One Pass, All Games
The Apex High School Cougar Club in North Carolina has found great success selling sports passes for all of its home contests. With four levels of memberships from which to choose, students and fans alike can attend the programs' games for a fraction of the gate price. And the Cougar Club reaps the benefits, grossing about $80,000, including sponsorships.
By Bob Poliachik
Vice President of Family Memberships, Apex High School Cougar Club
Apex, North Carolina
Through the course of a typical year there are almost 100 varsity athletic events at Apex High School. If one person were to attend all events and pay gate prices, it would total almost $500! And that does not include any JV contests.
The Cougar Club All Sports Pass is a great bargain at $50 for an Individual, $150 for a Family (up to five people), $250 for a Benefactor, and $750 for a Gold Sponsor Membership. It's by far our most popular and lucrative fundraiser. One pass gets you into all home events, except several endowment games per year, which require everyone who wishes to attend to pay at the entrance. Tri-9 and State playoff games are also not covered by these passes.
An individual pass costs just 10 percent of what it would at the gate for an entire year. That's almost a no-brainer decision. And the family pass is even less than that. You get five passes for $150. Even if you just go to football games, which the majority of our fans do, it pays for itself. All you have to do is flash the card at the gate.
The Gold sponsors are mainly comprised of local companies loyal to the sports program. We have around 80 Gold sponsors this season, up from 72 a season ago.
Volunteers from the board are given the names of five local businesses - hopefully people they know - and ask them if they would like to sponsor. The personal, one to one contact helps. We have excellent community support.
We treat our Gold Sponsors like royalty, for obvious reasons. Their membership includes: All Sport passes for family members or five business passes; reserved parking pass for football games; sign on the Patron Board at the Cougar Stadium entrance; a 3' x 8' banner displayed at Cougar Stadium; Special Recognition Ceremony at Gold Cougar Patron Night; recognition at all home football games by PA announcer; half page ad in the AHS Sports Program; name on a banner in the AHS gymnasium lobby; and a link from our website's Gold Sponsors page to their business for the entire year. Typically we make around $75,000-$80,000 gross per year, including associated sponsorships, on the sports passes.
We order our sports passes for multiple years at once to save on the processing fee. Last time we ordered 4,400 cards, and we sell between 1,200 and 1,500 per year. We also like to keep some extras on hand just in case. The company we use (www.customplasticcard.com) changes the colors and background on the cards for each year and the number sequence would restart, so they can't be used for multiple people.
We have a Kick-Off Night in mid August every year where we sell the passes. We provide hot dogs to the folks and invite all of the coaches from all our teams for everyone to meet. This is usually done a couple weeks before school starts. It's just a great way to build community spirit and help our sports programs.