tshirt design

Creating The Perfect Sports Swag for Your Clients’ Next Event

tshirt design

Having a client in the sports industry provides endless opportunities for promotional marketing. Whether it’s a golf event for charity or a club team basketball game, each has its own unique audience.

If your client wants to hand out promotional swag at their next sporting event, it’s essential to understand what that audience wants and needs. Here’s how to market to those desires through on-brand swag that promote your client’s brand and creates a lasting impact.

Choosing The Right Swag

When deciding which type of materials will be best for your client’s sporting event, consider the audience of that event. A men’s basketball event likely has many millennials in the audience whereas a golfing event is more likely to have members of the entire family present, including children and older generations.

That’s why in order to have a powerful impact, branded items need to be carefully targeted to the right audience, Tim Donnelly at Inc. writes. A brand also might benefit from testing out a new promotional product that differs from what they’ve offered in the past. If they typically hand out water bottles, for example, offering a patch or a t-shirt might help attract some attention.

Informz adds that changing promotional materials also helps promote a company’s agility. Being agile helps a company adapt to the changing tastes of its audience, which can improve its overall success rate.

promotional shirt


T-Shirts are a popular form of promotional marketing that sports fans never tire of. When you’re helping a client choose a promotional tee, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

First of all, it’s important to discuss the brand’s desired goals:

  • Who is the target audience for the promotion?
  • What is the intended impact on the brand?
  • How will these goals be measured?

Minuteman Press explains that all of these factors need to be considered before jumping into a design. This helps you present the brand with tangible results later on, further increasing the chances that customers become repeat customers.

On that note, brand promotion should always be the a key goal of a promotional T-shirt design. Talkroute explains how tees are great conversation starters, especially when labeled with a company’s brand name. This prompts people to ask the wearer about the brand, which usually ensures in a brief elevator pitch about your company and what it does. The result? Free peer-to-peer marketing amongst curious, like-minded consumers.

Once you’ve established the goal, it’s important to create a design that’s on-brand. If it doesn’t include a company’s logo, slogan or other brand elements, it won’t serve its purpose as a promotional item.

According to Printsome, it’s important to sit down with a company and discuss their brand and style guidelines. By reviewing fonts, colors and logo specifications, you’ll ensure that the tee effectively communicates the brand’s values. The design should also be scaled to size, so it’ll look balanced when worn on someone’s body. Alex Bigman explains that properly weighted design elements help a T-shirt design become more flattering, which in turn increases the changes it’ll be loved and worn often by the owner.

Size and Style

Sizing is another important consideration, especially when marketing to millennials.

Kristin Sundin Brandt of Sundin Associates explains that promotional shirts need to appeal to both genders. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, offering tees in a women’s fit increases the chances that women will actually wear the shirt (and therefore promote your brand). This ensures that your brand is accurately represented by a broader pool of people, making the promotion more universally appealing.

If your client wants to go above and beyond the average T-shirt, consider hoodies, tank tops and other apparel. Amber Lee at Bleacher Report gives the example of a Dodgers hoodie being a great freebie. Since official sports gear is typically expensive, this giveaway had fans jumping for joy. If your client happens to be the sports team itself, work with the team to create branded items that look and feel like official team uniforms.


Sports Patches

Similar to T-shirts, patches are a powerful way to promote a company or brand.

Advertising patches are becoming more common on major leagues sports jerseys, which boosts their popularity among fans and everyday consumers. Specifically, it’s becoming a popular advertising method for NBA teams. According to Will Jarvis at Ad Age, the NBA has always been ahead of other sports in terms of branding, and its longstanding history and global fame has helped it become a leader in sports branding.

Business Insider sports editor Cork Gaines explains another reason that the custom woven patches trend is gaining momentum so fast. Gaines says advertising patches promote actual business partnerships that a team and the business are proud of. Pairing the patch with the team brand on a jersey shows the bond that these two businesses have, mutually benefiting them both. One team, Utah Jazz, uses the advertising space to promote a charity, which helps reflect its values as a team.  

Patches in Action

Sportswriter Jimmy Carlton tells the success of another team, the Milwaukee Bucks, sponsored by Harley-Davidson. The iconic patch is placed opposite the Nike logo on the jersey, effectively becoming part of the uniform itself. Sean Cummings, Harley-Davidson’s senior vice president of global demand, calls the sponsorship a perfect fit, because the brands complement each other and says that “the crossover appeal can grow both fan bases.”

Looking at trends on the major leagues level can help you think about what type of swag might be popular at club, college or charity sporting events. Think about how popular teams wear advertising patches and how they market those through swag.

In addition to wearing patches on jerseys, many sports players and fans wear patches on plain ball caps. Golf Digest’s Ashley Mayo writes about official U.S. Open hats that featured a branded patch decal. Since this is a trend happening at one of the largest professional golfing events, it will probably be relevant at lower levels of the sport, too.

When you give away patches at an event, you can feature a patch on a baseball cap as an example of how it can be worn. This adds a usefulness to what your client is giving away and makes it more appealing. If your client has more than one sporting event, creating a promotional calendar can create excitement and energy around your team’s giveaway. Matt Snyder at CBS Sports explains that many teams get creative with their promotional calendars, which helps them stand out amongst other teams. When your client’s giveaways go beyond the predictable, they will been seen to set the bar and and stand out above the competition.

Images by: Alterio Felines, Pexels

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