As a motorsports racer with a real business, landing sponsorships is the core of the business side of your career. Beyond knowing which brands and companies to partner with, it’s also valuable to know when to sign a sports sponsorship contract.
The road from anonymous-weekend-hobbyist to full-on signed sponsored racer is a long one. Here’s an outline for you to follow of when to make your first connections all the way through day one of your contracted partnership:
Sponsorships are borne out of in-person relationships. Connect with brands you are familiar with and that are a good fit for your brand online, at races, or at conventions. If you’re going the trade show route, make sure to do your homework and show up ready for conversations. This means RESEARCH the company and get to know who makes up their customer-base and what they are currently marketing and how you can help expand their reach and get more sales.
You won’t want to jump in with a sponsorship deck right away. You just want to connect with the real person who is your contact and start a relationship that leads you to eventually sharing a marketing deck. According to Drive Sports Marketing, these initial conversations should start around 8-9 months before your event. This means focusing on the next year’s season. Don’t go to SEMA or PRI trying to get a sponsorship within 1-2 months…
Serious Sponsorship Negotiations
Around the 3-4 month mark, your conversations with sponsors should shift from introduction and ideas to serious sponsorship pitches. This is when you’ve had enough conversations with the brand that they’ve explicitly shared that they would consider sponsoring you – if you can provide them something valuable. Then, once you both agree on how you will help each other, you build a sponsorship proposal so that you can outline a complete business plan, together.
Signing on the Dotted Line
You’ll want to lock in your sponsorships a month or 2 before your big race that way you can get marketing materials, like wrap designs, merchandise, crew uniforms, etc. designed, printed, and installed. So as you can see, sponsorships take a long time to create and finalize. The bigger the company; the more people you need to impress on the corporate ladder.
Standing out among the crowd of potential racers is essential to landing the sponsors you dream of. How can you start? By creating a marketing deck that will WOW them! Sign up for my FREE downloadable guide: