Sports Marketing: 6 Ways to Win Big with Custom Print

Marketing your sports programs comes down to one thing: You want to score. From school teams and intramurals to summer rec camps and community center activities, print has to be part of your game plan to celebrate the players and build the program. With custom banners, posters, lawn signs and more, Smartpress’ online printing services ensure your road to recognition lasts throughout the season.

Sports marketing banners

Hanging Banner: 13 oz. Scrim Vinyl Matte with Grommets, 48 x 24″

Custom hanging banners

Set Play #1:
Hanging Banners

Whether your team’s a top seed or closer to the sidelines, they deserve a full-color shout-out with custom Hanging Banners. Make your banner in durable vinyl or mesh with group photos, team rosters, mascots, lyrics to school songs or even rules of the gym. And with a variety of installation options like grommets, pole pockets, ball bungees and adhesives, banners can be displayed easily indoors or out.


Do your banner printing online in any size and show your school spirit and community pride on walls, around gyms, along fences and near entrances.

Marketing posters

Small Poster: 80# Coated Gloss White Cover with 3 mil Matte Laminate on both sides, 8.5 x 11″

Team posters

Large Poster: Poster Paper with Matte 3 mil laminate on front and gloss 3 mil laminate on back, 72.25 x 48″

Set Play #2:
Custom Posters

When advertising youth programs, training sessions and seasonal activities, you need a tactic that doesn’t quit at halftime. For showcasing team photos and schedules, our go-to shot-makers are Small Posters and Large Posters.


Kevin McClelland, founder of, offers his customers a custom poster featuring yoga poses. After seeing customers print and post up his training PDFs, McClelland “wanted to design something nicer for them that they could hang on their wall and help them meet their hockey training goals.”


Perfect for locker rooms and gym inspiration, McClelland said, “We took our favorite 10 poses for hockey players and created this poster so that players can refer to it and create their own yoga routines for their training sessions.”

You can make your own poster in custom sizes (Large Posters can be as expansive as 56-1/2″W x 150’L) and with protective UV coatings or Soft Touch laminate. You can even create training posters to chart progress or work on game plans with the Dry Erase laminate available on Large Posters.


And while his customers can head into overtime as they train, that wasn’t something McClelland had to do when working with Smartpress. “I was impressed by the print quality. Without putting [it] in a frame, it looks great on the wall,” McClelland said. “What impressed me most is the customer support and the turnaround time, from sending the design to having it arrive at your door.”

Recruiting booklets

Marketing booklet

Saddle Stitch Booklet: 80# Coated Matte White Cover with 100# Coated Matte White Text Interior Pages and Soft Touch Coating on cover, 8.5 x 11″

Set Play #3:
Saddle Stitch Booklets

From Cinderella stories to sure things, Saddle Stitch Booklets let you write your team’s narrative. With the saddle stitch binding, you can design up to 64 pages with program information, player profiles, season schedules, sponsorships and community center offerings. Custom book printing offers your choice of premium paper stocks for a look and feel that’s just right.


The University of Minnesota Morris’ Kari Adams used booklet printing for Cougar football recruitment guides. Featuring bright colors, action shots, roster and coaching staff information, plus program records and university stats, “a booklet like this is useful for giving prospective students an introduction and feel for Cougar football,” Adams said.

Since coaches hand them out to prospective students from Minnesota and around the country, “a saddle stitched booklet is a nice format that brings together a lot of information in one place [and] feels more substantial and important than a single sheet,” said Adams. “Plus, you can use the center spread like a poster!”


Having a teammate like Smartpress meant Adams didn’t have to jump through hoops. “It’s fantastic to be able to enter options in real time and [see] pricing changes for different quantities. Proofing is quick and easy,” she said, noting that you can “customize pieces to feel special and seem expensive, even when they’re very affordable.”


Hint: Use our Versions feature to design multiple booklets with varying content. As long as they’re the same size and have the same finish, you can design one saddle stitch book for the regular season and one for the playoffs, or one for fall sports and another for spring.

Custom yard signs

Yard Sign: Corrugated Plastic 4mm, Die Cut, 18 x 18″ with a 10 x 15″ H stake

Marketing yard signs

Set Play #4: Yard Signs

Support local teams from the comfort of your own home or throughout your town with custom Yard Signs. Durable and weather-resistant, they’re an easy way to give your community center advertising an assist, whether you’re holding tryouts, signing up youth league participants or promoting fundraisers for your school.


Available in a variety of common sizes, sports yard signs cheer on athletes and advertise teams in full-color that doesn’t fade in the sun. As a customer-focused online printer, Smartpress even offers H-stakes in multiple sizes so you can install and show your spirit in seconds.


Matt Maly, marketing and design director for the Mpls Lakers Youth Traveling Basketball Program, Inc., created custom signs that “develop a sense of program pride and community unity, since our program features youth athletes from across the entire city of Minneapolis.”

Maly’s sign strategy was to double-team his target audience with double-sided printing, maximizing on the program’s iconic logo. “One side of the sign serves as a quick drive-by visual. The other side is informational for pedestrians as they walk by with their dogs and kids,” he said.


And just like Maly’s round signs, you can make your own yard signs in custom sizes and shapes with digital laser cutting. Great for logos and ball shapes, it’s a feature you’ll want in your starting lineup.


“A big part of our growth comes from word of mouth from families who have valued our program, so it’s important for us to give [those] families materials to help them champion our program within their neighborhood,” said Maly.

Custom training cards

Collated Printing: C2S 14 pt with soft touch laminate on both sides and 1/4″ rounded corners, 3 x 5″

Training deck

Set Play #5:
Collated Printing

With Collated Printing in your playbook, it’ll be nothing but net as you design team trading cards, circuit and training cards, program information packets, even sports certificates for most improved, MVP and more.


Collated Printing is the playmaker that allows you to design multiple decks or packets with different content on each page and then print them in the right order. With the collating process, you’re not racing against the clock trying to compile each deck yourself – it’s all done for you.

McClelland created unique exercise cards for kids to stay active in a fun way. “I came up with the idea to introduce hockey-specific bodyweight exercises to younger kids who weren’t ready or old enough for our full training programs,” he said.


With different exercises and imagery on each card, Collated Printing was a winner. “We provided solo and partner games and workouts the hockey players can follow,” McClelland said, noting how durable the Soft Touch finish was. “For serious players, we provided workouts they can use and lay the cards out in order for visual reference.”

Promo items
School spirit merch

Before the Tip-off

Remember, you, your team and your community are all walking billboards for your school, programs and activity centers. Design your own spirit apparel, school merch and giveaway prizes with custom Promotional Products to spread the word.


Promote your team with hoodies and tees, add program logos to lanyards and bags and offer pens, keychains and hats at sign-up booths and fundraising tables. Our promo items can be totally customized to suit your team and community for marketing that takes the trophy.


Hint: Get more info about paper stocks and finishes for your sports marketing strategy:



Hanging Banner Design by Matt Chapman
Large Poster Design by Cambridge-Isanti Bluejacket Basketball
Small Poster Designs by
Saddle Stitch Booklet Design by Kari Adams, University of Minnesota Morris
Yard Sign Design by Matt Maly, Marketing Director of Mpls Lakers Youth Traveling Basketball Program
Collated Printing Design by
Promotional Items Design by Maranda Steinmetz Robey

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