Relationship Based Sponsorship

08 Nov Relationship Based Sponsorship


Relationship based sponsorship is something that few people truly understand.

Many athletes I know have bragged about being sponsored and then I find out that they get a free pair of running shoes once a year and get to tell their friends (and not too many other people) about it.

That is not sponsorship; that is getting something for free. I get freebies at the supermarket from time to time; it does not mean that I am a Woolworth’s sponsored athlete.

Sponsorship for athletes is simply a relationship between an athlete and a company, whereby the company provides goods, services, finance or a combination of these in return for commercial benefits from the athlete such as promotion and endorsement of their brand.

Think of it as a relationship that exists to provide mutually agreed benefits and, like any relationship, if it’s nurtured it can develop into something very valuable and long lasting.

Conversely, just like any relationship, if it’s taken for granted and neglected, or there is dishonesty, then it is unlikely to grow and likely to end.

Let’s look at sponsorship relationships like any other relationship that you have in your life eg. with your friends, family and colleagues. Although we don’t generally assess and define these relationships in terms of benefits and what we can get out of them, there are some fundamental elements that we must carry from these into our relationships with sponsors, such as honesty, respect, shared values, and a commitment to do the right thing by each other.

If any of these elements were missing from our personal relationships then there would be at least one unsatisfied party, and the relationship would be dysfunctional.

Taking the analogy a little further, relationships must be developed and we all want purposeful, mutually beneficial relationships. How normal relationships work is that we give and take, and if we find ourselves in a relationship where the other person wants to constantly take and keeps promising to do certain things but never do, we feel let down.

Over time we become less inclined to give and there may come a time where we end the relationship.

Business relationships are no different.As this is a business relationship, we should take a business-like approach and have a structure to the process.

Sounds a little technical, but you simply take the core fundamental values of any good relationship, and team it with the strategy and functionality of an effective business relationship.

Now you are setting yourself up for success.

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.