Sponsorship has the potential to change every athlete's life...beyond just relieving the financial strain of sport.
Obtaining financial sponsorship is often at the very top of an athlete's priority list when they first start the process of getting sponsored. But there are other hidden benefits to becoming a sponsored athlete.
Sponsorship can reduce the financial strain of participating in sport. The reduction of this financial strain can mean that the athlete may be able to work reduced hours, or not at all. They can focus on their training and events. If they do continue employment, they may be able to set their sights on bigger events or more frequent event participation.
At some stage in their sporting life many athletes find themselves in a catch 22 situation. They are more active in their sporting activities, but to financially support this they need to work.
The time and financial constraints can seriously impinge upon their development as they have to give up some of the time needed to train, travel, compete and plan.
With the right sponsorship, athletes can make their lives easier, but most importantly make their goals more achievable.
Here are some of the more obvious sponsorship benefits
The unexpected benefits of sponsorship
While the obvious benefits are enough for most athletes who have engaged sponsorship there are many other great, unexpected benefits.
Sponsorship widens an athlete's network which can open doors to even more great opportunities. By engaging with businesses they become part of the business world and can develop their professional skills.
Many companies have existing links with media outlets and will be able to connect athletes with the right people to help them increase their media coverage.
Put the brand name Powerbar next to an athlete’s name and straight away there is an assumption that the athlete is successful.
Athletes who are aligned with companies whose values, brand and ethics are similar to theirs further enhance the name they are building for themselves and there is a perception created by this partnership that they are someone who is good at what they do.
Makes it easier to get additional and future sponsors
Once an athlete engages their first sponsor (and all sponsors thereafter) makes it easier for them to engage more sponsors. Through their social media, media and sponsor benefit activities, such as monthly sponsor newsletters, public speaking etc. athletes will have evidence of their commitment to being a great investment.
Develop their professional skillset
Through engaging and servicing sponsors, athlete will create a professional skillset along with their athletic skillset.
The transition from sport into a different career is smoother for athletes who have already made connections and developed the professional skills needed in the next stage of their career. Some athletes actually go on to work with companies who have sponsored them.
Athletes should look at sponsorship as an income stream. Like any income they will have to work for it, and that doesn't mean winning a race or creating a successful event.
Instead, it's about engaging in additional activities that offer a return on the sponsors investment. I.e. doing a presentation at the sponsors annual dinner, sharing their knowledge on a certain topic with the sponsor's staff, or even attending a media opportunity with their sponsors.
Before You Go
Are you ready to learn more about the creating sustainable athlete pathway practices? Check-out the Athlete Pathway Webinar series, created exclusively for athletic directors, educators and advisors.
You can watch the entire series via our YouTube Channel here.