Better Business Bureau warns against continued false claims of school sports advertising
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Better Business Bureau recently issued another warning regarding a Fort Worth-based company, Sports Media, for its practices in claiming that their items will be displayed and distributed at local high school sports games.
In July 2019, the BBB had received 31 complaints and negative reviews about Sports Media, including an alleged loss of $20,000 from consumers and businesses.
“In the 12 months following, complaints and negative reviews have doubled, and the monetary loss has nearly quadrupled,” the BBB announced last week.
Sports media sells t-shirts, banners, and other spirit-themed items to businesses with the promise their items will be displayed and distributed at affiliated local high school sports games.
But the complaints state that Sports Media Marketing is not affiliated with any of the school districts they claim to represent, and businesses filing complaints state they were unable to reach anyone at Sports Media to receive a refund.
Last summer, Sports Media reps made their rounds in Copperas Cove, but their sales pitch didn’t sit right with at least one local business manager, Bobbie Russe, who manages Willow Creek Apartments.
Back then, Russe said she received a sample T-shirt in the mail along with a sales pitch from a Vicky Winston. The T-shirt sported a Bulldawg logo on the front and the Willow Creek Apartments logo on the back. But the Bulldawg logo is was wrong and the logo’s color a shade of bluish-purple, not blue.
Winston claimed to be affiliated with the team and that the advertising sales would benefit the students. The Sports Media rep promised that if the apartment complex purchased a spot on the T-shirt, that the shirts would be distributed at the football games this fall.
Russe called CCISD and confirmed the company had no agreement with CCISD whatsoever.
“Only CCISD booster clubs/schools/administration may use the CCISD district logo and/or Bulldawg logo for fundraising purposes. No other entities may sell items containing either of these logos,” confirmed Wendy Sledd, CCISD’s director of communications at that time. “Express written permission must be granted by CCISD before any clubs or organizations within the school district may use the district logo or Bulldawg logo.”
Since July 2019, the BBB has received 64 complaints and negative reviews from across the county who allege losses totaling nearly $80,000, after paying Sports Media for one of their “sponsorship” products and never received a response in return.
There are several other companies connected to Sports Media Marketing, named by the BBB to include Boost Sports Integrative Media LLC, Touchdown Sports, All American Advertising, and High School Sport Advertising.
The BBB gives tips on purchasing advertising from businesses to include:
• 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 on bbb.org. Avoid falling for high-pressure sales tactics or offers that are only good for a limited time to get you to commit on the spot.