We had a great conversation with one of the innovators in the sports sector and we have already published one part of that discussion. Here is now the second part of that. In this second part, we will get great revenue-generating ideas for sports teams. We will learn how to involve and engage your stakeholders, how to become more creative as a grassroots sports club, and then advice for sports employers, and much more.
To go back to the first part of the interview, click on the button below.
Engage your stakeholders in order to make a project from good to great
There are so many things we could ask you about, but one of all the projects you have been involved with happened this spring 2020. You helped the floorball club, IBK Dalen, to make one of the greatest floorball players ever, Niklas Jihde to do a comeback. Can you please tell us more about how that all started and how and why you did it?
Everything started with the Diabetes gala 2019, where Niklas Jihde’s brother Peter, auctioned Niklas for one day. IBK Dalen won that bid. Their club director and coach actually paid with their own money. I, myself had already started to help this club with other events. As soon as this happened it became an obvious project to do something with. We set up a strategy on how to make most out of this opportunity, with one of the greatest floorball players ever being with this club for one day.
The set up became more or less a copy of the one I did with Scottie Pippen. Niklas Jihde held a talk, he met the youth teams and took part in some practices and played one game with the senior team.
So, what happened when Jihde actually came to IBK Dalen?
Well, there was this energy in the atmosphere. Since he is a big role model for the players, he seemed to be powering up the team. Sure, he hadn’t played a real game during his past 10 years, but the original plan was to have him at one game. But in the early plans, we didn’t even know what team Dalen was going to go against for this date. However, the aim was to at least have him starting the first minute of a game.
During that gameday, I myself was there and you should have seen the audience, the sponsors, they were very excited about this game. They played against IBK Höllviken and let Jihde start the game. After his minute he was on the bench until the end of the game when he played some more minutes. He managed to make an assist and IBK Dalen won the game with 12-6. However, he wasn’t only sitting on the bench throughout most of the game, he also took part in an activity during the brake, where he and old legends of the club had a penalty shout out.
Looking back at this project, what are your reflections and lessons learned?
Well, you could notice from the players that they were thrilled and leveled up one level as the club director told me. I was also told that the players created this “Yes Sir” mentality when Jihde was around. Furthermore, we got a lot of money from this project, where we could give away a large amount to an orphanage in Umea, called The house of the heroes (it is a temporary home for families with children that has a long-term disease). In the end, the club made some revenue, they got good publicity and we could also give away money to an orphanage.
Watch the assist by Niklas Jidhe from the game here. From Expressen TV.
How can a local grassroots sports club get creative and increase their revenue?
You have been part of the world of sports for a long time, and you know how challenging it is for sports clubs to survive. Not only the challenge to make the economy work, but also to find new revenue streams. Can you perhaps give us another advice like the one with Niklas Jihde, how a small local club can become creative in their work with different revenue streams?
Take for example the football club, IFK Sundsvall that I am helping. This year is their 125th anniversary and they are playing in the fourth division. And considering these difficult times we got today with Covid-19, you have to not only think about the club, but you also need to be passionate about the club. There are for sure a lot of local entrepreneurs that would like to support the local club. As a club it is important to be there for everyone, open to both the kids as well as to the senior people. You have to think about how to reach out but in a smart way and think about all ages. For example, what about the senior people, how can we reach them? And how can we find a role for them in the club? Try to find collaborations with the local grocery stores, the coffee place, etc. And don’t be afraid to reach out and bring in old legendary players and icons from the sports club or from the area around. You have to ask and build collaborations.
Solidarity is important, now more than ever. A lot of people would like to support especially during times like this. I believe we all gotten time to think through what is happening and what will happen from now on. Let us all use this situation in a smart way. Reach out to those local entrepreneurs and dare to ask the question of how you all can help each other!
Live by your values
Think about the sports movement in Sweden, the more your local club can show and live by values, the better for everyone. Communication and engagement will become much better. Show that your club can take care of both the old ones but also the youth and show that the club is open to everyone, a club where everyone is welcome. I mean, even the small local club could open up their cafeteria and allow the older people in the area hanging out there (obviously after the Covid-19 situation). But you could also ask and allow the youth players to hang around the first team’s practices or games. This will send a message that the club can work as a meeting place for everyone.
How to communicate in grassroots sports
Those are some good advice about generating more revenue for sports teams. The question now is, how can those who are reading this communicate and reach out like you are mentioning? A lot of sports clubs barely have any time at all and therefore one challenge is to know where to start.
Start with reaching out to your network, to your social media followers, and via your club’s website. Try to reach out to the kids, the youth, parents, and grandparents, etc. Invite them to come to your sports facility and have a coffee break at the club. Either whenever during the day or during practices.
Then start with creating a marketing plan! For a Division 5 club it is enough to write down activities like “coffee break during practices”, meanwhile bigger clubs can run activities like we have seen during this pandemic, selling tickets to a game that never happened. And if you belong to a club in the middle of these two scenarios, you might be thinking about running a social media campaign with your sponsors. At a sports club you are all working with improving and staying in a good health, therefore show some good workouts and allow your sponsors to show those at their social media channels. The sponsors will be happy and proud to be a sponsor to you and you can get that good word of mouth out to potential members and fans.
The employer in sports
All sports clubs have a board to support. How can the club’s offices involve and also suggests their board about these different and creative plans?
Yes, it is the board that usually is the employer at sports clubs. But nonetheless, it is important that a board can give some space and freedom to the office. Don’t let the office only do those administrative tasks, also give them some space to be creative. Let hem think and plan new initiatives and plans like sponsor activities that can provide new revenues to the club.
In cases like small local clubs, they might need to get together with other sports clubs in the neighborhood. Try to create a collaborative and common project that everyone could gain from and potentially you could also fundraise from bigger companies to invest in this collaborative project. I mean, who doesn’t want to support a healthier future and brand your company as a strong community member?
Three advice on how to be productive working in sports
Lastly some additional advice to sports clubs in order to generate more revenue. What are your three most important advice to create time and space for development projects that can bring in new revenue streams?
1. Give the club office oxygen and allow them to think and make new projects.
2. Take a look from another perspective. Don’t think as we have always done. For me, I tried new ways of thinking and doing. I got Scottie Pippen from the US to Sweden, we sold doping tests and we got a motorsport athlete to the stadium. Try to think differently, dare to be creative. Selling that sponsor sign is good, but there are other ways too.
3. Try to look for opportunities.
Several revenue-generating ideas for sports teams
Thank you so much Anders. We highly appreciate this. A lot of great experiences that you have shared with us. To wrap up here is a summarized list of several great revenue-generating ideas for sports teams that Anders have shared:
- Bring over famous people to the stadium and bringing sponsors together to make it happen. And don’t be afraid to reach out and bring in old legendary players and icons from the sports club or from the area around. You have to ask and build collaborations.
- Think about how to reach out but in a smart way and think about all ages. Try to find collaborations with the local grocery stores, the coffee place, etc. Reach out to those local entrepreneurs and dare to ask the question of how you all can help each other!
- The small local club could open up their cafeteria and allow the older people in the area hanging out there (obviously after the Covid-19 situation).
- Ask and allow the youth players to hang around the first team’s practices or games. This will send a message that the club can work as a meeting place for everyone.
- Try to reach out to the kids, the youth, parents, and grandparents, etc. Invite them to come to your sports facility and have a coffee break at the club. Either whenever during the day or during practices. Start with reaching out to your network, to your social media followers, and via your club’s website.
- Sell tickets to a game that never happened.
- Run a social media campaign with your sponsors.
- Create a collaborative and common project that everyone could gain from and fundraise from bigger companies to invest in this collaborative project.
This is the end of part 2 of the interview with Anders. Do you want to go back to part 1? Click in the button below to get to part 1 – How to be innovative in a sports club.