There is one more element to winning sports facility business that may come as a surprise to some distributors. Sponsorship agreements are commonplace in the industry, and vendors are often expected to participate. That may include buying season tickets, paying for a corporate box or investing in a billboard.

Although it’s not always the case, choosing between two vendors with similar pricing can sometimes come down to who has shown a commitment by investing in the team. Rather than resisting the outlay of dollars, distributors can use sponsorship as a marketing opportunity beyond the facility itself.

“Sponsorship or buying tickets is often part of doing business with the facility, but it’s also just good business,” says Schneringer. “Going to a game is a fun experience to do with other customers, and it’s part of an overall strategy of being in a community and market.”

In the end, to break into the lucrative sports market, distributors must demonstrate that they understand and care about the facility’s needs, and that they respect the venue as a business.

“Many people see a brand-new, start-of-the-art stadium and mistakenly assume the sports team is flush with money,” says Ashkin. “The fact is it’s a very competitive business and price is very important to them. That’s true everywhere, but people often forget because they see such big numbers in sports.” 

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.

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