Andrea Johnson 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Where to Turn for All of the Finest Sports-Merchandising Rewards with None of the Risk Do you want to be the first choice in attracting sports events to your community? Then you better pay close attention to how organizations, like the governing bodies and tournament directors, determine your worthiness. “These organizations grade a community on five basic points – what kind of fun things there are to do in town, their facilities, the accessibility of their location, the quality of their lodging, and finally, the merchandising related to the event they’re hosting,” explains Randy Sparks, president of Team IP. Team IP is the nation’s most innovative and responsive sports event merchandising organization, as evidenced by its ‘2009 Best of Business Award for Event Souvenir Merchandising’ by the Small Business Commerce Association – an award which is based purely on positive consumer feedback. Knowing the Market Here’s what’s exciting: Team IP can provide you absolutely everything to meet and exceed merchandising standards, with very little extra effort on your part, so you can focus your attention on all of the other factors that will ensure your community becomes a top sportsevent destination. You see, Sparks is extremely wellversed in what sports-events organizations, like the members of the National Association of Sports Commissions, care about most since he works hand in hand with their leaders in providing the merchandising for many of the events they organize. His business is an extension of a lifelong passion and involvement in sports, an abiding interest in why Americans are as passionate as he is about sports, and an impressive knowledge of how to translate that passion into incredible opportunities for increased revenue.“I grew up in Indiana, sleeping with a basketball when I was in kindergarten and later playing on championship teams in high school,” he confesses. “I understand the excitement of sports and especially the power of youth sports. It’s the fabric of our culture. That’s why, regardless of economic conditions, the kitchen tables of America continue to vote for sports by attending events, remaining involved, and buying t-shirts and novelties that recognize and support their kids.” Sparks began Team IP in 1992, then just a small printing operation, and leveraged his passion for sports into serving sports organizations by providing merchandising solutions they’ve never had access to before. They quickly came to appreciate his responsiveness, innovation and outstanding customer service. Word quickly spread, in fact, virtually all of his business has arrived word of mouth, and that’s something considering Team IP was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing, privately held companies in both 2007 and 2009. “I heard about the wonders of Team IP through my son, who is the director of the Sunshine State Games. I also heard about them from the president of the Florida Judo Association, the most successful Judo program we have in the nation. I figured if Team IP was giving them such great results, they were worth looking into,” says Jose Rodriguez, chief executive officer of USA Judo. “I’m very glad I did. They brought to the table a unique and important turnkey retail operation that we were lacking,” he continues. “When you’re hosting a sports event, the last thing you think about is retail, but when you do that, you’re missing impressive opportunities to attract more revenue and create more marketing buzz.“Before Team IP, our handling of merchandising would be hit-and-miss, and there was a lot of risk involved, we’d have to go find someone to design a shirt, print it, and hope it would sell. With team IP, there’s no risk, they handle all the details, provide a percentage of the sales, and all the monetary and marketing reward,” said Rodriguez. “Thanks to Team IP, our revenue stream around merchandise sales has increased significantly – it’s up at least 60 or 75 percent. Now we have a nice steady stream of income we can count on. Furthermore, awareness of our organization is building because more and more people are out there wearing shirts with our logo.” “Goodbye Risk, Hello Reward” Andy Dooley, commissioner for Piedmont ASA Softball in Virginia and the president of ASA Softball, appreciates Team IP’s partnership as well. “Team IP is very affordable and delivers exceptionally well every time. They produce the product I want and when the event is over, I don’t have inventory to worry about. They have excellent customer service and a top-notch professional presentation,” says Dooley. “Because of that, I have one less thing to worry about when I plan an event.” You’ll hear stories like this repeated by event organizers of all sizes across the nation. It helps that Team IP promises its customers a percentage of sales, all of the reward, without the risk of having to maintain inventory or eat the cost of items that don’t sell which is proclaimed in their new slogan, ‘Goodbye risk, Hello reward.’ They’re that confident about the quality and popularity of their merchandise, and their understanding of the marketplace, that Team IP eagerly puts its money where its mouth is. Team IP’s Unique Business Model Team IP’s business model is unique in that they have more than 250 independent contractors across the nation. They personally serve local communities and organizations and, as much as possible, leverage local businesses to buy and print products. “We stepped out of the printing industry a couple of years ago,” explains Randy. “Now, we manage the production process by using vendors in local communities to provide blank apparel and decorate it. We like keeping jobs within the region we’re serving, while providing leading-edge solutions that help take the community’s merchandising efforts to the next level.” This includes leveraging the internet and digital printing for oftentimes oneof- a-kind just-in-time service. “It used to be if you didn’t buy a shirt the day of the event, you were out of luck,” says Sparks. “Now, if you don’t pick up a shirt at the event, you can go online and order one off our website. It can be printed and shipped for a very reasonable cost. To the best of our knowledge, no other merchandiser can provide that kind of service.” Team IP customizes apparel to suit each event. Consider the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, home of the nation’s only one-class basketball tournament. More than 100,000 attend their Sweet 16 playoffs at Rupp Arena, and as the tournament progresses, Team IP provides shirts recognizing the top 16, then the final four, the two top teams, and ultimately the winning state champion. They print each version of the shirt as the tournament progresses from Thursday to Saturday night. Quality and Style of Apparel Not only has speed of production become amazingly fast, the quality of the apparel has improved significantly from the boxy t-shirts and ugly logos of yesteryear. Team IP has top-notch graphic artists on staff to create appealing designs that brand both the community and the event, and ensure the apparel is worn again and again. “We’ve taken old educational seals and created exciting logos that kids snap up,” says Sparks. “As a result, these organizations have seen retail sales increase two, even three times. If you want to increase revenue and solidify your brand, you’ve got to create an exciting, modern image, and that’s Team IP’s specialty. We pride ourselves in artwork and apparel that is the best in the industry.” Team IP diligently stays abreast of what the youth are wearing, keeping their finger on the pulse of the stores the youth in America frequent, paying close attention to the styles they’re wearing, and then making sure that these styles are represented in their offerings. Very soon Team IP will even have their own line of clothes, Dynasty Sportswear. “This will focus on fitted, ring-spun clothing that is a favorite in the marketplace today,” says Sparks. The result of being innovative, economical and stylish is always more revenue. “Since we brought Team IP on board, our merchandising revenues have tripled,” says Dr. Ennis Proctor, executive director for the Mississippi High School Activities Association and president of the National Federation of High Schools. “Team IP always does a great job anytime we’ve called on them. Any organization that wants to launch their merchandising to the next level so they can focus on making their events the very best should call Team IP first.” For more information about Team IP go to www.TeamIP.com
Published by Due North Consulting, Inc.. View All Articles.
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