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 club...so get to work and make your team awards banquet a fun, energized and enthusiastic event with these ideas.

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.

Basics done..now for the fun.. see below how we ran a FUNdraiser at our dinners, how we did favors for the players, a newpaper recap of the season and finally a shout out to our Booster club letting everyone know what we did to help our team!

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. We would include the information on the dinner invitation and give the parents a chance to either donate a raffle prize or a contribution that the club can use towards a raffle item.  We would easily earn $300 - $800 dollars, depending on the size of the dinner. Draw the raffle in between speeches and presentations to add some fun! Then your booster club can use this as seed money for next year!


Make Table Favors

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 our favorites was for the Field Hockey team awards 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. No baking moms in your booster club? Buy muffins or cookies and put them in a cellophane bag, tie with team colored ribbons and add the generic recipe below! Here is the free printable file of the recipe tags!

creative team spirit idea

Here was another we did for a basketball end of season banquet. We made photo collage mugs with season highlight pictures and filled them with candy. The kids and parents both enjoyed them and it made for a lasting memory of a great season. See how to make the photo mugs here.

team awards night gift idea

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. This is how we did it at our end of season team awards dinner.

A special gift to the team members


Another fun gift 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.


One Last Tip for your team awards dinner

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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