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Monday, July 12, 2010

Sponsorship - The Holy Grail of Paintball

Ask not what your sponsor can do for you...

What is something that every paintball team wants and few have? Sponsors. Sponsorship is the Holy Grail of paintball. If you have sponsors you are considered to be in another class among paintball teams.

Anybody can find a sponsor for his or her paintball team. The one thing you have to keep in mind is that the potential sponsor only cares about one thing, selling more products. Sponsors need to be convinced that investing in your team makes good business sense. Ideally, the company’s name will be “marketed” to a segment of potential customers in a positive manner, which will result in more exposure and sales. Welcome to the cold, harsh, economically-driven “real” world. It’s all about the bottom line, and most sponsors need to see dollar signs

Since “sponsorship hunting” can be as competitive as a Tournament final, you have to know your strengths and weaknesses in order to devise your “pre-game” strategy.

Before you take the field in your quest for a sponsorship flag, you need to ask yourself some questions. What makes your team different or special? If you were a business owner, what would you want and expect from a team you are sponsoring?

Find (or establish) some unique traits about your paintball squad. If your team doesn’t stand out from the crowd, you are going to find it difficult to attract and maintain sponsors. Ultimately, how can your team benefit a potential sponsor? If you can answer that question you will have a much better chance of finding sponsors.

To avoid being eliminated on the break – so to speak – your first impression (and reputation) must be positive. It’s essential for you to have an information package for potential sponsors that is professional, concise, and clearly identifies the benefits you offer. The package should contain “hard copy” documents and pictures that you can physically hand to business owners and company reps:

1. Team name, logo, home location, website, and contact information (including phone & email)
2. General team history
3. Names, ages and experience of team members
4. Color photographs of each team member
5. Practice schedule and home playing location
6. Tournament / public events schedule
7. Current equipment list of each team member
8. Team achievements / awards / press clippings, etc.
9. List of current sponsors
10. Team goals

This seems like a lot of information but if you don’t prove to the sponsor that you are serious, you won’t be taken seriously. Put the package together and present it to the owner of your home field. Your home field owner is the most natural sponsorship candidate, and best audience for your first presentation. Hopefully you’ll dazzle him with your brilliance and he’ll sign on the dotted line. Then, start pursuing other business owners by presenting the package to anyone who can contribute to your team, no matter how small the contribution.

Be prepared to be turned down over and over again. Securing sponsors is like securing a place on the podium at a tournament – but never give up. The reason that most people are unsuccessful in signing sponsors is because they are focused only on what the sponsor can do for them. Wrong! If you want sponsors, ask not what the sponsor can do for you; ask what you can do for your sponsor.