“You Don’t Know Until You Try:” How Sponsorship Through Digital Concession Ordering Positively Impacts School Athletics

Alex Bialek


Athletics & Activities Director Tim Leach oversees all-things after school at Spotswood High School in Virginia. From directing football games and supporting the booster club to managing sponsor relationships, Leach’s responsibilities span both operations and finance.

“We’re in the business of making our jobs more efficient,” said Leach. “That includes the experience that parents have when they volunteer for our concessions, making sure the process is easy and organized.”

Since 2019, Spotswood has offered fans FanFood’s web-based ordering for concession pickup at events including football, basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. Instead of having to wait in a concession line to order, attendees simply scan a QR code, order & pay from their phone browser, and pick up their items at a designated spot. The experience is fast and completely contactless for parents, students and fans.

“Once people try FanFood, they realize how easy it is and go ‘man, this is awesome,’” said Leach. “I’ve tried many things for our school before, and FanFood has been really good for us.”

Activating sponsors at school events, digitally

Within FanFood, Spotswood High School is able to feature three of their local community sponsors, including a car dealership and two local restaurants. These valuable placements provide Leach and the booster clubs with a sound way to generate thousands of incremental dollars for Spotswood’s various programs, through FanFood.

“It’s great for our school’s sponsors because they get brand recognition and exposure at all of our events,” said Leach. “Any time an attendee scans the QR code or opens the app, they see the brand’s logos before placing their order.”

The FanFood sponsorship isn’t confined to the phone, either. Prominent FanFood signage throughout Spotswood’s various facilities, like their football venue and gymnasium, features the sponsor logos and messaging. For venues, way-finding elements can serve as effective sponsor placements associated with a mobile ordering service. Pictured below are seat back stickers and poster artwork, which Spotswood has placed throughout their athletic event facilities:

Spotswood High School Signage

In 2019, Spotswood’s dealership partner Bob Wade Subaru even worked directly with the FanFood team to execute geo-targeted social media advertising campaigns across Snapchat and Instagram for home football games.

The rise of cashless payment methods

Another benefit Spotswood enjoys from FanFood is meeting the shift of fewer and fewer attendees carrying physical cash at events than ever before.

“Before FanFood, we didn’t have credit card readers,” said Leach. “FanFood instantly made us more comfortable with cards. The platform makes it easy to manage refunds and disperse our payments following an event.”

As attendees worry less about having cash on game days (and more so about the ordering methods being contactless), Spotswood High School is set to accommodate these emerging guest tendencies at their concession stands. With FanFood, attendees have secure options of paying with either credit card, or through Apple Pay and Google Pay. Customers can even leave donations for the booster club by adding a custom tip.

“Like we’re seeing with parents, our students are even starting to move away from cash,” says Leach. “Parents can easily give their students $20 on Venmo or their student card, and use that for spending at the game.”

Backing up this trend, Gartner forecasts that by 2024, 80% of ordering and replenishment for most organizations will be touchless. Certainly, high schools like Spotswood and their concession stands are keeping up with such notable trends!

Tim’s advice for athletic directors

After school activities can require a tremendous amount of coordination. For Leach, it’s important that his booster club is able to help to a capacity, doing meaningful work to support Spotswood’s programs.

“My advice for athletic directors: make it easy to be a member of your booster board,” said Leach. “Boosters fund 50% of our total athletic costs for the year, so playing an active role in concessions operation as an AD is important – it shouldn’t be, ‘oh, concessions is the boosters sole responsibility.’ Often, for football, we’ll see more revenue come through concession sales than tickets.”

To manage FanFood, Leach has just one staff member dedicated to operating FanFood. This staff member is responsible for progressing orders through FanFood’s Manager Portal, and simply grabbing the items for pickup. This task takes the place of a traditional order-taker role, and allows for more orders to be fulfilled in less time, with less wait.

As the school year progresses, fans at Spotswood High School can continue to enjoy unmatched convenience in purchasing game day concessions with FanFood. For Leach, FanFood plays a central role in making the volunteer experience easier, minimizing concession lines, and supporting revenue growth that goes back to the school.

Did you know? FanFood’s digital sponsorship features have helped dozens of schools and event venues generate additional revenue. If you’re interested in FanFood’s mobile ordering program for your venue, or looking to generate additional sponsorship dollars, contact our team today!

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