A sports program booklet is a fun way to provide information about a team, the season, and the sport for fans and can be customized for just about any sporting activity. But making a sports program may involve gathering and organizing a lot of information and the process can seem daunting. So we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you through the sports program book creation process that will work for any sport from badminton to volleyball and everything in between.
Know Your Audience
When you make a sports program booklet, it will be pored over by the athletes, family members, fans, and event attendees all looking for information about their interest in the team or event. Remember that when it comes to sports program printing, the fans and those who are buying the program are the target audience. So while including information about other sports or activities might fill up space, those using the program are not going to enjoy the content that is not specific to the event, team, or sport where they got the program. With this in mind, creating quality content for the program is easier.
Formatting a Sports Program Booklet
One of the considerations in sports program printing is to decide ahead of time what kind of binding will be used, since the binding type will determine the formatting of the book. One of the most common bindings used in sports program book creation is saddle-stitch binding. Perfect for presenting programs up to about 80 pages in length, saddle stitch binding is printed in increments of 4 pages to create the fold and staple binding. Formatting for this type of binding usually includes a little bit larger inside margins that face the stapled area.
Create Sports Program Booklet Content
A sports program booklet will have a standard set of content that is expected to be included.
1 Table of Contents: to point the way to each section quickly, like highly-used pages such as rosters and schedules
2 Team Roster: text-only or with a photo list of name, jersey, position
3 Team and Individual Photos: Varsity programs typically also include JV or Freshman team photos as well
4 Schedules: current season schedules and rosters usually are found in the very center of the program for instant access and sometimes past and future schedules or JV/Freshman schedules are also included
5 Coaching Staff: photographs and short bios of each coach with a focus on the head coach(es)
6 Booster Club: specifics on the group, leadership, and contribution to the team with or without photos
7 “Meet the Seniors”: dedicated section for each senior athlete including picture, future plans, and accomplishments on the team for any past seasons
8 Action Pictures: photography representative of the team during practices, games, or other team activities
9 Informational pages: content specific to the team, school, sport, or rules
10 Thank You pages: team, coach, or school thank you’s to parents or other volunteers that have helped out
11 Advertising: advertisements are either spread out through the program or in a special advertising section
Prioritize Excellent Photos
The most exciting part of the sports program book creation is gathering the pictures. Pictures in programs can include individual photos, team pictures, group or squad pictures, leadership teams, grade-level pictures, groups of qualifiers by event or level of qualification as well as coaches and all supporting groups like student athletic trainers and team managers. Action shots are always an exciting part of a program but since many programs are printed before the season begins, action shots may be comprised of practices or pre-season games or events. Advertisers may also want to use student-athletes in their advertising. So sometimes individuals or groups of athletes are asked to be included in pictures representative of a business as well, making the program even more of a souvenir for family and friends after the season is over.
Preparing pictures for a sports program book is only a challenge when low-quality photos are submitted by well-meaning family and friends. All pictures to be considered for sports program printing must be high resolution for them to print clearly and not be pixelated. Photos should be at least 300 dpi for clear printing in the sports program so make sure to communicate this requirement for any solicited photographs of players or participants. Home computer screens typically produce clear photos with 72-96 dpi, but only 300 dpi or higher will produce a crisp, clear photo in a sports program.
Sport Specific Content
If you create sports program book content specific to the activity, athletes, families, and spectators will enjoy the program even more. Since those buying or receiving the program are already fans of the activity, content that is directed at those who know about the sport or who want to know more about it will love personalized content. Additional content you can consider using in your sports program book creation process can be specific to the sport and may include:
- Baseball/Softball – player stats; other season information like “fall ball” that doesn’t happen during the current season; player or game highlights; schedule/opposing team information or field maps
- Basketball – player stats; past standout player or game highlights; history of the team, arena, or the mascot; cheerleaders or spirit squads
- Cheerleading – spotlight on team leadership positions; competition information and explanation; schedules for events/teams cheered at; introduction of choreography coaches
- Football – information about opposing teams and players; history of the team, the field, or the mascot; cheerleaders or spirit squads
- Martial Arts – explanation of events and scoring; history of the specific sport; team, local, and state records for each event
- Soccer – soccer match rules and explanation of penalties; field locations or information; explanation of post-season competition; spotlight on past program athletes who played soccer in college or beyond
- Swimming – qualifying times for championship meets; information about how preliminary/final meets are structured; team, pool, or meet records; spotlight on past program athletes who swam in college or beyond
- Tennis – match scoring explanations; court locations and information; individual and doubles explanations; spotlight on past program athletes who played tennis in college or beyond
- Track/Field – a brief explanation of different events; team, local, and state records for each event; track/field locations or information; explanation of championship meets; spotlight on past program athletes who competed in track/field in college or beyond
Are Advertisements Necessary?
Not all sports program printing involves advertising. But many support organizations like booster clubs use advertisements to raise money for the team so including advertising in a program is a great way to thank these sponsors or even completely fund the program itself. A dedicated advertiser area is always a good addition to a sports program and some organizers even provide a list of advertisers in the table of contents or back of the sports program to make fans aware of the local business’s support of the team.
Pulling it All Together: Publishing Your Sports Program Booklet
Just like any other big project, once the main pieces are organized and created, the final polishing stages are critical to its success. Taking a few final steps can make the difference between a good program and one that really impresses. If your sports program is a fundraiser, then making sure that it looks as clean and professional as possible can add to your team’s bottom line when fans see what an excellent program they are purchasing.
Consider the Cover
The front of the program should be a great representation of the team and sport. If you need help pulling the cover art together, ask a professional to help create a cover that will wow your organization.
Spell All Names Correctly
There is nothing worse than buying a sports team program for your athlete and finding out their name was misspelled. Check and double-check every single name for accuracy.
Review the Stats and Data
Putting together a sports program book is a big job and part of it involves presenting a lot of information in a small space. Having accurate data and stats is an important part of all sports so consider having a coach or someone closely connected to the sport review the draft of the program before it goes to print. Some statistics may have changed or a coach’s perspective on how they are presented may help out on the final draft of the program.
Find a Trustworthy Proofreader
It is always wise to have at least one other person look over your final draft before sending it off to be printed. Another set of eyes may catch a small error or have a suggestion to improve the program’s look before it is finalized.
Self-Publish Your Sports Program Book
Once your draft is polished and ready, it’s time to order your finished programs for you and your team to enjoy for years to come.