O Opinions & Commentary

Landing a Sponsor Requires a Detailed Approach

Sebastian Vettel powers the Red Bull RB6 around Circuit Gilles Villeneuve during the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.When preparing your race vehicle for the season ahead you make sure to acquire as much information as possible in order to make the right decisions when it comes to replacing or upgrading components. The process involved in recruiting sponsors works in much the same way.

You need to first understand what potential sponsors want to achieve through their support of your race team. Is it appearances with you or your race vehicle at their business location, tickets to events so they can entertain customers and employees, or just simply the exposure they will get through team prepared media releases and in front of brand-loyal spectators who attend your racing events? The most likely answer is that it will be a combination of all those things, plus a few added components to your year-round approach that will not only pique their interest but will have them coming back year after year.

After understanding that there is more to a sponsorship agreement than simply putting a name on a car, the next step is to collect accurate information regarding the spectators who attend the events you participate in. That includes how many spectators attend, where they travel from, average age and occupation, as well as a few other basic statistics that will allow a sponsor to evaluate whether your opportunity is the right fit for them.

Once you’ve acquired the necessary information it is then time to compile that information into a small document that is easy to understand for someone who may have never attended a racing event before. The key elements to a sponsorship proposal are:

Title Page – Use this area to place a picture of your race vehicle and the title of the document. This should be something that will excite the senses of the person picking it up.

Introduction Letter – This should state what your intentions are for the future of your race team and how a sponsor will benefit from being involved with your team.

Benefits of Sponsorship – A point form rundown of all the things they will receive as part of their involvement with your team. For example: local media exposure, hospitality opportunities, car and driver appearances, spectator information, where and when you compete and charitable tie-ins.

About the Team – This page should highlight only the major accomplishments as they relate to your race team and include your contact information.

Each of these things is a vital part of a sponsorship proposal. A document like this, that will only be used to introduce yourself to a potential sponsor, shouldn’t be any more than five pages in length and should include clear pictures, of yourself and your race vehicle, that tell a story about what you do.

Courting of sponsors also requires some self refection in order to make sure that you’re capable of delivering on the things you promise. If you don’t run a professional team then you are not likely to have success in retaining sponsors. When you think of professional you may instantly relate that to the highest level of competition in your sport, but quite simply put, your entire operation must look presentable, from the cleanliness of your race vehicle and transporter, to the way you and your team appear when representing the sponsor.

Realizing that in most cases racers just want to be racers, it is my suggestion that you have a crewmember whose sole responsibility is to take care of things such as writing media releases, aligning your team with a local charity, ensuring your sponsors get pre and post-race information and that all of the deliverables you have promised are executed.

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