Better Business Bureau warns of high school sports sponsorship scams
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah businesses are being targeted by a scam claiming to sell sponsorship deals for local high school sports teams.
The Better Business Bureau issued a warning Friday against a company called Sports Media Marketing that has reportedly cost local businesses anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars.
The BBB reports that the company sells sponsorships that would allow businesses to put their logos and names on t-shirts, banners and other items to be sold, displayed or distributed at local high school sporting events.
One business was offered a deal with American Fork High School, which was not aware of any such partnership and had not heard of Sports Media Marketing. When the owner reached out to the “marketing company,” they got no response.
“They’ll say they’ve been discussing with vice principal so and so, or that they just got off a conference call with the cheer coach,” the business owner said. “They sound convincing. They also claim the donation is tax-deductible, but none of the money is going to the school. When they charge you, each transaction is charged by a different company.”
Dozens of reviews on the company’s BBB page make similar complaints.
The BBB says the company is also connected to other different names with similar reviews: Boost Sports Integrative Media LLC, Touchdown Sports, All American Advertising and High School Sport Advertising. In total, they have reportedly scammed businesses out of $20,000.
The BBB gives the following tips on how to avoid similar advertising scams:
- Verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser.
- Contact the beneficiary of the fundraiser to ensure the advertising company is authorized to solicit on their behalf.
- Ask additional questions.
- When will the advertising be placed?
- When will it be available for the public to see?
- Will a copy of the advertisement be sent?
- Get everything in writing.
- Request all advertising propositions, charitable appeals, requests for business information and sales pitches of any type be made in writing.
- Avoid committing on the spot.
- Take down the name, phone number and address of the business or organization offering the ad space.
- Research the company.
- Avoid falling for high-pressure sales tactics or offers that are only good for a limited time in an attempt to get you to commit on the spot.