|Sponsorship of a team by individuals and organizations is an accepted practice that can reduce costs to players as well as promote the sponsors. Many teams and hockey associations have established rewarding relationship with sponsors that have benefited both.
The recognition of sponsors and their help can be shown through advertisements in team publications as well as through the use of lettering and logos on team uniforms and by other means.
Suggested Guidelines and Limitations
While USA Hockey has not established printed guidelines related to team sponsors, High School Section Representatives' experiences have provided suggested limitations that should serve to protect the interests and identity of high school teams as well as the sponsoring individual or organization. The point to allowing a sponsor's identifying logo or name on a uniform should be simply to recognize a sponsor's help to the team. Effort should be made to avoid multiple sponsorship identifications on uniforms when the total affect detracts from the team's identity or the players' identifying numbers.
a. Tobacco, alcoholic beverages, and other regulated commercial endeavors aimed at adults and prohibited for consumption or use by high school youth are neither appropriate nor acceptable.
b. The most prominent feature on the front of the jersey should be the team name / school / logo.
c. The most prominent feature on the back of the jersey should be the player's number. If lettering appears above the number on the back, it should be either the player's or team's name.
d. The most prominent feature on the sleeve of the jersey should be the player's number. A Sponsor's logo (in the form of a patch with no dimension larger than 4 inches) would be appropriate on the player's jersey sleeve with, for examples, the lower edge of the patch located 3 inches above the cuff or on one shoulder.
e. A Sponsor's Name would also be appropriate in block letters on the back bottom of the jersey in a band about 2" high. If used, the name should be in one color which does not conflict with the team's jersey colors.
f. The bottom line for sponsor identification on high school team uniforms should be that a casual observer of the uniform would not be lead to believe that the team represents, is managed by, or belongs to the sponsor unless the sponsor is the high school represented by the team.
Reporting of Funds
The acceptance by a team of a sponsor's help carries with it an obligation by the team to comply with local, state, and federal tax laws, regulations, and income reporting requirements. The taxing authority, the size of the funding, the tax status of the team's organization, and other factors will determine whether the sponsorship must be reported, and if so, how, and when.
Team organizations should be aware that sponsors may well want to charge off a sponsorship as a charitable contribution and should ensure that sponsors are made aware of the team's not-for-profit status before the sponsorship is arranged so that the sponsor is not misled into thinking that a sponsorship is a charitable contribution if it is not.