Playing hockey isn’t cheap. From equipment costs, including skate sharpening, sticks, ice skates and more, to league fees and even to the jerseys you wear, you can spend upwards of $1,000 per season individually to play depending on your location. If you are a team captain, the investment can be even more. One way to lighten your burden, and consequently the burden of your players, is to get a sponsor.
Tax write offs are your number one sales tool in obtaining a beer league sponsorship. Sponsorship can take several forms but usually result in help with jerseys or team uniforms that can promote your sponsor. Some sponsors will go the extra mile to cover or at least assist with league fees as well.
In total, there are three primary tools that you can use to get sponsorship dollars to support your ice hockey habit. In this article we will look at all of them as well as giving you some ideas for organizations you can target.
Is There Even Such a Thing As Sponsoring or Was I Mislead?
Sponsorships are a very real thing. Typically, a sponsor will be willing to support your team for any number of reasons that are beneficial for both the business and the players on the team. Some of the reasons a business would want to sponsor a hockey team include:
- Business tax write offs. Every sponsor I asked about mentioned this as their primary reason for sponsoring a hockey team coupled with helping players and teams they knew. As a rule, these business owners are hockey fans so be mindful of that when seeing deals. Sponsorship dollars can be deducted as advertising expenses as part of the business. Be sure to keep receipts for jerseys or league fees so you can provide these to sponsors for their tax records. In full disclosure, Bag of Pucks is a sponsor for a beer league team. I provide jerseys and pays league fees for a team at Centennial Sportsplex and the love of the game in conjunction with the tax write off are a big part of the reason.
- Jersey Advertising. Offer to have the name of the business or their logo on the jersey as part of any sponsorship agreement. This is particularly beneficial for local bars, restaurants or establishments that cater to folks who play on a beer league team. Because sponsors will usually be keener to sponsor team jerseys, this is a big tool. Additionally, the sponsor name can be part of your team name so your sponsor will be on every score sheet and online schedule for the league.
“Easy way to write off hockey fees each year through the business. With a sponsorship we get advertising on the jerseys (a tiny crest) and a free spot on the team, which the business pays for.”REDDIT – r/hockeyplayers
- Getting spots on the team for the sponsor and/or employees. Sometimes the team captain is the sponsor who is looking to put together a team with others who work for the sponsor or friends. These teams typically need additional players to round out their roster. If you’re looking for a team and get to play on a sponsored team, this is a very sweet deal.
Because businesses get these perks as part of sponsoring a team, it becomes a win/win situation for them especially if the business owner, family members, or employees have an interest in playing hockey.
Know What You Want
Take your sponsorship seriously. Approach it professionally and not loosely. Know how much you need for jerseys, league fees or even equipment and be prepared with this information. A sponsor is more likely to sign up if you have a specific ask and are prepared so they know what their level of commitment is.
While you don’t want to ask for too much and give a prospective sponsorship sticker shock, have a clear mission in mind that will contribute to your team in a way that provides some benefit to the sponsor and be prepared to sell them on that benefit.
What Kind of Rules and Regulations Govern Sponsors?
Rules for sponsorship vary from league to league so you should contact your league commissioner to find out if there are any special considerations for your sponsors.
Most leagues will have veto power over your team’s name – so keep it classy. That team sponsorship from certain local gentlemen’s establishment would likely not cut it. To say nothing if it is a co-ed league that would offend sensitivities.
One team I was a part of nominated the team’s name to be the “Premature Shooters” which was promptly vetoed by both the league and female members of the team. Go figure.
Some facilities have bars or snack bars that don’t appreciate a competing sponsor on a jersey that might take business away from them.
Is Your Local Sports Bar or Restaurant Willing to Be Your Sponsor?
These kinds of businesses make excellent albeit somewhat obvious sponsors. Of course, there are likely conditions that the team patronize the establishment post game or during team gatherings outside the rink. Be sure to consider the rules that may exist that we’ve already discussed about competition.
Usually patronizing a place as a team isn’t a problem because if you’ve had bar food at one place then you’ve pretty much had them everywhere. And beer is beer. Being regulars can earn you points and maybe even get you
Sporting Good Stores
Some markets will have local sporting goods stores that sell hockey equipment. Some are mom and pop stores, and some are franchises. The local “Play It Again Sports” franchise may sell secondhand hockey gear and wants to get the word out. In this case, a jersey sponsorship might be ideal.
Charities and Volunteer Organizations
Sometimes a non-profit organization will sponsor people who volunteer for them. While this isn’t as common, having a team sponsored by a charitable organization isn’t unheard of. One team I played against in Nashville was a team whose players were sponsored by their church.
This team had some of the best fans too. They’d come out to Sunday night games, and some were part of the church band and brought their instruments to play during puck stoppages. This is absolutely no joke.