Be sure to thank your local sponsors

Just one glance at a NASCAR race, and you can see the power of the almighty dollar for staffing a quality team, putting a powerful car on the track, and attracting a loyal fan base to wear your colors.

As the cars speed around the oval track in their brightly colored bodies, you get the feeling you are power shopping through a Super Walmart at 200 mph. In case you wanted to get something there overnight, there are advertisements for FedEx and UPS. If you need to build a house, there’s Home Depot and Lowe’s. Need to make a call — try the Verizon car.


After you polish off that Subway sub followed by a bag of M&M’s, you can always wash it down with Coca-Cola, or a Budweiser for those that prefer an adult beverage.

Without the millions of dollars that flow through the coffers of NASCAR from corporate sponsorships, the current expansion of the fastest growing spectator sport would be limping along at a snail’s pace. The sponsorship fees are between $5 and $ 35 million to get the primary spot on the car over the course of the NASCAR season, and even up to $2 million for a secondary spot on the front panel.

In return, the sponsors get dedicated fans wearing their hats and jackets, drinking their beverages from branded “huggies,” and driving their trucks and cars with bumper stickers and air fresheners with “24” or “8” hanging from the mirrors.

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship to say the least.

Corporations pay big money to get the naming rights to various parts of a sporting event from halftime free-throw competitions, to the seventh inning stretch at baseball games, all the way up to having their banner posted across the top of the stadium’s seats where they pay tens of millions of dollars for those rights.

The corporate sponsors that speckle the hoods of those NASCAR cars, or have stadiums named after them, get a great return for their money in terms of name recognition. The tens of thousands of fans that attend the events on “game day” and the millions more that watch those events on television and listen on the radio each week provide a ton of exposure that they otherwise wouldn’t have made during the same time span.

What about the countless number of sponsors throughout the county that quietly donate money to keep the community’s recreational sports programs afloat?

Certainly, much of the cost involved in running a youth program comes from the registration fees and fundraising activities that parents and players fork out in the way of cash and volunteer hours. There’s not a program out there that hasn’t had a raffle, basket bingo, golf tournament, car wash or have asked their members to sell some sort of candy or pizza kits.

But with the costs of uniforms, equipment, league and tournament fees, referee fees and travel and lodging ever increasing, the registration fees and fundraising activities aren’t always able to handle the financial pressure that youth programs now face.

That’s where the local business community steps in to provide much needed assistance and keep the youth programs flourishing. In exchange for their company name on a team’s jerseys, a listing in the game day program or to get a plaque for their wall with a picture of the team they sponsored, and sometimes without any noticeable return on their sponsorship investment, local businesses shell out significant amounts of donations to recreation councils and club sports.

In recreation council meetings throughout the county, behind the need for more quality fields (aka turf), the topic of sponsorship runs a close second on meeting agendas.

Sure, they may not carry the name recognition of a Target, Walmart, or Reese’s, but the C.J. Miller’s, Stambaughs, Finches, Wilhelms, Tevis Oil, Rafael’s, Johannsons, and Bowmans of Carroll County play an even more important role in the support of local sports without the financial return reaped by those national sponsors.

The financial contribution community businesses make to youth sports programs provides an invaluable experience for many young kids who through sports are able to do things that would otherwise not be available to them. The costs of participation are rising but the life experiences many of these kids get as a result are well worth the price of admission.

They don’t happen if it’s not for our local businesses stepping up to the plate.


We can’t provide them with the name recognition they get from stadium naming rights, but we can choose to patronize those businesses, showing the support that they provide to our youth sports programs.

Kathy Calvin, CEO and president of the United Nations Foundation once said, “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.”

Thanks to those local businesses who make a difference in our county’s youth sports programs every day.