Teamwork is an important component to the Douglas County Amateur Baseball Assn. The same holds true when it comes to sponsorship.
With increasing costs to run DCABA, local sponsorship is an important part of helping the league to continue.
Sponsors get notice for their donation to DCABA with logos on the back of each team's uniform top, but sponsors don't find the recognition to be the reason they choose to give the $400 it takes to be a DCABA sponsor.
"They see sponsoring youth baseball as a way of really doing something nice for kids and helping league to continue to provide a competitive brand of baseball," said Patrick Mikesic, the DCABA board member in charge of fundraising.
"The advertising is minimal, but they get to help work with youth sports."
The money from businesses helps to curb league costs and keep playing baseball in Lawrence affordable for boys and girls.
Players now pay $80 to $100 to play DCABA ball, depending on the league. This year, players sold candy bars to help contribute to the league's bills. Player fees, money from fund-raising events and the money from sponsorships go into one pot that pays for all of the league operations, including field maintenance, paying umpires and equipment.
Each player receives a uniform top, pants, socks and a baseball hat. DCABA also provides equipment like batting helmets, balls and catchers' gear.
Some businesses sponsor multiple teams, like Dale Willey Automotive, which sponsors four teams.
This year, all 24 teams have sponsors from around the area. Most of the sponsors continue to renew from year to year, and the league usually fills the void of businesses that don't renew with two or three new sponsors each year.
Before the season started, board members Mikesic and Jim Taylor solicited local businesses.
Parents and relatives are a good source for sponsorship in DCABA. DCABA board member Bud Stagg not only helps coach a team in DCABA, but he also owns University Photography, which sponsors a team. Although Stagg sponsored a team in DCABA before he coached, he, like many league parents, liked to help the league thrive by sponsoring a team.
Sponsorship helps to continue to make DCABA stronger as well as saddle the costs for parents. When league numbers are up, more money comes in and the league is able to buy new equipment. However, slightly lower revenue this year than in previous years meant that teams needed to use a majority of the same equipment they used last year.
The number of teams can limit sponsorship in the traditional sense, but the league may seek other avenues to generate revenue in the future.
"If we had 48 sponsors then it would be easier, but we don't have that many teams," Mikesic said.
Mikesic sees the league expanding sponsorship in the future to possibly include banner advertisements at 4-H field or maybe even finding someone to pay to name the fields.
Even though the way DCABA drives money into the organization may see some changes in the upcoming years, it is clear that parents, businesses and players will continue to work as a team to carry on the DCABA tradition. Lawrence businesses see the rewards two-fold.
"Continuing to provide an ethical way of playing ball by sponsoring teams is better than any advertising value," Mikesic said.