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Dead Man
01-05-2017, 03:39 PM
Hola

For those of you who have managed race teams, how have you gone about soliciting sponsorship? What do you offer in exchange for what?

Our team has a title sponsor, but is strongly considering looking for a new one. We've got some dope kit and don't want to clutter it up with a bunch of sponsor logos, so we don't have a ton of material advertising to offer.... and we're not looking for that much support anyway. Title sponsor would have the title sponsor spot on the jersey, with front, back, and side-panel name placement in bold black font. We would possibly be willing to sell jersey pocket space for black and white logos only, but .. again .. we don't want to compromise on the dopeness of our kit for money. Most of us have no trouble paying entry fees, we don't NEED any help buying bikes and parts... mostly we just want the jerseys funded, and a general fund for entry fees would be cool, for the purpose of recruiting more talent.

So seems to me like our sponsorship goals are relatively light. Realistically, we could probably get away with one really good title sponsor. So long as I didn't sell us short. But I am going to put together tiers and sub tiers of sponsorship level.... don't feel terribly confident I'm gonna get a local business to just cut me a $3000 check and say "have fun!"

But whats the best way to go about soliciting, and how to structure different sponsorship package levels? tell me what you've done

oh, and yea... we're all early-middle aged men. Tried to get a local junior club (in the hopes of raising a competitive team, even) started up a few times, but got zero interest.

Thanks gents

-B

MattTuck
01-05-2017, 03:54 PM
Not sure, but you should have done this in December. Anyone with extra marketing budget would probably have been more willing to spend it in FY2016 than in January of 2017.

That said, here's what I'd do if I were looking for sponsorship. (and yes, I realize that you'd have to have thought of this stuff already to have footage/content available.)

1. Create a video showing you guys in the races, preferably winning races. Higher production value is probably helpful here. If you don't have video, you could perhaps do it with still pictures, with the effect of zooming in/panning. If possible, show pictures that involve crowds.

2. Create a social media presence for the team for training rides and travels to races, highlighting the sponsor logos, etc. I'd include facebook, twitter, instagram at a minimum. Maybe with some sort of blog.

3. Create a document showing your 2017 race schedule, size of the events and locations on a map (probably with 10 or 20 mile circles around the race locations).

Ultimately, what you're 'selling' to a prospective sponsor is exposure. If you can create a compelling case that you have good exposure in geographic and/or market segments that the business cares about, then you would have better luck (and a defensible position) finding a sponsor. Remember, that a sponsorship (even one for 3,000) is not about slapping a logo on the jersey. You are a representative of that company, and need to promote them.

Depending on the types of companies you might approach, I'd also look at doing something where you can give something out at races that will work its way back to the sponsor to show that they're getting their money's worth. For a pizza place, you might give out "XYZ Cycling Team - One sports drink free with the order of a large pizza", and do a weekly or monthly ride from that location.

.RJ
01-05-2017, 06:37 PM
The exposure is nice, but I would look further than that.

Figure out what your team is going to bring to the potential sponsor, to their business, to their involvement in the community and pitch that. Volunteering, community involvement, name recognition, how are you going to engage with them throughout the year to build a partnership instead of just taking a check.

El Chaba
01-05-2017, 06:45 PM
I'm going to be brutal....Sponsorship for a bunch of middle aged men?...Really? Your only hopes rest on the charity of some company who isn't looking for a return on investment or the vanity of one of your number who wants to see his company's name on your kit.

e-RICHIE
01-05-2017, 07:03 PM
Hola

For those of you who have managed race teams, how have you gone about soliciting sponsorship? What do you offer in exchange for what? <cut>


What you offer is you, the org's entity, its history, the accomplishment list, the members and where they are going in the next season or three. You have to know what these talking points are because they're the answers to the questions you're asking. Why does a sponsor want you, what will he get, what will you give. PS Don't think season by season, thing long term. Otherwise, don't seek sponsorship, just find a donation.

45K10
01-05-2017, 07:12 PM
I'm going to be brutal....Sponsorship for a bunch of middle aged men?...Really? Your only hopes rest on the charity of some company who isn't looking for a return on investment or the vanity of one of your number who wants to see his company's name on your kit.

Bingo!

Most of the sponsors I ever pulled in were companies I worked for or someone on the team worked for. The one time we got big money from an outside company it was a medical company trying to find an "in" with one of the doctors on the team.

Generally it made me feel sort of sleazy asking for sponsors to support my upper middle class, middle age "racing team" but hey the kits looked good

Dead Man
01-05-2017, 07:19 PM
but hey the kits looked good

thats what its all about man

Tandem Rider
01-05-2017, 07:24 PM
You are now in one of the most unrewarding spots in cycling.

Who is going to want/need exposure at bike races and "events" by a small group of xx aged men in y and z categories.

Assuming 5's, 4's, and 3's, an easier approach is who in your area are the enthusiasts who would get a kick out of seeing their name(s) on your kits and the banners at the race(s) your team puts on. Just being part of the race scene without racing. That is a realistic pool of potential sponsors.

Best of Luck.

Dead Man
01-05-2017, 07:26 PM
I'm going to be brutal....Sponsorship for a bunch of middle aged men?...Really? Your only hopes rest on the charity of some company who isn't looking for a return on investment or the vanity of one of your number who wants to see his company's name on your kit.

I disagree with much of this, though. If you have a locally operating business whose target market is upper middle-class men, sponsoring a cycling team can be huge. Especially if it's a business that deals in large contracts, where one lead from a race can easily pay for the sponsorship. Real estate, specialty dr. office, car dealership, construction company, law firm.... you know, 95% of the sponsors you actually see out there on the race course.

It's true our particular team doesn't have much to offer at the moment... but the whole reason we're seeking new sponsorship is to recruit. And preferably U23s/younger stronger new riders. So there's some merit to this quest.

I mean, we already have dope kit and everything we need, if we just want to stay the same.

e-RICHIE
01-05-2017, 07:29 PM
It's true our particular team doesn't have much to offer at the moment... but the whole reason we're seeking new sponsorship is to recruit. And preferably U23s/younger stronger new riders. So there's some merit to this quest.

I mean, we already have dope kit and everything we need, if we just want to stay the same.

You just answered the question. Now, wrap it up and sell it.

AngryScientist
01-05-2017, 07:32 PM
for the situation you describe, i think you just need to work the connections you already have.

you're a general contractor, no?

maybe there is an electrical distributor you work with? local lumber yard? maybe even the chevy dealership you get the service done on your work pick-up? think people you already know who might be interested in exposure to other dudes who think (and spend) like you?

i donno, just throwing some thoughts out there.

R3awak3n
01-05-2017, 08:15 PM
You are now in one of the most unrewarding spots in cycling.

Who is going to want/need exposure at bike races and "events" by a small group of xx aged men in y and z categories.

Assuming 5's, 4's, and 3's, an easier approach is who in your area are the enthusiasts who would get a kick out of seeing their name(s) on your kits and the banners at the race(s) your team puts on. Just being part of the race scene without racing. That is a realistic pool of potential sponsors.

Best of Luck.

spot on

shovelhd
01-05-2017, 08:33 PM
My club gets low five figures worth of sponsorship dollars yearly. Recruiting sponsors is a year-round affair. Sponsors don't give us money for racing (not just middle aged men, all ages, genders, and lots of national level Juniors). They give us money for what we give back to the cycling community and the local community. We run four USAC races, a weekly training series, a kids race series, CX coaching, bicycle advocacy, legislative support, a day long bicycle festival, and lots of other stuff. In other words, it's a non-profit business.

Unless you have an angel investor who is passionate about the sport, you're going to find that getting sponsors for a race team that just wants "free stuff" is going to be very hard to get.

Good luck.

nooneline
01-05-2017, 08:52 PM
1. Personal relationships.
2. This article (http://www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/article/angryasian-sponsorship-is-not-about-you-36841/).

kgreene10
01-05-2017, 10:26 PM
We are a bunch of middle aged and geriatric guys in Austin and only a handful of our 150+ member club race. But we get some decent support, mostly through team members and all through personal connections. We have some guys who are fantastic at making this happen. So, it's certainly possible! And if it doesn't work out for you, you can always join us here and get a partiallly subsidized kit!

oldpotatoe
01-06-2017, 06:08 AM
Hola

For those of you who have managed race teams, how have you gone about soliciting sponsorship? What do you offer in exchange for what?

Our team has a title sponsor, but is strongly considering looking for a new one. We've got some dope kit and don't want to clutter it up with a bunch of sponsor logos, so we don't have a ton of material advertising to offer.... and we're not looking for that much support anyway. Title sponsor would have the title sponsor spot on the jersey, with front, back, and side-panel name placement in bold black font. We would possibly be willing to sell jersey pocket space for black and white logos only, but .. again .. we don't want to compromise on the dopeness of our kit for money. Most of us have no trouble paying entry fees, we don't NEED any help buying bikes and parts... mostly we just want the jerseys funded, and a general fund for entry fees would be cool, for the purpose of recruiting more talent.

So seems to me like our sponsorship goals are relatively light. Realistically, we could probably get away with one really good title sponsor. So long as I didn't sell us short. But I am going to put together tiers and sub tiers of sponsorship level.... don't feel terribly confident I'm gonna get a local business to just cut me a $3000 check and say "have fun!"

But whats the best way to go about soliciting, and how to structure different sponsorship package levels? tell me what you've done

oh, and yea... we're all early-middle aged men. Tried to get a local junior club (in the hopes of raising a competitive team, even) started up a few times, but got zero interest.

Thanks gents

-B

What I did
-have the kit maker fund part of the kit for prominent space on jersey/bibs(Curve)
-try to have a woman's team

BTW-I'd find some new terms for your team kit..:eek:

BUT it's all about advertising..pay $, get exposure. Leg work, time, have a great resume'.

AJosiahK
01-06-2017, 06:29 AM
this is a good question, no matter where you are on the scale of amateur to professional amateur :)

Its really about selling yourself, or team. Above advice is solid, create a social media presence, get lots of stuff down in writing and create a plan.

But its more than just what they can give you, obviously. Write up a proposal stating who you are, what you love doing and why you want their help with it. Go as far as to talk about how your presence in the local cycling community could be beneficial to them, more so with their logos on your kit.

Building a relationship that goes beyond wha they can give you, and what you can give them is what I think makes the difference.

Good luck!

Walter
01-06-2017, 07:44 AM
I have had a measure of experience trying to put together "marketing partnerships" (which is how one must think rather than "sponsorship" which equals gift) for local car and motorcycle racing and there are some key factors to keep in mind.

If it is a real sponsorship rather than just a buddy or a die hard fan of bike racing, the decider is ROI from impressions through exposure. Winning races is less important than impressions through youth programs, being seen at shop openings and other events. Local bike races do not get any TV exposure (which really drives the decision to participate in bigger programs for a potential sponsor) so being out there at more than just aces is critical.

Have your proposal detail how many other things your group will be doing apart from just racing.

Aside from that, if a member has companies from which his business buys product, hit them up as part of their purchasing program.

Folks at higher levels of sponsorship in car racing use business to business as a sales hook.

It is just very hard when you are dealing with a niche sport in a small market.

shovelhd
01-06-2017, 12:07 PM
Most of our sponsors are quid pro quo. They sponsor us with the expectation that members looking for their services will look there first. If you do this part right using internal promotion, they will keep coming back. One of our sponsors is a brewery. We hold all of our major club meetings there. For them it's a no brainer. Pactimo is our clothing provider. We give them the side panel and the cuff space in return for a substantial discount. Again, think like a business.

11.4
01-06-2017, 12:42 PM
Short of pro teams and a few rare teams like Richard's, there aren't any out there that really give viable economic rationales for sponsorship. As others said, this is more about charity.

Charity is about vision. As Spud said, support women. Everyone likes to support race equality. It's easier than trying to find juniors who will rarely stay with you for more than a year or two anyway. And everyone claims they are trying to develop juniors.

With middle age riders, your best bets are bike shops. That gets you your first thousand or two. I wouldn't give up all the signage on your kit to JLVelo or whoever. They don't give you much if any real value or discount and you want that display space for cash sponsors.

After shops, look at who your team members work for, or who their parents (or kids or spouses) work for.

Above all, be original. You aren't selling equivalent value. You're selling a vision and it needs to be unique. I do a lot of this for a living and all you need to do is make someone say "wow!" In local team sponsorship, if you're into discussions over a spreadsheet, it's too late.

And by the way, team members should pay their own kit and most of their own travel cost. The idea of sponsorship at this level is not to line the pockets of people who can already pay for it. Put the sponsorship funds 100% into developing a women's team, or taking bike racing into poor neighborhoods near you (think Red Hook or just sprint events or hillclimbs or whatever on an unused highway feeder or whatever), or something that will warm someone's heart. I wouldn't even pay travel or registration expenses. If we have a promising rider who's young and underfunded or who can't make it to a big race without some help, those can be exceptions. But no rider should be funded by a sponsor unless they win a lot and present a superb image that the sponsor can relate to. Even juniors or women or whatever. A few years of discipline like that pays off big time when you do get an opportunity to bring in significant funds.

sandyrs
01-06-2017, 01:29 PM
And by the way, team members should pay their own kit and most of their own travel cost. The idea of sponsorship at this level is not to line the pockets of people who can already pay for it. Put the sponsorship funds 100% into developing a women's team, or taking bike racing into poor neighborhoods near you (think Red Hook or just sprint events or hillclimbs or whatever on an unused highway feeder or whatever), or something that will warm someone's heart. I wouldn't even pay travel or registration expenses. If we have a promising rider who's young and underfunded or who can't make it to a big race without some help, those can be exceptions. But no rider should be funded by a sponsor unless they win a lot and present a superb image that the sponsor can relate to. Even juniors or women or whatever. A few years of discipline like that pays off big time when you do get an opportunity to bring in significant funds.

This ^^^

Dead Man
01-06-2017, 02:40 PM
A lot of the bigger teams are providing quite a bit, but they're also corporate-owned teams for the most part. Breweries especially have their own teams and seems they both well-fund them and have the ability to easily put on additional funding events for em. So I guess maybe all these guys emailing asking what kind of materials/financials we provide are just coming from those corporate-esque teams, not independent rider-funded teams.

But let me just emphasize, this isn't about lining pockets... We're pretty ok with where we are materially, if it's just the bros. We're really not much more than a loose association go friends who ride together and occasionally race together. But we want to expand, recruit some new riders, become legit, get more involved in the scene and community, put on some of our own races, and yea - if we could GET women and juniors to ride, that would be hella cool.. But just haven't had any luck as of yet. One thing our new and improved team could do, once we're more of an established and recognized entity, would be to put on fundraising events for junior and female racing.

If we're going to be appealing to all these guys email me asking "what bike shops/tire manufacturer/wheel manufactures, do you get discounts at," and "hat kind of funding do you have for entry fees," and "how much kit do you provide," etc., I'm gonna need to have better answers than "kit is $100 per jersey and you're on your own for everything." Which is where we are right now.

So there's my justification.

I also have a pretty good handful of companies I want to hit up for sponsorship... former employers, fellow contractors (that generate a lot more than I do), and since our team has a local-regional theme to it, I definitely need to be hitting up companies tied into that theme. So Angry - I think you're right on track with your post with regard to WHO.

Just still working out the WHAT (to offer). But all of your posts have been helpful in reshaping my expectations on that, so thanks

Dead Man
01-06-2017, 02:50 PM
The thing about women's racing...

There's just hardly any in the local scene. Results with fewer than 10 women in a category is the norm, and many races only have 1-5 women racing in any given category. It's ridiculously sparse.

And those women who do race, I think generally race for one of the big corporate teams, or are on of the the very few all-women teams, who are either rider-funded or funded by orgs who are doing so charitably.

So there's not much to recruit from, boys. I can hit up sponsors for money to help promote female cycling, but then where do I get the riders?

shovelhd
01-06-2017, 04:47 PM
Women will show when there's equal prize money.

If the riders you are courting are more concerned about what they are getting than who they are racing with, then I'd be looking at different riders.

11.4
01-06-2017, 05:15 PM
Women will show when there's equal prize money.

If the riders you are courting are more concerned about what they are getting than who they are racing with, then I'd be looking at different riders.

I share this. A major team in the Puget Sound area has developed a large women's team, and there are areas like in Dallas where there are huge women's teams. Dallas just pulled three national masters championship golds at the Hartford women's cross nationals. You have to build it over time. None of this happens on the spot or is necessarily preexisting.

We would lose a rider from time to time because they had better benefits from other teams, but these riders just followed the money and went to another team in a couple years anyway. You have to make this all a several-year effort.

As for what to offer your prospective sponsors: They get their name on kit and on a team tent at races. Maybe you have some removable films for car doors going to races, imprinted with the team name and sponsor's logos. But don't try to offer compensating promotional value. You just won't get there, or after a year your sponsor will look for tangible value, not find it, and be disappointed and move on. Sponsors are like riders -- you want the ones who do it for the love of it, not for cash. Plan on one title sponsor who gets the center of the jersey front and rear, on a couple smaller sponsors who get the sides and the butt, and then two or three who get the corners. The front shoulders are very valuable property because in a race those tend to be more visible than a chest or back, especially in photos (you're bent over the bars, remember). Make sure the kit design is current and attractive -- you don't want something that looks ten years old or that's simply not attractive.

John H.
01-06-2017, 07:36 PM
You talk about "corporate" sponsored teams. Really these are just terms where an individual or management company landed a known company.

You also speak about what you can do for a sponsor.
One of the things that you mentioned in prior posts is that you do not wear a helmet. If I was a potential sponsoring company, that alone would make me not want to sponsor your team.
I get that it is a personal choice- but I would not want my brand associated with someone who does not wear a helmet and publicly states that fact.

John H.
01-06-2017, 07:59 PM
You can always solicit anti-sponsor type sponsors.
A local team used to be sponsored by a medical marijuana dispensary. Berkeley Patients Group.
A current club is sponsored by a hipster bar in SF.
There have been euro teams sponsored by brothels and sex toy stores.

I even recall seeng a team in Texas that was sponsored by a mortuary.

11.4
01-06-2017, 09:07 PM
You talk about "corporate" sponsored teams. Really these are just terms where an individual or management company landed a known company.

You also speak about what you can do for a sponsor.
One of the things that you mentioned in prior posts is that you do not wear a helmet. If I was a potential sponsoring company, that alone would make me not want to sponsor your team.
I get that it is a personal choice- but I would not want my brand associated with someone who does not wear a helmet and publicly states that fact.

More generally, you want to be known as the nicest, best, most professional team on the road. Always wear helmets, always wear whatever your sponsored equipment is -- sunglasses, helmets, kit, etc. Never, ever, be seen without team clothing on, even on a wet winter ride. Always wave -- I've watched a multi-hundred-thousand dollar sponsor riding his bike and get passed by a team rider who didn't bother to wave, and that ended it. Never ever run red lights, yell at car drivers, and so on. I also saw a team sponsor walk away when he heard stories about his neighbors getting razzed by riders in his jerseys. This doesn't cost anything and is the single most important thing you can do for a sponsor. Even if you finish dead last in every race, he wants to know that you all show up for rides or races and that you are the people that everyone has the nicest things to say about.

steveandbarb1
01-06-2017, 09:16 PM
Reading this thread, sounds like best thing to do is throw on your Rapha's and get out training and enjoying the race scene. How much work will it be to do all this pan handling?

Steve = who's not in the race scene

Louis
01-06-2017, 09:34 PM
There have been euro teams sponsored by brothels and sex toy stores.

Add to that a battery manufacturer and an industrial lubricants refiner and you're good to go... :banana::banana::banana:

El Chaba
01-07-2017, 09:02 AM
You can always solicit anti-sponsor type sponsors.
There have been euro teams sponsored by brothels and sex toy stores.

I even recall seeng a team in Texas that was sponsored by a mortuary.

Now we're getting close to the right businesses that would target the demographic in question.....

nooneline
01-07-2017, 09:18 AM
The thing about women's racing...

There's just hardly any in the local scene. Results with fewer than 10 women in a category is the norm, and many races only have 1-5 women racing in any given category. It's ridiculously sparse.

And those women who do race, I think generally race for one of the big corporate teams, or are on of the the very few all-women teams, who are either rider-funded or funded by orgs who are doing so charitably.

So there's not much to recruit from, boys. I can hit up sponsors for money to help promote female cycling, but then where do I get the riders?

In Minnesota, the women's track scene went from so few that the women's field was canceled on some nights (<4), to 2 fields - an elite field with regular field sizes of over 16 and occasionally up to the track limit of 24, and a Cat 4 field that was sometimes so big that it had to be split into a 4A and a 4B field.

In the span of only 2 years.

How?

By recruiting women to race.

People started women's teams, recruited women, supported and welcomed them, offered a voice in track governance.