Supporters of the Wellesley High School football and cheerleading programs are warning local businesses about an email marketing promotion they claim is both pricey and “misleading.”
Texas-based Boost Sports reached out to the Wellesley High Cheer Team about providing promotional items to support the squad, then approached local businesses, urging quick action in its pitch: “Spaces are going fast and it’s first come, first serve for exclusivity.”
But WHS Cheer coach Odessa Sanchez told us that the company promised sponsors more than it would be able to deliver and charged more than they told her they would (thousands instead of hundreds of dollars, for example). Sanchez says she has severed ties with the outfit and asked that refunds be made to organizations who felt they were misled. Sanchez said she also has passed along her correspondences with the business to Wellesley High’s administration (the Cheer Team doesn’t receive funds through the school system, so relies on grants from organizations like the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club and other money-raising efforts).
One “distraught” local business person contacted the Gridiron Club that supports WHS football after determining that a $2,500 sponsorship agreed to was misleading in that the marketing organization wasn’t really affiliated with the school or its football program, and that advertising promises such as a banner on the field, customized cups sold at the concession stand and name recognition at halftime of games couldn’t be delivered. “This is the second, long-time sponsor of the Gridiron Club that has approached us with serious concerns about being ‘scammed’ by this email,” the non-profit Gridiron Club wrote in a letter to Sanchez, as its members tried to clarify the situation. The Gridiron Club, whose fundraising is used to support an off-site football camp, team dinners and more, says at least four local businesses have signed on for the promotion.
Boost Sports (formerly Touchdown Sports) has garnered plenty of negative attention for its business practices, with State Police in New York even issuing an alert this week. A Boost Sports rep quickly responded to our inquiry about the Wellesley marketing program and wrote: “We are in contact with the administration at this point because there was an agreement made between our company and the cheer coach. The administration notified us that the cheer coach was not able to sign anything and are in the process of getting things sorted… Our legal department is reaching out to see what can be done to rectify the situation.”
Both the Cheer Team and Gridiron Club are spreading the word about the nature of this marketing campaign to help prevent more potential sponsors from signing on, as they seek to remain attractive programs for local businesses to support. You can help to support the third-year Cheer program later this month, as members will be seeking donations outside of Roche Bros. in Linden Square Aug. 19/20.