Team Awards Dinner Ideas

How to plan a successful Sports Team Awards Banquet

sports award dinner ideas

 Planning the annual team awards dinner many times is the responsibility of the booster club, so booster club parents, here is an article for you! Sometimes it is a matter of team tradition as to where this end of season function is held. But of course.. it can also be a matter of available funds. All of the booster clubs I have been involved with, hold these sports team dinners out a catering hall venue. The kids are all spiffed up, the parents, the coaches and school administration are also in attendance. These should be fun and energized events but sadly I have been in attendance at some long, boring and tedious dinners. You do not want that reputation for your get to work and make your team awards banquet a fun, energized and enthusiastic event with these ideas.

How to begin planning your awards dinner.

how to plan a sports award dinner
  • Start planning your team banquet it way in advance. Get your date on the school calendar first so you don't run into a lot of conflicts.  
  • Make sure you are getting the most for your money. Also make sure your contact at the facility is someone you can work with. Watch to see how quickly they return emails and phone calls. Evaluate how flexible they will be in working with you. For example, most places will want a minimum head count guarantee at the time of booking, usually 80% of expected attendance. Tell them you can only guarantee 65-70% of the expected attendance. You do not want to put your organization into a situation where you are paying for people that do not attend. You will have to give the place a final head count a week in advance, but that should always be in excess of your original guarantee.
  • Negogiate a price per person that is reasonable.  You don't need shrimp cocktail appetizers. You want this event to be affordable for the parents to attend too.
  • Consider hosting it on school premises, if allowed.


planning a high school sports awards dinner
  • Make sure your menu has some diversity. Don't try to save money by offering only one selection. Check the price per head of a buffet, instead of table service. A buffet will offer more choices and may be less expensive. Just make sure your contact has a tested plan to get everyone up and back from the buffet table in a timely manner. You don't want a buffet set up that is single line, ask how they would set it up for a group of your size.
  •  Make sure they will accommodate any dietary restrictions that one of the athletes or their guests may need at no extra charge.

Add some FUNdraising

booster club awards night
  • Plan a raffle with some fun prizes and have them set up on tables as your guests arrive. Sell tickets and have bowls by each prize. The guests place tickets into the bowls for the prizes they would like to win. Since you will ask to have all the raffle items donated, this is a pure profit center for your club. I found over the years, it was a great success and we usually earned an additional $300 - $800 dollars, depending on the size of the dinner. Draw the raffle in between speeches and presentations to add some fun!
Here is a sample invitation to one of the dinners I ran and it explains the raffle, plus how to donate a prize.

Here is the donation list for one of the raffles. We placed them at all the tables to give credit to those who contributed and also let anyone who missed the items see what was available.

Make Table Favors

student athlete awards dinner ideas
  • While all the team members and especially the seniors receive some type of plaque or team gift, table favors can add a great deal to your team awards dinner. One of my favorites was our Field Hockey Dinner the year they won the County title. A group of the Moms baked mini pumpkin breads, wrapped and ribboned them and then added the most creative "recipe" for a title winning team. They made enough for each and every guest! It was a huge hit and very timely as our dinner fell the week before Thanksgiving. Here is the "Recipe" they added to their baked goods

  • Another fun table favor for our team awards dinners was the team "newspaper" that highlighted all the events from the season. We asked a couple of the moms to handle all the newspaper clippings on the team from the start of the season. Then another creative Mom scanned them and made them into a newspaper. We printed copies for all, rolled them, added some ribbon and put one at each place, along with the program for the evening. Here was the front cover of our "Gazette" table favor

A Special Gift For The Team Members

team awards dinner ideas

While plaques, trophies and team apparel are all great gifts, one of the favorites were the photo collage mugs we made for the seniors. We asked parents to email me us their best digital photos of the games and from there created a collage for each senior and put it into a mug. They were such a big hit at our team awards dinners, that we had other booster clubs calling asking us to help them make ones for their seniors. They are easy and inexpensive but a wonderful fun album of their final season.

Here's all the information you need to make these collage mugs for your team

What did the Booster Club Fund For The Team

team awards dinner ideas

In addition to the usual program outlining the team awards dinner itinerary, add a page that tells your guests what your organization accomplished for the team with the monies that were raised. This is great public relations for your club and even the kids are amazed at all that is given back to their sports team.

Here is a "Booster Club Funds At Work" from our team awards dinner

One Last Tip

Consider assigning seats at your team awards dinner. You can do the tables by team or by specific names. It is a bit more work, but actually assigned seats make most people feel more comfortable when they arrive. They don't have to go looking for a place to sit. Late arrivals can enter and find their seats without disruption.

team spirit ideas

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