from Jeff Left, Creative Services Director at KFGO-AM/FM, Fargo, ND

One of the greatest sales opportunities in the year is the third quarter station sports package. I have given our sales team the following fall football and basketball idea bank. We seem to be effectively selling the season by lining up co-op funds and closing deals well in advance of the season. When slower stations visit the client in August, we'll have the lion's share of the budget. The best they can get is a small support schedule. If Creative Directors, producers, and salespeople reap the advantages of early selling with this kind of idea bank, they can fill a lot of future avails now and really concentrate on the first quarter early. It starts with an idea, and it ends with a great piece of audio. The idea is for sales to read this, pick an idea, and pitch a client. Then the creative team and the producers put it together. These ideas can be fun to produce, and all of them have great "theatre of the mind" potential.

Here's a brainstorming session for the upcoming football season: 1) Create a great ad for "quarterback" and "half-back" specials for clients. Buy one, get a quarter back, or 25% back. Create "full back" specials, too. "Buy one, get one free." 2) Fast food restaurants could do ten yards (ten visits with a punch card) and score a first down (free burger/drink/meal/etc.). 3) Off Sides: All your favorite side orders and appetizers are smartly priced. Siding companies are another potential tie-in. 4) There's great production and promotion value around team names. The Jets to reel in travel agencies. The Cowboys to sell boots and hats. The Giants for a big and tall shop. The 49ers with a jewelry store, or the Bucks with a dollar off. You can do the same for basketball teams as well. 5) The Instant Re-Pay: buy one get one free. 6) Try a "10 Yard Line Sale" with a fabric store. 7) Sell "team colors" and tag specials throughout the store with colored tags. 8) Intentional Grounding with a landscaping company.

For basketball: 1) The Personal Foul: Turn a foul into fowl and hook up with lunch or dinner specials with places serving chicken. Celebrate all week with pre-game and/or post-game specials. "Last week's game ticket can save you a lot of buck, buck, buck, buck, bucks!" Create a great spot or promo where you take a random caller and "call them for a personal fowl" and give away the prize. 2) Called for Traveling: Travel to X client for X savings game week or game day, or do hourly specials when you hear the whistle blown for "traveling." Work the whistle into the spot or promo and have listeners call in to win. A travel agency is a natural for an idea around this. 3) In The Paint: A well know basketball phrase we can turn into creative production for paint supply stores, crafts stores, or car auto body paint specials. 4) 1st Quarter: If the home team is winning at the end of the 1st quarter, it's 25% off red ticketed items in the stores, or a burger for a quarter after the game. 5) At the Half: Game day pizza with half price toppings. Half a sandwich and soup for X amount off. Half price specials on whatever. "It's half off at half time at so and so!" 6) The Home Quart Advantage: It's your choice of milk, oil, or any liquid on sale on game day.

Don't forget to factor in the game ticket. If you force the game ticket stub as the item that gets you the 30% off or whatever, you also increase the revenue at the gate and help out the team. The same goes for the stamp on the hand the night of the game.

These are just a few idea starters we can use to create fantastic production for a client to get them on the air for the first time, or get them to renew for the fall. And all of the sounds of the season are at our disposal in most any sound effects library, so we can easily create great sounding spots and promos.