Printing for sports — whether it’s local athletic teams or 5Ks and triathlons — is the bread and butter for many screen printing shops. If printing for athletic teams and events comprises a lot of your business, you need to be prepared to make the most of it. Many athletic teams or athletic event organizers will come to you for t-shirts and jerseys. By curating the right upsell and cross-sell items for your athletic customers, you can boost your sales and cultivate customer loyalty by providing products that meet their needs perfectly.

Knowing which items to recommend to your customers begins with knowing your customers. You want to suggest items that they will find useful for their athletes, and that will fit within their budgets and expectations for quality. Here are some popular items requested by athletic teams and athletic event organizers, and some helpful tips for screen printing on these items.

Performance jerseys and t-shirts

If you are screen printing for athletic teams or athletic events, undoubtedly, you are printing jersey and t-shirts in performance materials. Your challenge in providing these is selling your customers the best quality jersey to meet their needs. The quality and price of the jersey will often depend on the level of athletes.

Warm-up pants

Even if the team you’re screen printing for doesn’t need pants during their sporting events, team members may appreciate having custom pants to wear before and after games, or on the sidelines. A lower end client, or groups like swim teams, may appreciate traditional sweatpants, while basketball teams, baseball teams and higher end clients might prefer warmup pants in a performance material. Be aware that screen printing pants typically requires a specialized pallet.

Jackets and sweatshirts

Like warm-up pants, many athletes like to have customized jackets or sweatshirts to wear before or after games. Hooded sweatshirts are a classic option, but performance jackets have become an increasingly popular option, and they can be found at all price points to accommodate a variety of customers.

Hats and visors

Hats and visors are a popular option for all types of athletes. Screen printing hats requires a specialized hat pallet. Some hats are more conducive to screen printing than others – if your hat or visor includes prominent seams, you will need to alter your artwork accordingly or consider an alternate decoration method. Hats with a single, seamless front panel (like trucker hats) are more easily screen printed.


Athletes of all types have gear to carry with them. At the low end, you can offer to screen print simple drawstring bags that can accommodate cleats and a water bottle or a change of clothes. For more serious teams and athletes, or for athletes who have a lot of gear, you can offer to customize higher end duffle bags or gear bags that are specific to the sport.


Have you ever offered up screen printed chairs to your athletic customers? For parents and fans of a team, screen printed chairs are a fun item to take to show their support during sporting events. For teams whose observers sit on bleachers, offer folding stadium chairs. For teams whose spectators sit on the sidelines, offer to screen printing fold-out camp chairs.

Stadium blankets

Screen printed stadium blankets are another great cross-sell item for sports teams whose spectators sit outdoors. Football teams, baseball teams, soccer teams and other teams that play when temperatures are chilly all may appreciate being able to offer logoed blankets to parents and spectators.

Water bottles

Custom water bottles have become ubiquitous, and they are especially popular with athletes. On the low end, you can screen printing simple, classic plastic water bottles, and on the high end, you can print deluxe stainless steel or glass water bottles. Screen printing water bottles does take a special press to accommodate the cylindrical shape, and you will need to use a specialized ink that will bond with your chosen substrate.

If you get a lot of athletic customers for your screen printing business, make the most of those customers! Grow your screen printing business by cross-selling and up-selling items you know will benefit customers seeking prints for athletic teams and athletic events. Your customers will appreciate that you pay attention to their needs, and your profits will grow as they place larger orders.

For more information on athletic screen printing, check out these other blogs:

A Starter’s Guide to Decorating Team Sports Apparel

Overcoming the Challenges of Screen Printing Athletic Apparel