Cycling And Sports Sponsorship. How To Obtain Financial And Equipment Support

Would you like a little more support in your cycling?

Whether it's financial support or someone to provide some equipment cycling (like many other sports) is an expensive activity to be involved with. Bikes are getting more and more expensive as manufacturers revolutionize the bicycle and all it takes is one single crash to write off a set of shorts.

Wouldn't it be great if someone helped provide you sponsorship? This article answers the question; How to get yourself sponsored?

As a cyclist looking for sponsorship there are realistically two options;

Cadel Evans- Team BMC. A cycling billboard for BMC

The Swiss BMC bicycle company sponsors a professional cycling team which rides with their company name as title sponsor.
The Swiss BMC bicycle company sponsors a professional cycling team which rides with their company name as title sponsor. | Source

Option 1. Get a place on a sponsored team.

There seems to be an abundance of sponsored cycling teams. Some are local clubs that just happen to have businesses willing to provide them with a little assistance and others are specific race teams whose purpose in many ways is to obtain results.

Many riders send off a list of their riding palmares (racing results) to a sponsored team in the hope of obtaining their assistance. A small number of these riders will be successful based on the results however not all sponsors are looking for a rider that simply won a race last season. That helps, however you have to consider- What Can I Offer A Sponsor?

  • Results help show a sponsors name in local media and cycling press and make the sponsor look professional and successful?
  • Are you involved with a local cycling club/ team?
  • Do you host a blog or website to help publicise a sponsor?
  • Are you prominent on Facebook or Twitter to give positive publicity?
  • What future do you consider you have in the sport? (Make them buy into your cycling legacy)
  • What strengths do you have as a rider and how can these help the team/ sponsor?
  • What can you do to help gain publicity for a sponsor?
  • How can you add additional resources to a current sponsored team?

Product placement on cycling jerseys at the Amgen Tour Of California

Prominent placement of Rabobank, Saxo Bank and Ouch company logo's through cycling
Prominent placement of Rabobank, Saxo Bank and Ouch company logo's through cycling | Source

Option 2. Go out and find sporting sponsorship yourself

If you don't like the idea of riding for a team you could always go out and chase up sponsorship yourself? You could either look for sponsorship as an individual or as a team of riders.

There are a number of Internet sites which allow you to post a profile of yourself/ club/ team in search of sports related sponsorship which allow you to show your interest to potential companies specifically looking to sponsor sports teams.

How to find and attract suitable sponsors

Understand what you can offer a sponsor as a cycling team?

How to get yourself sponsored

How could a potential sponsor benefit from a partnership with your organisation? It may be that you can help position advertising in a unique place for their marketplace as cyclists are effectively moving advertising boards. A key consideration is how your organisation is perceived by a potential sponsor and how what you can offer could benefit them in terms of publicity and financially.

Try not to consider what you are willing to offer a potential sporting sponsor and instead look at what they would expect from you as a potential sponsor- there are often big differences between what is on offer and what a sponsor would require to ensure their involvement in your cycling organisation. Also consider whether a local or national scale will be most beneficial.

Narrow down the areas of sponsors that would be suitable

A simple list of ideas for a regional cycling team might look something like

  • XXX Local Bike Shops
  • XXX Bike Manufacturers (Based in the region)
  • XXX Local Sports Nutrition Suppliers
  • XXX Local Restaurants
  • XXX Local Brewery/ Drinks Companies..... and i'm sure you can think of plenty more.

Once you've compiled a list of companies you need to consider how best to approach a potential sponsor for your cycling team. Generally physical contact has a greater rate of sales than an email or a phone call however it is all dependant on how much time you have to dedicate to a search. Another consideration is to approach local marketing agencies who may have clients looking to invest an advertising budget while looking at alternative options.

Match your objectives with those of a suitable sponsor and explain them clearly to a potential sponsor.

  1. Tell a potential team sponsor about your sporting organisation, ensuring that they are aware of exactly what you do in terms of sporting appearance, prominence and positioning.
  2. Provide details of what is on offer in terms of sponsorship of your organisation. Are you offering the opportunity for a sponsor to have title naming rights to your organisation (Make sure you're happy if this would be the arrangement) or are you offering various different sponsorship options; whether it's specific place on your team jersey and shorts, bicycle, team website or vehicle. Alternately if you're running an event you need to have considered the prominence of the sponsor logo on any marketing materials, advertising boards and media coverage.
  3. Emphasise the benefits to the organisation of what you are offering. In many cases the use of a companies logo will be about more than just public relations. It may be that a company wants to increase product awareness in a particular area which will be potentially enhanced
  4. Be prepared to offer some compromise and provide some leverage. You may be able to influence the potential sponsor to provide additional sponsorship under certain conditions. However in an uncertain financial climate they may be unwilling to provide the level of sponsorship you assumed possible. Always be flexible.

Product placement on cycling kit- mountain biking

Product placement on cycling clothing
Product placement on cycling clothing | Source

The downsides of sports specific sponsorship

Considerations to be aware of when riding for a sponsored team

  • Not all sponsors provide everything you need.

While it might seem very tempting to have a sponsor provide equipment and support. Exactly how much of the money or equipment provided by a sponsor trickles down to the riders? In the case of a local team I know which has a number of very high profile companies as sponsors- only a couple of the top riders actually have their kit provided for them. The rest of the team members have to buy their team clothing at cost price- doesn't seem quite so glamourous now. Just because a team is sponsored doesn't mean the riders receive all the benefits.

  • Sponsors don't always care about their riders

Effectively you are a marketing tool for some companies- not a human being. You might get some free kit, a fancy new bike or even some other costs covered if you're very lucky. Rarely are there no strings attached. You might need to show a presence at bike shows or even do group rides with sponsors to provide a visible return to them on their investment in you.

Always be aware of what a sponsor requires of you before you decide to accept an offer of assistance. Usually if you're up front with them asking their expectations you can then potentially match those with your expectations.

A little about CyclingFitness (Liam)

For 2012 I'll be riding for the

Samcycling Race Team an East Midlands, UK based cycling team. A sponsored team which aims to support local riders while raising brand awareness for the Samcycling.com Internet Retailer.

The Samcycling Race Team has a number of 'sponsors'

Samcycling Internet retailer

Sam's Bike Wear

Zero3 SPA who have supplied Based layers (Oxyburn) and casual clothing (Worik)

C Originals Cycling Helmets have provided their SV888 Cycling Helmets for the team

If you're interested in becoming involved as a sponsor then please contact CyclingFitness@Hubpages

C Originals Helmets for the Samcycling race Team

The Samcycling Race Team in action at Victoria Park. More photo's available at the A and H Photography Blog
The Samcycling Race Team in action at Victoria Park. More photo's available at the A and H Photography Blog | Source

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