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Reaching out to customers through sport

Sligo Rovers are on the verge of securing the Airtricity Premier League title but are leaving nothing to chance about making sure there is strong support for the remaining home fixtures.

They draw potential support from a wide geographic area and looked to tap into Mayo’s big weekend in the All Ireland Football semi final by offering a €5 discount to Monday’s game against Bohemians for anyone who brought a ticket from Croke Park on Sunday to the turnstiles at the Showgrounds.

The club also has promotions running in Leitrim and is offering double game discounts to registered junior soccer players and family tickets available exclusively through shopping centres in Sligo throughout last weekend.

It is a well co-ordinated and imaginative approach to making sure that fans feel appreciated and should, on the back of rising excitement about the title challenge, ensure a strong financial as well as playing finish to the season.

Sligo Rovers are sponsored by Connolly’s Volkswagen dealership, a local business drawing on the goodwill of being associated with a local team that has a special place in the lives of fans.

There are many ways that business can get involved with local clubs and opportunities can often be crafted to suit your particular needs.

Here’s a checklist of things to think about before making an approach to your local sports club.

1. Are you involved in a club yourself?
If so you will have a sense of how the club communicates with you and what they might do for your brand.

2. Do you have a special promotion coming up?
It is always best to be specific rather than generic.

3. Special Benefits
What special benefit can you give to club members or fans as an incentive exclusive to them?

4. Brand placement
Don’t be afraid to ask for brand placement wherever and whenever you can.  Few clubs have professional marketing expertise and are happy to oblige once a relationship shows promise. Make sure you have the capacity to delievr whether it is via leaflets, logo’s or other merchandising.

Rob Hartnett is the Founder and CEO of Sport for Business, a networking and intelligence service for leaders in Irish sport and Irish business.  It regularly features hints at how business of all shapes and sizes can benefit from an association with sport.

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