Thursday, December 11, 2008

Racing Sponsorship Wanted!

This post is for all you young guns out there wanting to get sponsored by a big team or bike company. I’ve seen quite a few rider resumes come through in my day and 90% of them are all wrong . Many of these resumes contain a long list of race results, personal goals and photos. Most sponsors don’t really care about your results unless you’re Robbie McEwen or an upcoming superstar. Of course good results will tell your sponsors that you won’t embarrass them and make their product look completely pathetic, but what they’re looking for is you show that you’re in a position of influence to promote their brand and to be a good ambassador. Position your sponsorship resume on describing what you can do for them, not what you want from them. Talk about what you do to give back to the sport of cycling (i.e. involvement with your local club, if you do any coaching or mentoring, do you write any articles or race write-ups, etc). Definitely highlight your future goals and past results, but don’t place the emphasis of your content on them. Tell your potential sponsors how you can help them add value and image to their brand. Sponsorship money comes from the company’s marketing dollars and brand recognition is what’s all about. You need to market yourself as an actively involved person in the cycling/racing community and how you’ll be a good ambassador for the logo written on your jersey. Sure good results will get them recognized as a winning brand, but that’s not on the top of their list. Another good idea is to look at the team you’re sending your resume to and try to figure out where they’re lacking and how you would fit in. Do they lack climbers? Do they lack sprinters? Are these any of your strengths? If that’s the case, then put some emphasis on that point and tell them how you could help them as a team .

I’m sorry to say, many of these sponsors don’t really care much about you (from what I can tell, teams like Drapac-Porsche is one of the few philanthropists out there - and they do have excellent riders as well). You are just a vehicle for most sponsors to market their brand. That’s the whole business model that cycling is built upon. As long as you’re not embarrassing them, your results don’t matter all that much. There are a tonne of cyclist out there with good results. How will you separate yourself from the rest?

Last but not least, don’t expect a free ride. You might get some free kit, a bike, some costs covered, whatever. But, very rarely does that come with no strings attached. You’ll have to do promo events, bike shows, group rides with sponsors, etc. This is how the sponsors get their return on investment out of you. And why shouldn’t they?