Semi-pro football like professional football, is played by adults but the teams are not part of any professional league. If you wish to start a semi-pro football team but don’t have the funds to do so, grants are available to help you get started. Some funding may be available through community development block grants, while other money can come from private businesses, individuals or foundations.

Government Grants

Some government organizations, like the Washington State Youth Athletic Facilities program and Sports Angels, offer grants for semi-pro football. These grants are part of community development block grants that are designed to provide funds to acquire, develop, equip, maintain and improve community athletic facilities. Most government grants for semi-pro football are offered by state governments, not federal. Cities and counties apply for the grants and then use them at their discretion for the athletic facilities they see fit to improve. Many government grants require that the team match any funds that are given.

Business Grants

Some businesses, especially local ones, will sponsor semi-pro football teams in exchange for advertising on the field or some sort of recognition to promote their business. In this way, the semi-pro team will benefit by getting the funding for the equipment and facilities that it needs, and the business will receive publicity that could boost profits and good will. A semi-pro football team can receive funding from several businesses if it wishes.

Private Grants

Some individuals and families, or family foundations, may donate money to local sports organizations. The Foundation Center offers a search engine to locate potential private and foundation sources. Donors can often write off such donations on their tax returns.

Semi-Pro Football vs. Professional Football

Although semi-pro football and professional football are both played by adults, there are distinct differences between the two. Semi-pro football players play solely for the love of the game, not for profit. Professional football players make a living at the game whereas semi-pro players have a day job and play football more as a hobby. Semi-pro players must come up with the funding for their teams on their own. Semi-pro football teams may play for the American Football Association (AFA), while professionals may play for the National Football League (NFL).