Sublimation: Cheers For Team Cheer

  Trisha & Larry Lambert own Millenium Art, Inc. located in Louisville, Kentucky. For more than a decade, Millenium Art has specialized in sublimated awards and gifts. You can reach the Lamberts at

Have you considered marketing your sublimation products to traditional sideline cheerleaders or competitive team cheerleaders?

Cheerleading has quickly become a fast-growing market for the personalized gift and recognition market. Cheerleading has evolved from traditional sideline cheer squads that support the local basketball and football teams to include competitive team cheer squads. Competitive cheer squads differ from traditional cheerleaders because they compete against other cheer squads for local, state and national recognition.

Anytime you get a group of young, energetic people together, you can easily imagine that they have a lot to shout about! What they are shouting about is that cheerleading is not just something cute; cheerleading is uniquely American and is an industry filled with enthusiasm. These young athletes attend summer training camps and programs, and spend a lot of time in the gym perfecting their skills.

If you are unfamiliar with competitive cheer teams, read on. Team cheer is a demanding sport that includes gymnastics, tumbling and dance elements. These teams are formed only to compete against other cheer squads. Cheer teams usually have anywhere from 12 to 20 members. They perform a routine for a group of judges. Scoring is based upon performance in three categories: tumbling and jumps; building skills (support for stunts); and dance. Team cheer is practiced at high schools and gymnastic studios across the nation.

Traditional sideline cheerleading is still popular at schools, beginning in grade school and going through college. According to the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors (AACCA), there were nearly 500,000 high school and college cheerleaders in 2002.

The publication American Cheerleader lists 225 colleges and junior colleges that offer full and partial scholarships. Cheerleaders work hard for their teams, many practicing long hours in the gym. With all this time and commitment, cheer teams, both sideline and competitive, desire recognition and spirit gear. Capture this potential opportunity by using your sublimation capabilities to enhance your visibility in this market and increase your bottom line.

As with all sublimation, any product can be imprinted with artwork and themes that reflect the message you wish to convey. Team members and parents are interested in spirit gear that clearly shows support for the team and their sport. Imprinted products are a valuable part of any program. Building enthusiasm and team spirit not only encourages the current team members, but additionally, it raises community awareness about the local cheer program.

Sublimated products are made for team members, coaches and team boosters. Parents enjoy feeling pride for their child’s involvement and success in a sport. Many parents also wear spirit gear and enjoy displaying imprinted products in their home or office, such as a picture frame celebrating their child’s involvement and accomplishments in a sport or extracurricular program.

Bag Tags

Unisub has recently released a new sublimatable product line that is targeted for cheerleading programs. The new products are ideal to inspire young athletes and rising stars. New megaphone-shaped bag tags are designed for cheerleaders of all ages and skill levels. Bag tags are ideal for team and bag identification.

Bag tags are easy to sublimate, and are imprintable on both sides. Imprint one side with the team name and colors, and the reverse with individual names and addresses. Finish the tag with a plastic loop attachment.

Key Fobs

Megaphone-shaped key fobs are just the thing for young drivers and parents of cheerleaders. There is plenty of room for a team logo on the new key fobs. Another way to decorate the item is to sublimate a team or individual photo. Use the team name and colors for added personalization. Key fobs come with a plastic snap attachment and a metal ring.

Seat Cushions

Little league sideline cheerleaders sometimes tire during games and often have to rest at a specified time during games. From time to time, they have to sit so that they do not block the football game from spectators. If this sounds familiar, offer your customer sublimatable seat cushions for the cheer squad.

These are ideal to keep them out of the dust and dirt while on the sidelines. Imprint the cushion with the team name to instill pride for the school. The cushions are very durable and can last several seasons. Teams can pass them down year after year. And they can be easily rinsed if they get too dusty!

Streamline Awards

Streamline Awards from Unisub were initially developed to offer customers an award opportunity for sublimation that has a lower price point. The awards are made of coated hardboard and have a cherry finish wooden stand for display. Recently introduced is a megaphone-shaped Streamline Award.

The megaphone-shaped award comes in two sizes: 5.25” x 3” and 10.25” x 6.5”. The megaphone shape makes this award ideal for team-cheer recognition. Another new shape to the Streamline Awards is a star. The star shape would also work nicely for cheerleaders. Streamline Awards come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

In addition to recognition, consider using the large size megaphone-shaped Streamline award for personal home décor. Decorate the item with an individual’s name, such as Jessica’s Room, using a high-energy font while coordinating room colors. You could also sublimate team colors of the recipient’s favorite cheer squad.

Another decorating idea is to employ amusing expressions from cheerleading, such as “Cheer” or “Rah”. This will be the perfect novelty item for the bedroom of any adolescent that has an interest in cheerleading. Hang the megaphone on the wall or bedroom door just for fun. Purchase a self-adhesive picture hanger from any home-improvement center. The large megaphone is also available manufactured from medium densityfiberboard (MDF). This board is thicker and heavier than the Streamline Awards.

Charm Bracelets

Little league and preteen girls may enjoy starting a “Trade a Charm” bracelet. The silver-plated bracelets are 7”. Charms are 0.75” coated aluminum. Sublimate the charms with team members’ names or photos. If your customer is hosting a cheer event, consider selling bracelets with each charm featuring other team names and the event name and date.

Picture Frames

Picture frames have long been popular for students and parents. Unisub offers a variety of picture frames for sublimation. Sublimate with your favorite artwork for cheerleading, and personalize it with the child’s name and team colors. Unisub picture frames are 8” x 10” and have an opening for a 4” x 6” or 5” x 7” photo. Also available is an off-set picture frame that features a 4” x 6” photo opening or an oval-shaped photo opening. These frames are manufactured from MDF fiberboard. They have a glass photo cover.

Newly introduced is a picture frame that is manufactured from coated hardboard. It measures approximately 8.5” x 7”, has a photo opening of 3.5” x 5” and has a clear mylar cover to protect the photo. This smaller and slimmer picture frame is available at a lower price point than the standard Unisub photo frames. Your customers will appreciate the variety of photo-frame choices that are available for sublimation. They are easy to sublimate and perfect for personalization.

If a picture frame is not exactly what your customer wants, consider offering something from the Chromaluxe line. Photos can be reproduced with exceptional clarity. Chromaluxe photo displays are hinged and come in a variety of size and shape combinations. Reproduce a team picture on one board flanked by an individual photo and an action shot for a stunning display. Your customer will not be disappointed with Chromaluxe photo panels.

Unisub products are sublimated for 75 seconds at 400 degrees with firm pressure. Unisub products can be purchased from most sublimation distributors.

Coaches’ & Team Mom’s Gifts

Don’t forget gifts for the coaches and team mom. Gift opportunities abound with sublimation. A great coach gift is something for their desk, like a wooden note holder or a pen holder. These wood gift items house a sublimated tile. They are available in cherry, maple or mahogany finishes. Sublimate any of these gift items with a team picture, a logo and a date for a beautiful desk accent.


Knock off a cool breeze with a hoodie. Soft and comfortable, sublimatable hoodies can easily display team spirit and school pride. Hoodies are available for sublimation in white and gray. They are available in youth sizes through adult XXXL.

Clever, vibrant, energetic artwork is the key to the cheer market. Do research by shopping in the teen stores to determine the kind of font styles and colors that are popular. You will soon be increasing your bottom line now that’s something to shout about!