Dodgeball 101: Finding Sponsors

As the saying goes, “money makes the world go ’round” and when trying to run your dodgeball empire this is no exception.  One of the things that hinders teams year-in and year-out is having the finances to properly run the team.  This can range from having problems with buying uniforms, being able to travel to tournaments, and even being able to buy dodgeballs for the season.  So what are some solutions if your team doesn’t get the proper funding it needs?  Fundraising? Raising dues? Make the rich kid on the team pay for everything?

All of those are legitimate options, but they can require a lot of time and effort, and generally aren’t fun to do.  So what’s another option? Sponsorships.  Almost every kid grows up dreaming of being in commercials and getting endorsements from big name companies, but now you can actually make that a reality (aside from the commercial part, probably).  Here are some of my top tips for how you can get your team sponsors for the year, and ultimately ease the financial burden that comes with dodgeball.

Have an Offering Available

Simply put, you need to have something that makes that business want to invest in you.  As nice as it would be for businesses to give money to you just out of the goodness of their hearts, that will not happen.  They are a business after all, and they want to see a return on their investment. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can provide help including but not limited to: jersey sponsorship, other apparel sponsorship, distributing coupons for the business, being tax deductible (click here for info), website advertisements, social media posts, and (believe it or not) even tattoos.  There is no wrong way in going about promoting that business except for not promoting them at all.  Having some type of offering available and then following through with it is what will help land interest from businesses.

This also includes having price points ready to discuss.  The more prepared you appear for a meeting, the more secure of a decision the potential business will have.  Straight forward pricing for items usually works best (i.e. simple, rounded values) because it is easier for a business to manage.  Another thing to consider is offering discounts to businesses for taking up multiple offers, such as if they decide for jersey and website sponsorship.  The key is giving the appearance that you have prepared, and planned.  If you show signs of making smart estimates and pricing then it gives you an advantage.

Understand a Business’ Needs And How You Can Address Them

In the most basic and practical view for your team, businesses can be divided into groups: corporations/chains and local/small businesses. Even though both are considered businesses, each has their own specific set of needs.  In general it works like this, chains need customers and local businesses need exposure.  Larger organizations like a Buffalo Wild Wings or Subway don’t need advertising help from a local dodgeball club because they already know that they are nationally recognized brands.  What they want and are hoping to get through sponsorships is customer loyalty. Your team represents about 20-30 customers that can fill seats and orders at their establishment.  If they can get you guys to come in a couple times throughout the year, then they are accomplishing their marketing goals.

On the other hand, your local mom-and-pop shop realistically does not have the advertising budget of a national entity.  As a result, they want to be able to spread their name and awareness out to local people, and that’s where being a college group benefits your team the most.  Aside from the 20-30 to people on your team, there are over thousands of other students that attend your university.  Even through really cheap and easy promotional methods your club will be able to advertise to those thousands of potential new customers for that local business, which is exactly what they want/need.  This works especially well for businesses that may struggle to tap into their local college market, so make sure you mention this during a meeting.

Be Open to Negotiate

At the end of the day, you are the one asking for THEIR help.  Even if you have a great promotion plan or can possibly provide them a large customer base, there may be something else a business is looking for. Being open minded when discussing ideas with businesses is important, perhaps even more important than having a set plan.  A willingness to negotiate with businesses shows that you are genuinely interested in their services, and can sometimes result in a better deal/idea that you may have never thought about before.

Cast a Wide Net

Believe me when I tell you, you are probably going to get rejected. A lot. Not every business has the resources, money, or desire to invest in your team, but that’s fine.  There is never a guarantee in landing every business, especially when it comes to a business providing their money. The best way to find success is to branch out to as many businesses as possible.  Start with some of the places that you believe you will be able to have the best relationship with (i.e. a favorite team restaurant or bar) and then gradually work your way down that ladder.

Communicating to as many businesses as possible, whether in person or electronically helps stack the odds in your favor of finding that interested business.  Also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t land that “dream” business as your team’s sponsor.  As I said before, not everyone is going to want/be able to invest in your team.  Just make sure you don’t miss out on that business that is able and willing.

This last point might be my most important.

View a Sponsorship as a Relationship, Not a One-Time Event

It is very easy to walk away from a transaction with a business and just end it right there.  But that word, “relationship”, is going to be the key word in getting a business’ attention.  Relationships last for an extended period of time and are supposed to be mutually beneficial. By showing your loyalty to the agreement, it makes the decision for the business much easier.  On top of that, if you do establish that positive relationship with a sponsor then they will also be exponentially more likely to work with you in the future.  This will save you tons of time and effort in trying to find sponsors for the following season, and put your team in a better position for years to come.

 

There are always many things to think about when making a smart business decision, but these are the tips I believe are most important. If you ever have any specific questions, contact me so that I can help you in your endeavor!

 

 

Top 5 Most Underrated Players in the NCDA (2016-17)

Here is my top 5 list of the most underrated players in the league.  Please note, player #1 isn’t necessarily better than player #2, and player #2 better than player #3, etc.  This list is ordered by who is I think is underrated to the highest degree.  I hope you all enjoy:

 

Continue reading “Top 5 Most Underrated Players in the NCDA (2016-17)”

Top 5 Current Players in the NCDA (2016-17)

This is another list that is going to initiate some debate.  No explanation necessary, this is my list of the top 5 overall players in the country for the 2016-17 season.

(Next List Up: Top 5 Most Underrated Players… coming July 29th)

Continue reading “Top 5 Current Players in the NCDA (2016-17)”

Top 5 Uniforms in the NCDA

This list will without a doubt spark some controversy, and I’m totally okay with that.  As we continue our top 5 series, I bring you today the top 5 uniforms in college dodgeball.  Feel free to comment if you disagree with my list.  I’m sure there are varying opinions out there.

(Next List Up: Top 5 Overall Players for 2016-17… coming July 24th)

1. DePaul

I mean really, you can’t beat DePaul in this category.  These uniforms are unique, detailed, and classic.  The triple threat.  I really had no trouble determining who got #1 on this list because it is a clear choice.  The assortment of DePaul Dodgeball uniforms is rivaled by no one in college dodgeball.

2. Towson Continue reading “Top 5 Uniforms in the NCDA”

Top 5 Breakout Stars for 2016-17

Continuing our top 5 lists is this one on the top 5 breakout stars for the upcoming season.  These are not the top 5 overall players in the league, they are just my pick for the five players that will breakout in 2016-17 and truly make a name for themselves in this league.  Feel free to comment if you have any other choices that you think deserved to make this list!

(Next List Up: Top 5 Uniforms in the NCDA… coming July 19th)

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Continue reading “Top 5 Breakout Stars for 2016-17”

Top 5 Matchups for 2016-17

As we inch closer to yet another season of collegiate dodgeball, I thought it would be good to start a series of top 5 lists for you all.  So, for the remainder of the off-season we will be shelling out a new top 5 list once every 5 days!  Today’s top five is on the most anticipated matchups for the upcoming season.  Stay tuned because we have a number of great lists coming your way in the future.  Next week’s list: Top 5 Breakout Stars for 2016-17.  Anyway, enjoy the first of many top 5 lists to come:

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Thinking on Competition Groups

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The current Member Teams, Upcoming Schools, and some Known Orgs laid out on a map from the NYT Sunday Review. Sources: Joel Kotkin (boundaries and names of 7 mega-regions); Forbes Magazine; Regional Plan Association; Census Bureau; United States High Speed Rail Association; Clare Trainor/University of Wisconsin-Madison Cartography Laboratory;Zigmas Maloni (overlaid NCDA teams).

I’ve been making maps. As a national organization we have an obligation to think beyond state lines because these boundaries don’t prevent teams from traveling across them. Our organization is based on travel to specific points for the purpose of playing dodgeball. Dodgeball centers may exist for other Leagues, but it really is different for the NCDA. 

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Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 15

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Nationals 2016 was just over a week ago, but that doesn’t stop the content team from producing some articles.  This will be the first in a series of Way-Too-Early Top 15 rankings for next season.  Below is my personal opinion on who the tops teams will be heading into next year.  If you are interested in making a top 15 list of your own, feel free to contact any member of the content team and we will make it happen.  If you disagree with my list I expect to see your own top 15 written up! Continue reading “Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 15”

Shout out for Dodgeball Officials this Season

ncda-logo-alumni-1Good People. As Director of Officiating, I would like to take a moment to note several stellar Officials we had over the Nationals event weekend and those I’ve observed over the 2016 Season. I was pretty much useless in mobility but a lot of people came together to make sure Matches were officiated with at least four person crews. I had incredible help with Felix Perrone running to queue teams up for Matches and Officiating. He did 11 miles on Saturday.
 
Alumni Jason Hallman pretty much officiated every round, including being part of the Championship crew this year. Matt Zinn did the same, but needing to step out once GV went deeper into the bracket. Jude DuPart and Ryan Carlton deserve similar recognition, but we’re going to have to institute some mandatory break policy for you people next time!
 
I was incredibly happy to see people stick around to help staff the last three matches, especially those with long travel times. Becky Seemann, Nick Johnson, Evan Bemus, Sam Murphy, Klaire Randall, Mike McNicholas, Colin O’Brien to name a few good people.

Continue reading “Shout out for Dodgeball Officials this Season”

The Development of VCU Dodgeball Club

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By: Shadeed Q. Drakeford

Introduction

A long time ago after the annual Chick-fil-A dodgeball tournament in Richmond, VA, my best friend Micheal Tse and I were walking back to my apartment talking about dodgeball and the possibility of playing after our college days were done. This took place in October 2011, several months after the historical Final Four run by VCU in the NCAA tournament. The conversation started off very casually and jokingly with talks of playing semi-professionally along the East Coast with the potential of winning cash prizes or free food. Because who doesn’t like free food after a tournament? Yet, small talk created curiosity in me, and I stumbled across a hidden secret which has been around since 2004, the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association (NCDA).

In December 2011 as a Christmas present to myself, I completed all of the paperwork that was necessary to have the Dodgeball Club at VCU as an official organization. Little did I know my life would never be the same again. At the time, dodgeball at VCU was shrinking in size every single year. It started out strong with at least 100 people playing medic dodgeball every Friday from 2-4:30 p.m. in my freshman year to only 20 people playing medic dodgeball three times a week in my junior year. Back then, the purpose of the club was to create some stability with the perception of the sport around VCU, so that we would have some gym time every week. For anyone who has ever attended VCU, you know that dodgeball time was cut short on a weekly basis due to soccer.

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Chaos Continues…

Who Benefits Most from the MDC & BEAST?

 

GVSU Dodgeball won the Michigan Dodgeball Cup on Feb. 27th.
GVSU Dodgeball won the Michigan Dodgeball Cup on Feb. 27th.

Anyone who follows the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association closely knows that saying this season has been confusing is an understatement.  There have been huge shifts in the NCDA Standings throughout the year, and as we prepare for them to come out on Tuesday, March 1st, there are certain to be some big changes in store.

This past weekend, the Michigan Region teams competed in the annual Michigan Dodgeball Cup hosted by Michigan State.  Over on the East Coast, the second half of their season finally kicked off, as five teams took part in the rescheduled BEAST V tournament held at James Madison.

Both of these tournaments involved some exciting match-ups, and both had upsets.  While we all are trying to recover from another stellar weekend of dodgeball, let me help pick up the pieces from this confusing set of tournaments by giving you my list of five teams that benefited most from this weekend of chaos:

Continue reading “Chaos Continues…”

King of the Mountain Recap

This weekend Central Michigan University hosted the King of the Mountain dodgeball tournament.  At this event we saw schools from Michigan, Ohio, and even Wisconsin in attendance.  There were a lot of questions heading into the event, and I came away with quite a bit of insight on the teams that made the trip to Mt. Pleasant for a great tournament.  Below I have the scores from the tournament and some of my takeaways from the event as a whole: Continue reading “King of the Mountain Recap”

Top Ten Midseason East Coast Players

The following was written by Jonathan Shaw of Towson:

 

Doug Schilling - JMU
Doug Schilling – JMU
  1. Doug Schilling – JMU – I really don’t want to boost Mr. Schilling’s ego any more. Unfortunately in my opinion he is the best player on the East Coast. The things I don’t like about Doug’s game: The Money sign he gives after he makes a play. The things I like about Doug’s game: Literally everything else. This man is comparable to Kevin Bailey in terms of his all-around game being exceptional. His arm is easily the most hard to pick up on the east coast. First off his southpaw throw is something that most players just aren’t accustomed to seeing, secondly and most importantly once he releases his throw the ball tends to veer in multiple directions. The closest thing I could compare it to would be when a pitcher throws a really good knuckleball from the mound, and you see it from the batter’s box move both ways laterally. It’s literally almost impossible to pick up. To sum it up: Doug is a stud on the court, and when he is in his team is always in it.

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Most-Improved Team (Michigan Region Players)

Cetral Michigan's Zach Bachner and Joe Kobus cracked my list of 15 most-improved players in the state of Michigan.
Central Michigan’s Zach Bachner and Joe Kobus cracked my list of 15 most-improved players in the state of Michigan.

At the halfway point in the 2015-16 season I have unfortunately only had the opportunity to see a few out-of-state schools in action.  Due to this lack of knowledge on those teams I decided to keep my “most-improved team” comprised solely of players from the state of Michigan.  This list is not necessarily the top 15 players this year, or the most popular players in the state (in fact many of these players are not very well known at all), but more importantly, these are the 15 guys from the Michigan Region that have shown the most improvement over the last year in my opinion.  In alphabetical order, here is my state of Michigan “Most-Improved Team”: Continue reading “Most-Improved Team (Michigan Region Players)”

Sean Smith’s Way Too Early Predictions

Kevin Bailey and Jon Shaw have already given their takes on where they think each team belongs in the rankings for the 2015-16 season. While I have some similar views as to where some teams belong, I have some bold thoughts for what will come up this season.

Along with my “way too early” preseason rankings I will also give a ranking of where I expect each club to end up at the end of the season. Now obviously that is much too early, and there are a lot of factors that go into it, but I think I have a good idea of how next season will play out. I apologize for any misspelled names along the way

Note: If you have a ranking you’d like to post please get in contact with someone from the content team. We love getting more submissions and more activity from people around the league (Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois regions I’m looking at you). Continue reading “Sean Smith’s Way Too Early Predictions”