When Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) CEO Bob Gambardella has an idea, he runs with it and makes it happen.
When Bob and his leadership team at SSI met with Vickie Saunders of The Sponsorship Consultants, his first words were “We want to get your book (Sponsorship for Athletes) into the hands of all our athletes”.
Bob had read the book, a guide for athletes of all levels and in all sports, on how to engage their own sponsorship and believed this knowledge was vital for athletes to be able to financially sustain themselves as well as benefit from the skills, experience and opportunities that being sponsored offers.
Very quickly the discussion led to creating a co-branded version of the book which would include visual styling as well as written content that would represent SSI and include contributions from the staff and athletes.
SSI have developed an incredibly successful relationship with 23 Singaporean companies through their Spex Business Network, and were able to reach out immediately to obtain funding from Deloitte Singapore. The companies in their Spex network work with SSI in many ways, including providing flexible employment for athletes, and see incredible value in being actively involved in the sports community.
With Deloittes involvement, the project was funded ($6,000USD), and the 3 key companies collaborated to create a truly co-branded version of the book.
Through their well developed network, Deloitte and SSI were able to host a significant media launch for the book, with many of the athletes who contributed their stories for the book in attendance.
A large media presence was at the launch, along with several important figures from the Singaporean government and sports community.
Media coverage of the launch, including television, online and print, reached into the millions Asia-wide, and the book was distributed in print and digital to hundreds of Singaporean athletes.
The impact of this low cost project was significant, and beyond just the education and empowerment of athletes to engage sponsorship, it opened up the conversation between businesses and sport in a way that has not previously been achieved.
In a country where sport is considered much less important that most other career options, the integration between athletes and the business world is so important, and this has been given a great push in the right direction.