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The swoosh benefits one local school

Local schools seek sponsorships to defray the costs of their sports

Posted: August 12, 2009 9:48 p.m.
Updated: August 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
High school sports have become big business – but there are ways for the schools to use it to their advantage.

Major sporting goods companies such as Nike and Adidas have sponsorships available, which provide athletic apparel to organizations that qualify.

Golden Valley High School is one such organization.

“It’s been awesome for us,” says Golden Valley co-athletic director Chris Printz, who helped orchestrate a Nike sponsorship through a contact with the company. “Given the rising costs of athletics, we’re able to do so much with reducing the cost of high school sports for student-athletes.”

Nike has an application process for securing sponsorships, which can be accessed through Nikebiz.com.

According to a preliminary questionnaire, the company will not provide sponsorships for individuals or individual sports teams, nor will it provide them for groups affiliated with the church, state or other for-profit ventures.

Adidas requires interested parties to send proposals to its sports marketing offices, promising that a representative will then contact the party about the proposal.

This past school year was Golden Valley’s first under Nike, and it is the only Foothill League school with a Nike sponsorship.    

None of the other Foothill League schools have full sponsorships with a sporting goods company.

The deal helps Golden Valley save money by providing the normal practice apparel that is given out to athletes in each sport.

Collectively known as “spirit packs,” the apparel typically bears the name of the school and the individual sport. But thanks to the sponsorship, Golden Valley’s spirit packs are different.

“What we’re able to do because of our sponsorship is instead of each individual sport, it’ll say, ‘Golden Valley athletics,’” Printz says. “Nike allows us to do that at a very nice discount. It allows us to fund different sports.”

The sponsorship reduces the cost of playing multiple sports, which Printz says was a catalyst behind the move.

“We want as many multi-sport athletes as possible,” he says, “and I think that’s something that’s been lost in this scholarship push over the last 10 years. Kids think they have to specialize, and I believe there are a lot of kids who don’t go out or participate in as many sports simply because of the cost.

“We’re trying to use the business of athletics to provide more opportunities for student-athletes.”

As much as sponsorships can benefit schools, the deal is hardly selfless on the part of the sporting goods company.

Ever since 2004, Nike has sponsored a national cross country meet after the high school season.

Known as the Nike Cross Nationals, it serves as a de facto national championship meet, and the Saugus girls team has finished second the last two years.

For its efforts in 2007, Saugus was rewarded with 25 uniforms and warm-ups produced by Nike for the next season.

The company didn’t offer the same prize in 2008 because of employee cutbacks.

“We just used them as varsity uniforms,” says Saugus head coach Rene Paragas. “But it was kind of nice to get those free uniforms if you’re on the varsity team.”

The Saugus cross country team gets its apparel from Venue Sports, which is based in California and sells track and cross country products.

Most of the teams in the Foothill League work with more localized sporting goods companies. West Ranch athletic director Dody Garcia says that companies such as Easton and Buddy’s All-Stars supply certain Wildcat teams with apparel and equipment.

No other school currently has a sponsorship, although Canyon High assistant principal Pete Getz says the school is looking at pursuing one in the future.

Like the other schools, Canyon’s teams do independent fundraising to earn most of the money for their apparel.

But Getz says a sponsorship will make things easier.

“The local companies are generous in what they do, but with the way the economic climate is, I don’t think it’s conducive to donating right now,” he says. “We’re trying to get a sponsorship for the school as one instead of having all these fragmented things going on.”

If Canyon succeeds, the sponsorship would help cut costs for the athletic program.

And of course, it wouldn’t hurt the name recognition of the company providing it.

“Anything that a Golden Valley athlete is going to be outfitted in is going to be Nike,” Printz says. “If there is a successful program, Nike will be the emblem out there. They profit, and we profit from the huge discount. I think it’s very, very mutually beneficial.”

To learn more about sponsorships from Nike, go to www.nikebiz.com, click on the “Nike Responsibility” tab on the left, then “Nike Giving Guidelines,” and then click on “US Nike Donation Application” on the right.

For those interested in an Adidas sponsorship, proposals should be sent to: Adidas America, 5055 N Greeley Ave., Portland, OR 97217.

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