Like a flock of hungry seagulls, sports are falling over themselves in attempt to score any tiny (and diminishing) piece of the sponsorship pie. Of course we all have legitimate reasons why our sport is not feasting on the gourmet menu. Yes, it IS a ‘tuff’ environment to score a sponsorship for your club. Yes, there ARE some big sports that gobble up the chip before you get a sniff. And yes, it IS all out of your direct control.
So what are you going to do about it?
- Sit on our hands and wait for a miracle.
- Complain that all the money is in soccer.
- Bank on the brother of a cousin of an uncle of your U12 defender being a trillionaire Sheik who will sponsor your club for the next 25 years.
- Go big, re-invent your club and stand out in the crowd.
Sure you get the point. Now is hardly the time to be waiting in hope. It is a time to be seeking to separate your sport/club/team from the others. Time to stand out and say “LOOK AT US“!
Are the old-school Board or committee members of your club up to speed with what it takes to stand out in this fiercely competitive environment? Are they formulating the sponsorship strategy correctly? Maybe YOU are sitting on the next amazingly innovative sports sponsorship proposition. A previously un-heard of proposal that creates and satisfies new needs for potential sponsors.
Now is the time to muscle-up the courage, do your homework and verbalise the course of action that will transform your cash-strapped club into the most tweeted about, Liked and VALUABLE proposition in your sport.
When considering your brilliant new sponsorship plan, try to look past the traditional Win-Win situation, where only your club and the sponsor benefit. Look also at the WIN-WIN-WIN possibilities. The third WIN being the sponsor’s target market. Sponsors will only really benefit from your proposal if their target markets are having their experience enhanced through the sponsorship deal. Therefore this is the first place to look when considering what value your club will bring to a sponsor. How are the customers of the local Pizza shop really going to get value through the Pizza shop sponsoring your club? Answer that question and you will surely boost the value of your proposal to a sponsor.
Also, remember that a sponsor needs to spend money above and beyond the amount that they are paying your club. It is well proven that a sponsor must incur additional costs to maximise the effect of or leverage the sponsorship. Communicating the relationship and engaging the target market costs money. Sponsorships that involve only a single financial transaction to your club are destined for a short life-span. If you are fortunate enough to attract a sponsor it is imperative that you make it a successful relationship and this might entail less up-front cash so the sponsorship can be leveraged. This can help to build a relationship that holds real value for the sponsor and therefore keep them coming back. After all it is much easier to keep a sponsor than to find a new one!
I say get planning. Asses the strengths within your club and how you can capitalize on these to bring value to a local business and its target market for a WIN-WIN-WIN situation. You currently have nothing and so you have nothing to lose!
Believe in yourself and in your plan. Say not “we cannot” but “WE CAN!”
About the Author: Victor Anfiloff is a former Australian World Tour Beach Volleyball Player, Head Coach of the Dutch Beach Volleyball Program and founder of the Sydney Beach Volleyball School. At the Olympic Games in London 2012 his team reached the 9th position. He is currently studying the International Master of Sport Management.