Landing a big sponsorship deal can be a great feeling for a sports tournament and event owner, but for many that can be a difficult task depending on your experience, connections and size and scope of your event. Often times it’s easier to start by targeting a number of smaller sponsors and vendors, but in either case the below top 5 sports event sponsorship tips should get you started along the right path to help bring in more revenue and entertainment for your next tournament!
Develop a Sponsorship Kit
The first thing I would recommend for landing your next sports event sponsorship is to have a well thought out and designed sponsorship kit to distribute to potential interested companies. The more you can get them interested in your event or series of events while answering their priority questions before they need to ask them the better. The more professionally you can present it is key as well, as first impressions go along way and it can be a reflection of your entire company and how you do business.
Short list of important information to include in a sports event sponsorship deck:
- An overview of your event or series, dates, locations, etc.
- History of the event or series
- Number of expected total foot traffic between athletes and fans they’ll have access to on-site
- Your online statistics if you plan to promote them through your website, email or social media
- Known demographics of your athletes such as age, sex, race, average income, and other relevant data you might have access to or can get
- What you can offer for them to activate, such as setting up a tent on-site, having their logos on event tees, email blasts you can send, etc.
- General pricing for those activations
Regardless of the size of your event, the low hanging fruit for securing sponsors and vendors tend to be of the local variety. Local businesses may be able to offer a lot more due to them having significantly less expense in activating at your event. Sponsors have a lot of expenses when traveling, same as event owners, from shipping product costs to extended staffing, hotel costs, rental cars and other factors impacting their bottom line that they wouldn’t have to incur locally, possibly expanding their ability to assist you at a higher level.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to small mom and pop businesses along with the major corporations who may have offices in your area, you never know who may be interested and just like all sales it’s typically a numbers game. We typically start with an introductory email or phone call with general info about the event date, location and size and scope to relay, then set up a meeting send over a sponsorship deck and discuss details.
Develop a Relationship
If you really want to find sponsors who will want to keep coming back year after year, developing long term relationships is a must. Ask them what their goals are, what they’re looking to accomplish at your event, and help them make it a reality. Returning vendors means you have less work to do the next year, or get off to a better start, so make it a priority to develop a personal and mutually-beneficial relationship with your sponsors that will pay big dividends long term.
Get listed on Sponsorship Websites
If your event is developed to a point where you feel confident it’s worth a strong look from sponsors either locally or nationwide, you may want to try and list it on one of the many event sponsorship websites out there. Without recommending any one in particular, just googling “sponsor my event” will present you with a variety of options you can consider, some free and others for a small fee or commission. It may take some time to fill out, but I do know organizations who’ve benefited greatly from sponsorship websites bringing them awareness.
No money? No problem.
Many businesses out there would love to be a part of your event, but may not have the budget for doing so depending on what you’re asking for, especially for smaller events where it’s harder to justify the spending. Providing an avenue for in-kind sponsors to get involved is a strategy we highly recommend, both because it can bring in value for you as an event owner to provide freebies to your players and fans, or use to cut expenses for your event depending on the offer, but also because it can lead to a bigger relationship long term. We have had many “free” sponsors come one and return the next year as a major paid partner due to their experience, especially with niche sports where many brands don’t know what to expect.
These are just a few tips that should get you started in trying to bring in more sponsors for your next tournament or event, but we’d love to hear from others creative ideas worth sharing or adding ot the conversation below!