Sunday, February 1, 2015

Common mistakes when asking for sponsorship


Every team manager's wet dream, and normally it remains just that. A wet dream.

I'm currently embroiled in a 5 way discussion with various companies regarding sponsorship with my team. Quite a feat, considering we are just a simple amateur footballing club who are not exactly setting the amateur football scene on fire. 1 win in 5 games this season is testament to that.

So what makes us different from everyone else? How does one pitch to potential sponsors? What does the potential sponsor get in return?

Common mistake #1: Many teams tell potential sponsors that having their name on the front of their jerseys gives them mileage.

Playing in a weekly league means potentially 15 players x 52 weeks get to see the brand.

780 eyeballs over a year.

WOW! I bet that got all the excited sponsors queuing up outside the team manager's door, fighting to be the next jersey sponsor. =P

Solution: Get it in your head! There is no mileage whatsover in having their logos on your jerseys! NONE! 780 eyeballs is peanuts from a marketing perspective!

Try these solutions though. Some have worked for me in the past. And hopefully it will help you.

1. Have a long term plan for the team
Do you have a mid to long term plan for your team? Where do you envisage your team to be in 3 years? 5 years? 10 years? Are you looking to turn pro? Move into NFL, then Prime League and maybe (god forbid!) S-League?
Companies with some money to spare will be more willing to splash some cash your way if they know they are contributing to a longer termed and worthy cause

2. Look from the Sponsor's perspective
What's the ROI (Return On Investment)? We already established the eyeballs argument flunked. So what kind of ROI can we speak of?

For example, why would a Pizza shop sponsor the team? Maybe instead of cash, they can sponsor, or part sponsor an end of season celebration at their outlet? A Pizza Cafe's customer demographic probably falls into the 20s-30s male category. So getting some visibility there sounds like a good plan. Plus, getting the team to the cafe brings more customers.

How about a sportswear company? Instead of sponsoring cash, how about a barter exchange? The company sponsors jerseys, the team sponsors players for clothing modeling? Something like that.

The whole point is instead of looking at how much the company can sponsor you, look at it from how much the company will save by working with your team.

(These ideas are theoretical. I haven't actually used them. But they sound plausible right?)

3. Sponsorship flexibility
Other than cash and jerseys sponsorship, there can be many other stuff that is sponsorable (we learn a new word everyday!). Look at it like a Human Resource manager. How else can you benefit your team players? How about food vouchers from a food outlet? Complimentary gym membership? Discounts at baby clothing shops? Good rates for your players' home renovation costs? Maybe even free equipment for bulk insurance sign ups!

Keep an open mind when it comes to what can be negotiated. After all, something is better than nothing. Even the local mama store can offer something for your team.

Basically, be realistic about the sponsorships, be mindful of the sponsors needs and be flexible about what kind of sponsorships you can ask for.

p.s. On a side note, 4 Short 1 Long is open to sponsorships too! Feel free to contact me for a coffee session and we can discuss terms. =)

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