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3 Sponsorship Proposal Tips.

As a sports marketing agency, we get a lot of sponsorship proposals sent to us. The quality of those proposals differs immensely – from a few lines begging for money to professionally printed and bound prospectus documents.

Unfortunately, the professionally produced proposals usually come from young motor-racing drivers and not sailors.

After a few tough years, sponsorship is showing signs of growing, especially for proporties that can prove their value to brands who are looking for ways to engage disparate audiences. At the top end of the sport of sailing, rights holders who have been working incredibly hard to educate brands about their value are expected to announce big deals in coming weeks, which will be good news for sailing.

But having read another proposal that broke all the new rules of sponsorship seeking, we thought we would reiterate a couple of sponsorship tips that should be kept in mind.

Sponsorship Proposal Tip 1 – Don’t Include Your Budget.

When you walk into a car-dealership and kick the tires and book a test-drive, you might wonder what the production cost of the vehicle is, but of course that is not the amount on the sticker on the wind-shield.

Similarly, the price for your sporting campaign should not be the amount that it will cost you to deliver it. The price, or the amount you ask for, should be a valuation of the benefit that the sponsor will derive from being involved.

Bear in mind that the sponsor is looking for a return on the amount invested that is a multiple of the outlay – if they spend $100,000 then they are looking to get $300,000 or $400,000 worth of value in return.

There may be a time in the negotiation where a sponsor will want to know how the money will be allocated, but showing the equipment and team running costs doesn’t highlight the value of the investment.

Sponsorship Proposal Tip 2 – Invest in Photography.

Photos are great, and many proposals include pictures of racing or the vehicle with space for logos, but we are talking about portraits. Who is the face of the campaign? Who is the guy or girl who is going to be standing on the podium or speaking into a camera?

For sailors this is especailly important. A boat can’t do an interview, no matter how much square footage of branding there is on the sails. Who is the person who is acting as the brand representative and delivering the value to the sponsor away from the race-track at conferences, trade fairs and hospitality events?

Sponsorship Proposal Tip 3 – Go Digital.

In the current environment, there is no excuse not to have a clean, professional looking web presence that is current! Websites with blogs and content management systems (CMS) can be built cheaply and Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin profiles are free.

An athlete or team Facebook page is a way to show that you have a ready-made audience for a sponsor. The insights at the back end of Facebook will also provide you with demographic information about the kind of people that your sponsors will be talking to.

Look for Opportunities.

It’s a tough market out there, but like most downturns in the economy, it presents an opportunity to differentiate your campaign from others. Stop thinking like a sportsperson who needs money and start thinking like a commercial rights holder. Put yourself in the shoes of a marketing director who is not looking to sponsor a boat or a car or a surfboard, but is looking to engage with hard to reach audiences.


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