  • pocket schedules and team posters which get distributed around town
  • game programs for unsold inventory
  • promotional items
  • baseball cards
  • handouts given to fans when they come into the stadium
  • ticket backs if there is enough space
  • online ticket purchases
  • team merchandise

 

Since fans are becoming more demanding, and since they have more entertainment options, do whatever you can to promote the QR code that makes you money in a fun and/or helpful way.  Currently, all independent professional baseball teams have a page which they can monetize with per-click ads; and each team receives a daily trivia question shared by all teams and league offices.

Teams can promote the QR code during games by handing out the code and instructing fans to scan the code every day for a new trivia question.  The page containing the daily trivia question has ads above and below the trivia so fans can see them; but the fans still get “value” first… and they even may share/re-tweet the page with your ads to their friends.  This enhances the likelihood that you can make money from around the country without having to get an extra paying “butt in the seat!”

Please contact us for specific information about using QR codes properly to bring in more fans, increase ticket sales AND brand new ways to make money without having to sell an extra ticket or a hot dog.

 

Posted in fans, mobile marketing, qr codes, sports team revenues, unsold advertising | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on How QR Codes Can Be Used To Make Money For Sports Teams