Sponsorships are already common in club, college and professional sports. Are they soon to become popular in high schools, too?
For years, schools have faced budget cuts that have resulted in fewer allocated dollars to after school programs, including athletics. This decrease in available funding has forced some schools to cancel athletic teams or adjust the number of sports that are offered. While booster clubs have tried to provide more funding they face an uphill battle.
What is so nice about corporate sponsorships is that the school and the organization form a relationship that is mutually beneficial: the school receives much needed income to offset the cost of their offerings, and the organization becomes a prominent, proud supporter. Like any sponsorship, it is only effective if the organization can leverage its affiliation through activating the sponsorship via marketing efforts, promotions and affiliating with the school. In this way, they have a vested interest in remaining engaged with the schools.
The downside of sponsorships is what this article points out, the increase in corporate money flowing into the school can have the appearance of conflict of interest. Another concern I have heard based on conversations with athletic directors is the impact on Title IX. Schools have to be careful with accepting money directly that goes toward one sport. If money is only coming in for sponsorship of the football team, for instance, that can be a problem.
In today's day and age of decreased funding to schools, I think more and more high schools are going to look at building relationships with the local businesses for additional revenue through sponsorships. As long as the schools are careful who and how they choose to allow sponsors, they can put themselves in strong position to bolster their athletic budgets to provide the best opportunities for the students.
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