We know the term “Competitive Balance” is prone to elicit an emotional response in Ohio! However, Ohio schools have truly been playing on an uneven field for years when it comes to team uniforms, practice and coach apparel, fanwear and equipment. In fact, many schools don’t realize the magnitude of the situation. Sure, it might be easy to look at your budget to know how much your school or district spends annually on team uniforms and certain equipment, but do you really know how much is being spent inclusive of parent and booster club spending on items such as player and spirit packs?

We estimate many school communities are spending upwards of $150,000-$200,000 annually. Some of the biggest are spending $200,000+, and even the smallest schools are probably spending $50,000+. For that level of spend, how much are you getting back or saving? For all that money being spent by your parents, are you seeing any economic reward? As the gatekeeper to the entire community, the Athletic Department can generally dictate the items being sold into its own community. For that reason alone, the school should be able to demand its rightful seat at the table of benefits!

A funny thing has happened over the years. A very big company (let’s call it HUGECo.) has moved in and taken over distribution of the top two selling brands in many parts of the state. Imagine a single Ford and Chevy dealership group in Ohio. How would that bode for the pick-up truck buyers? For all the AD’s that taught Econ 101 it’s quite simple, lack of competition will leave the customer crying!

Over that same timeframe, another funny thing has happened. The perception has been created that only 2 (maybe 3) brands are good enough for your varsity teams. As coincidence has it, those brands (let’s call them brand #1 and brand #2) are only available at HUGECo! This doesn’t make any sense…wow….this seems like some kind of sinister plot! Although a single dealership across an entire state might make Henry Ford happy, the consumer public was fortunate that multitudes of other terrific cars and trucks were innovated and created. Thank goodness.

Here is a bit of truth. There are plenty of other great brand options out there beyond brand #1 thru #3. In fact, there are many better options available, especially for schools. There are brands with more design options, more fabric choices, better replacement options, better lead times, better school-first branding and much better prices. Some more truth: brands #1-#3 are oftentimes made in the same factories with the same workers and same fabrics as brands #4-#100!

Here is another truth: there is another model making waves in Ohio. It’s not a traditional dealer-school model. It’s not a price-gauging model and its not a monopoly. It’s a partnership model called All Access from DistrictWON.

It’s made for schools. It shares with schools. It recognizes that schools are in control of their own market, and rewards each and every decision. It can change the economics of the Athletic Department.

About the Author

Peter Fitzpatrick is the CEO of DistrictWON.  He pioneered brand exposure into the scholastic market as a co-Founder of Home Team Marketing. His relentless approach enabled the company to grow into a national footprint encompassing thousands of high schools.