Plan Early To Save Time & Money
When organizing an AYSO tournament, ordering merchandise is one of the fun chores you'll tackle. You can save yourself time and money by having your tournament logo ready in advance. Jack Keating, of Sport Pins International (SPI), has been an AYSO volunteer since 1978 as a coach, referee and administrator, and is now a National Referee Assessor for Section 1 (Southern California). Through his experience working with SPI and in organizing tournaments, he has learned that above all, the logo you choose is powerful in promoting your tournament and your Region.
"It's a great way for a Region to get its own identification. They do a tournament, they want to get recognized for that," says Keating.
He suggests choosing a logo that is representative of your Region. Use landmarks, themes and location names to help identify you. Keating cautions against the temptation to use stock (non-customized) items for your tournament.
"When the people who come to compete in that tournament have the medallion in their hand, they should think, 'Oh, I got this at so-and-so,'" he says.
And don't forget to include the traditional AYSO logo as part of your tournament logo. It celebrates that this is an AYSO event!
Four Smart Tips For Success With Tournament Merchandise
Get your logo formalized early. Most vendors require that an order be placed at least four weeks in advance. By having your logo ready and a die cast (this is the pattern that will be used to make pins and medals) in advance, you save yourself a week lead time. Also, if the tournament falls through, at worst, you're only out the cost of the die.
For large tournaments, have two logos in mind. One logo can be used for the "give-away" items like participation pins while the second logo can be used for sale items like t-shirts and hats. Keating recommends this for tournaments with more than 90 teams because of the expense related to ordering items with separate logos.
You only need two items. For Regions that have tight budgets, you really only need to order participation items - a lapel pin is an inexpensive option - and placement medals.
Keep the costs down by keeping the same logo. Choose a design that represents your Region, but does not contain a date. Once a die is created, it can't be changed, but you can alter the colors. You can save money by using the same die each year. For medals, an engraving-like stamp can be placed on the backside with the tournament date and any other phrase, like "Good Sportsmanship," at little or no extra cost.