Sep 27, 2011 at 04:25 PM
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Can A High School Sponsorship Network Be Both Turnkey AND Engaging?

With 57% of high schools pursuing at least some form of corporate sponsorship and another 25% citing a lack of sponsorship sales knowledge, some entrepreneurial sponsorship types are seizing on the opportunity to help educators better understand how they can monetize school assets with sponsors. One of them is School Sports Media, LLC a division of Mission Media Services, Inc. which specializes in school sports marketing, and today announced it has registered almost 200 Pennsylvania schools, including districts in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, to offer what it calls "turnkey sponsorship opportunities for local, regional and national brands interested in sponsoring school sports and activities."

The company, which launched in 2010, has partnered up with IEG to include the Chicago-based consultancy's sponsorship valuation model in its proposals in an effort to help companies understand the ROI around the assets being offered.

"We are vested in helping companies reach this important targeted audience with their marketing dollars. Not only will they reach an incredibly brand loyal and grateful consumer, sponsors will be helping to fill the gap, so kids can keep sports and activities in their schools," said Dave Shamberger, President, School Sports Media. "We are looking to car dealerships, orthodontics, medical practices, restaurants, sporting retailers, clothing manufactures, entertainment promoters, movie studios, and branded products and service companies that want to make a big impact on teens and their parents,"

"The fiscal reality that most of the public schools districts are encountering because of cutbacks in state funding has not only affected staffing positions but also educational and athletic activity programs," says Jack Fullen, Athletic Administrator with the Blackhawk School District in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. It is our belief that School Sports Media can help our athletic programs make up the shortfall in funding and we look forward to our partnership and the companies that will be part of this program."

Within School Sports Media's sales deck, you can get a better idea of the offering and how the network's inventory is displayed for marketers to choose from.

While it seems to have carved out a solid block of schools (it says it's averaging 2 new school districts each week), SSM competes directly with the high school sponsorship models being developed by companies like Ohio-based franchise, Sports Image; grassroots apparel printing company, Apparel Media Group; and others. The question is not as much whether these services can be turnkey for marketers, as much as it is whether they can be executed in a truly engaging way on the local level. In essence, whether a scalable turnkey solution can move beyond adding up eyeballs to helps marketers really tap into their most valuable asset: the local passions of high school sports fans.

There's no question that the need is there. At this point, it's a question of execution.