I think any athlete can get sponsored! With the right attitude towards the process, anything can be achieved. I read the book Sponsorship for Athletes, and did what was suggested….I took action!
My advice to other athletes; take a risk and reach out to someone. The worse result is being told no and you are exactly where you are now. There are no losses when reaching out for sponsorships. There are only potential gains for you and that company.
I completely agree with Vickie when she says there is an abundance of sponsorship out there! Many companies are looking to grow, and they are willing to learn about sponsorship relationships like we are. All it takes is a conversation to spark the interest, while creating a mutual agreement that helps both parties (athlete and business) benefit from the relationship.
The biggest challenge was getting in touch with the right people. Research and consistent communication took a lot of time early on, but it paid off after talking with the right person. They got to know me and were more willing to point me in the right direction when the time came to apply for sponsorship opportunities.
I now have 3 different sponsorships: ATP Extreme (supplements), Dick’s Sporting Goods and Brooks Running. ATP Extreme was my first sponsorship. Brooks and Dick’s Sporting Goods started January 2016.
I definitely think it’s important to develop relationships with your sponsors. The relationship makes the quality of the sponsorship more personal. Nobody likes to feel like they are “just a number”. Sometimes, you can be put into a category of “another athletes looking for something”. It’s not purposely done, but it does happen. Building a relationship helps the business understand you as a person. It also allows them to be more invested in your success as well.
I have learned that the easiest route is most likely the least successful one. Work hard by putting in the time to research companies/brands that fit you. Tailor a proposal to make it more personal to the company/brand that you are submitting it to. Then, if you are able to acquire that sponsorship, make sure you do your best to show that company you appreciate their willingness to support you. It makes you look good as a sponsored athlete for the company, and it makes you more marketable to other companies looking to sponsor you as well.
One major benefit that I did not prepare for was my personal growth. Becoming sponsored allows you to feel more confident in yourself and your future. I can honestly say that my sponsors helped me be a better athlete and person at the same time.
Your sponsorship journey will go as far as you are willing to take it. Let the word “No” push you to your first “Yes”, and then let that word “Yes” encourage you want to look for another one.