How To Monetize Unsold Sports Team Advertising Inventory

If you are an owner, operator or an executive for a collegiate-level, independent league or minor league sports team or league, then you probably have unsold advertising inventory.  These could include spots for which you do not have any sponsors, neither local nor national, for:

  •  signage
  •  game programs
  •  pre-game and post-game events
  •  online radio
  •  public address announcements
  •  between-inning (or between-quarter/half) intermissions
  •  website
  •  social media postings
  •  team posters and upcoming event/game flyers
  •  your game/event videos
  •  local athlete/player appearances
  •  card sets

If this is the case then take heart! There are several options for you to monetize these spots… even if you cannot secure a paying sponsor!

Using Social Media to Monetize Your Unsold Sports Advertising Inventory

First and foremost, if you have the ability to sell the advertising inventory spots, then take the money!  It is always better to have the money in hand than banking on the actions of fans.  We all know that fans are at your games, listening to your online radio, or watching online video in order to “escape” their realities and be entertained in some manner.  Relying on them to perform a specific action or set of actions is fickle at best.

Nonetheless, you may have to rely on them to take some sort of call to action in case you simply cannot sell your advertising inventory in a certain area.  If this is the case, then here are the main points to monetize this otherwise “dead space”:

  • You need to break the fans’ “hypnotic trances”.  You can do this by being funny, innovative, giving them a “wow” element or simply giving them a SIMPLE call-to-action item that subconsciously answers the “What Is In It For Me?” (WIIIFM) question
  • Make your call-to-action benefit-driven
  • DO NOT charge your fans anything for this unsold inventory.  Do NOT “jam” more ticket and merchandise incentives down their throats.  They get enough of that!
    • Instead, get into their minds and give them calls-to-action which address the concerns they likely have in their everyday lives

Take a minute to think about the concerns your fans (in attendance, local but listening to the game, family/friend of a player living 2000 miles away, or any other significant percentage of your audience) have in their lives.  These could include:

  •  paying for their kids’ educations
  •  saving money when going out to dinner with the family
  •  not getting ripped off on a home repair project which cannot be fixed by the members of the household
  •  car problems
  •  annoying bosses
  •  helping their kids become better athletes (per respective sport)
  •  losing weight
  •  needing a good laugh
  •  wanting to become even smarter a fan of your specific sport
  •  saving money on purchases related to their kids (clothing, school supplies, etc.)
  •  travel
  •  making more money


Once you choose a few of the challenges faced by your fans then the next questions to ask yourself and your staff are:

  • How can this team/promotion/league offer a solution to these challenges (besides offering “escapism”) so that fans become more loyal AND tell their friends about us?
  • How can we increase profits without having to sell another ticket, hot dog, beer or t-shirt?  And how can we do so without just cutting costs?
  • How can we increase revenues and profits without incurring more out-of-pocket expenses?
  • What solutions exist that will pay this team, league or organization no matter where our fans live or are listening to our games/events?

What Will Not Cost My Team A Penny In Out-Of-Pocket Costs?

Here are a few examples of things which you may not know exist that do not cost the team a penny:

  • Toll-free numbers can be assigned to your sports organization that offer value to your fans, such as getting local home repair contractors (anywhere in the U.S.) to compete for your fans’ business.  Plumbers, roofers, carpenters, painters and the like are willing to help your fans no matter where they live… and the team gets paid to generate the “lead”
  • You can get free tracking (affiliate) links placed on your website and social media to offer your fans helpful information.  For example, if your fans like saving money at restaurants, you can get a tracking link which, if clicked and your fan buys a restaurant coupon to save significant money at a nice restaurant anywhere in the country, the team will receive roughly 30% of the sale
  • You can offer parents with kids who playing your respective sport tracking links to buy equipment, as long as your on-field talent can endorse or educate parents how to choose the best equipment for their kids.  You would receive anywhere from 6% to 10% of the transaction
  • Many more such options exist

Please contact us for customized information on how to come up with the best ways to meet your fans’ needs and to monetize your sports business’ specific unsold advertising inventory.


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