Its (NOT) all about the money…money….money…

07 Nov Its (NOT) all about the money…money….money…

Each sponsorship you engage in should be relationship- based, but there are different types of sponsorships on offer….

Companies are generally much more willing to part with goods and services than they are cash. There are obvious reasons for this, one being that they want you to promote and endorse their brand and you are doing this by wearing, consuming and using their products.

Although you may initially engage in an agreement whereby you receive a set amount of product  each year, over time this can develop into a more valuable arrangement. For example, you become a brand ambassador and receive payment for attending industry events on your sponsor’s behalf, or they offer a monetary amount along with product which is enough to pay for your flights, competition entries etc. throughout the year. Sometimes these types of sponsorship deals are struck up at the get go, other times they take time to develop.

Soft Sponsorships

These sponsorships do not involve the outlay of any cash. They are products or services that the sponsor supplies as their typical business so the actual cost to them is much lower than what it would cost you to purchase these products or services yourself.

Product Sponsors Product sponsorship is the most obvious and common type of sponsorship for athletes and should be your first port of call when seeking sponsorship. All athletes use equipment or special apparel and what better way for a sponsor to showcase their product than on an athlete who is active in their own promotional activities such as events, media and social media.

Service Sponsors Similarly to product sponsorship, services are commonly sponsored to athletes and are a great way for practitioners such as physiotherapists and massage therapists to obtain glowing testimonials and referrals as well as create online content for social media promotion. Look outside the square and you will see other service opportunities such as financial advice, travel and health insurance and even coaching.

Media Partners If you can align yourself with media outlets or publications you will create valuable benefits for not only your sponsors but for you. An example is that you may have a particular event that you are seeking sponsorship and media coverage for. There may be a particular magazine that is tailored to your sport with whom you could offer exclusive coverage to in exchange for them publishing a print article and sharing your event through their social media channels.

You could strike up a deal with a local radio station where you provide weekly event reports on their sports show in return for inclusion of your key sponsors in their advertising. Now, here’s a chance to think outside the square…..let’s say your sponsor is an accountant, and although you are only appearing in the sports show you may ask the station to play the promo for the accountant during their business show instead! It’s just about looking outside the square and creating opportunities.

Cost-reducing Sponsorships You may find some sponsors want to offer a discount on their products and services, and this may still be a very appealing option to you particularly for big ticket items. Don’t forget the overall value of a sponsorship includes the sponsors media, social media and network opportunities so a discount on products and services may open up other doors for you.

These types of soft sponsorships are generally offered at the start of a relationship-based sponsorship and is often the sponsor’s way of not overcommitting to you just in case things don’t work out. Over time these types of sponsorships can become more valuable.

Financial Sponsorships

There are two main types of financial sponsorship. One is an agreed amount that you are given to cover particular product, service or event costs, and the other is in the form of a salary, which just like any other salary may be spent on whatever you like, and at the end of the day forms part of creating a lifestyle that supports your athletic pursuits.

Engaging financial sponsorships is a great goal to have as you can use it for any products or services you cannot get covered through soft sponsorships.

You can even use the cash to fund your non-sport expenses, such as the rent on your apartment when you travel overseas for a month for a particular event. At the end of the day that money is being used to enable you to fulfil your sporting ambitions, but you must be clear with your sponsors on how you intend to use the money.

It is generally much easier to engage product and services than cash, but most companies have a budget for sponsorship, so it’s just a matter of making those right connections and being able to offer great return for their investment.

Commission Sponsorships

Some athletes are engaged with companies who offer a financial reward each time a sale is made, or a new client gained through a referral from the athlete. For example, a car insurance company pays an athlete $200 each time a new client is obtained. There are certainly some merits in this option, however it makes planning your finances difficult as you cannot be guaranteed of a set amount.

What are your sponsorship goals?

We’re about to launch our 8 Weeks To Sponsorship Challenge where we will work with you to create your personal brand and sponsorship strategy and actually create your proposal: CLICK HERE to register your interest and we’ll send you an information pack!


Vickie Saunders

Vickie is the world's leading expert on commercial relationships for individuals, businesses and sports organisations.