High school sports has been a source of school and community pride throughout the state for more than a century.
The support, interest and pride in school sports is never greater than when a local school program qualifies for one of the 27 WIAA State Tournaments conducted each year.
The number of high school students participating in interscholastic activities nationally continues to increase, and an estimated 85,000-90,000 high school students in Wisconsin participate in interscholastic athletics each year.
The WIAA benefits greatly from its corporate partnerships. As a private, not-for-profit organization, the association receives no direct government subsidies from taxpayer dollars. A large majority of operating revenue is generated by tournament admissions. Sponsorships assist the WIAA in offsetting its administrative and its operational costs in directing high school sports, as well as conducting its ever-popular tournaments.
Member high schools also receive significant benefits through sponsorships with the WIAA. In addition to regulating the membership’s rules and regulations, and sponsoring tournaments, the WIAA assists member schools in subsidizing their travel and hosting expenses incurred during the tournaments, returning over $3 million to schools annually. Our corporate relationships help supplement ticket revenues that are, in turn, shared with local schools hosting WIAA events or those participating in the State Tournaments.
In an era where local school funding is continually scrutinized, interscholastic athletics remains one of the best bargains anywhere. At an average cost of one-to-three percent of an overall school’s budget, these programs teach lifelong lessons that complement the education provided in the traditional classroom setting while enriching the total high school experience.
By working closely with our member schools, the WIAA utilizes corporate partnerships to ultimately assist schools to maintain financially viable athletic programs. These programs are often life-changing activities for adolescents. They foster personal growth through discipline, relationships, commitment and hard work.
Each year the State Tournaments provide experiences for student-athletes, parents, schools and communities that are etched in their memories for a lifetime. We consider our corporate partnerships as investments in these life-enriching experiences.
Benefitting Our Partners
By supporting the efforts of the WIAA, corporate partners benefit from the immense popularity of the State Tournaments throughout each region of the state. State Tournament sponsors can benefit from a partnership and association with a respected and well-recognized organization.
Interscholastic athletics encompasses the entire state, from metropolitan and suburban areas to the rural landscape. The prominence of high school sports is supported by the significant coverage on television, radio, internet and in newspapers.
In addition, Wisconsin is engaged with high school sports. In a 2009 independent marketing research study in Wisconsin, high school sports ranked second only to the National Football League in terms of fan interest and popularity.
The attendance at WIAA Tournament events support that research. Spectator interest in high school sports and event attendance has remained relatively unchanged through the past decade, despite a challenging economic climate. WIAA Tournament Series events draw 1.2-1.3 million fans annually, including over 300,000 at State Tournaments.
The WIAA and perspective State Tournament partners share common demands from the general public and consumers: a high expectation for acting and operating in a socially responsible manner. The WIAA seeks sponsorship partners that embrace the integrity and beliefs conducive to appropriate promotion of the interscholastic marketing space.
That combined trust and consumer confidence leads to a more positive image of the WIAA and sponsorship partners, which will lead to greater brand loyalty and a greater likelihood to support a product or service that has a respected social benefit such as education-based athletics.
Marketing research also indicates that fans attending high school sporting events nationally have a 91 percent likelihood of having two or more children aged 12-17 years old and 64 percent is aged 18-49, an attractive segment of the population for sponsors.
Sponsors and advertisers have historically desired to get their brand exposed to the large, passionate demographic of sports fans. The WIAA now provides access to a large high school audience of loyal fans, families, schools and communities.