TITLE OF LESSON OR IDEA:  Chess League Funding

NAME: Robert C. Ferguson, Jr.

SCHOOL: Bradford Area School District

CITY/STATE:  Bradford, PA

E-MAIL:  [email protected]

KEY WORDS:  league, funding, sponsors, team

GRADE RANGE:  All (K-12)

SHORT 1-2 SENTENCE INTRODUCTION: This is a simple solution for covering the costs of starting and maintaining a chess league.

MATERIALS NEEDED: Parents to make phone calls

STEP- BY- STEP METHODOLOGY (200-500 WORDS, simple enough that a teacher could print it out and follow it on his/her own):  If you wish to create a chess league, I suggest that you find a few parents to contact local businesses for $50-100 each to help with funding.  In return you can name your teams after the businesses and provide the match results to the area newspaper(s) on a regular basis.  This provides very inexpensive advertising for each of the sponsors.  It has worked very well for baseball and soccer for years, and we have been using this idea very successfully in the chess programs we’ve started over the past decade.  If you have 40 students participating, you could form 2-person teams.  With 20 teams at $50 per sponsor, you can quickly raise $1,000 to help fund your project.  By contacting your local pizza parlor and trophy shop, you may be able to get free pizza for a party and reduced prices for your trophies by naming a team after each of them.  We usually invite sponsors to attend the year-end pizza party and give the winning team a rotating trophy that is displayed at the local business for the year.  To save money, you could award kids medallions rather than trophies.  Of course, you might also wish to charge a fee to each student.  If you run the program at a school, contact the PTO for financial support.  I have made several presentations about the educational benefits of chess to PTOs with great success.  Some have even paid for lessons by chess masters.

The following is a sample of the log we maintain from year to year, so that the information can easily be emailed to the person in charge of contacting the area businesses.

Chess League Sponsors 2000-2001

Division I—Varsity





Web page

Dr. Gonzalez

181 Interstate Pkwy


Dr. Luis Gonzalez


KOA Speer Electronics

Bolivar Drive


Roxanne Gould



14 Davis Street




Smith's Awards

443 E. Main St.


Mike Smith


Tasta Pizza

508 E. Main St.





200 W. Washington St.




Domino's Pizza

30 Bolivar Drive




Dexter's Service Center

156 W. Washington Street


Al Dexter


Hamlin Bank

East Main Street





16 Congress Street


Janet Kassir


Gravitz Associates

11 Chestnut Street


Joel Gravitz


Zippo 33 Barbour Street 368-2700 Mike Schuler  


You will notice that we ask for the businesses' URLs.  We include the company name, phone number, and URL on our website and on the cover of the binders that we give to all the participating students.  Our league usually runs about 15 weeks, which means the area businesses that sponsor teams will see their names in the paper about 17 times over the course of our chess season.  The initial pre-season release mentions the sponsors of the league, and the final media release includes photos of the sponsors receiving the rotating trophies.  We provide a trophy to the first place team in both the varsity and junior varsity section and invite them to our year-end pizza party.  For $50 (or whatever fee you decide on), sponsors receive:

P    17 weeks of advertising in the local newspapers & mention on radio station

P    A year-long post of their sponsorship on the website (Websites are available free)

P    A full season ad placed prominently on the cover of the students’ binders


How much would a business have to pay for that advertising?

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