Are Your Ballboys/Ballgirls Marketable?

Has your brand ever considered sponsoring/leveraging an organization's ballboys/ballgirls? Has your organization ever considered ways to take advantage of their presence at the playing level?

Are ballboys and ball girls marketable? Yes. Gatorade's recent viral stunt (or attempted viral stunt) proved this by attracting 1.5MM+ views of a clip online that showed a minor league baseball team's ball girl making an incredible catch. The fake clip, which only subtly featured Gatorade's product, captured the interests of consumers around the world... but why? Because it was unique... something that consumers had never seen before. Check out the clip below:

Believe it or not, there is some real equity in ball girls and ball boys. Most inventory at the performance level is either priced too high or deemed very scarce - as a result, more sponsors and teams should consider new ways to leverage these individuals. In sports like rugby and soccer, ballboys often receive significant exposure on the video board. Complement this exposure for sponsors with program advertisements, tickets and hospitality, PA Announcements, and unique experiences (photograph with the team coach and ballboys on the field)

For the right brand (e.g. Gatorade in this case, targeting a young demographic of drinkers), sponsoring ball boys can potentially pay true dividends. If you are looking to derive true value, consider ways to separate them from the rest of the pack (e.g. unique talents, ways to align with your brand). At the very least, they can provide some true entertainment value at a very minimal cost (if not free).

Who is currently investing time and resources into ballboys/ballgirls?

  • Bing Lee, New South Wales' largest privately owned electrical retailer, partnered with the Canberra Raiders to sponsor their Ball Boys with a sponsorship deal that offered branding on the Ballboy uniforms, promotional involvement, and signage at all Canberra Raiders (Australian professional rugby team) home games during the season.
  • Livingston FC, the University of Houston, and the University of Niagara all offer ballboy sponsorship packages 

What are some good opportunities for companies to sponsor ballboys?

  • Sponsoring ballboys could be an interesting play for a company like Apple, who could outfit ballboys (e.g. baseball) with iPod's and potentially receive some nice media coverage/buzz from a minimal investment
  • Retailers looking to implement a unique promotional/couponing strategy can utilize ballboys to throw balls into the crowd during innings/timeouts that contain gift cards, project starters, and/or coupons for discounts on products
  • Apparel companies (sell exclusive apparel deals to apparel makers) 
  • Potentially align with the Boys & Girls Club / United Way, etc. to offer up ballboy/ballgirl opportunities to underprivileged children in the local marketplace
  • Performance Drink Companies (e.g. Gatorade, VitaminWater, Powerade, etc.)

The two (2) videos enclosed below demonstrate some ways that ball boys have gotten the attention of consumers in recent months. From special dribbling talents to a sense of "toughness", the actions of ball boys across the globe have made the headlines: