Question about obtaining sponsorship....

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Hellboy31, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Hellboy31

    Hellboy31 Brown Belt

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    For the guys who have corporate sponsors, I got a couple of questions for you...

    1) Can you explain how you acquired these sponsorships? Was it a matter of just making calls and getting the right people on the phone?

    2) Also, is there a minimum grappling level (belt) you should be to start pursuing sponsorships

    3) What was your commitment to the sponsor? Do you just have to wear a patch or something on your gi?

    4) What does the sponsorship entail? Do they cover travel expenses, per diem, or just the price of admission to tournaments?

    Any other info you could provide would be much appreciated as well. Thanks in advance guys!
     
  2. Hellboy31

    Hellboy31 Brown Belt

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  3. SpunK238

    SpunK238 Orange Belt

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    Sponsorship varies so much its ridiculous to try and generalize, but I can give you an example of what some small time sponsorship might look like.

    A friend of mine is a white belt, been training 11 months and wins a lot of local competitions. He's acquired 2 "sponsors". The first sponsor is a small local fight gear company, basically a 1-2 man part-time operation with no store front or anything like that. We were at a competition about 6 months ago and he needed a rash guard to compete, we were trying to scrounge some funds together at the venue and this guy over heard us talking. He gave my friend a rash guard with his company logo on it, win-win situation (free rash guard, free advertising). Other than that the sponsor paid for admission into 1 other competition after that, haven't really heard much since then. Seemed like a big talker that didn't produce much results.

    The second sponsor is a supplement guy. He gives my friend free supplements (actually only 1 supplement, it's not the full gamut like protein, beta alanine, ZMA and anything else he can get him hands on). The sponsor also paid for 1 admission so far. The sponsor video tapes his matches and posts them all over facebook and twitter and claims his supplement is the reason for all my friends success. I personally don't like the guy and I think he's a shady snake oil salesman but he's giving my friend good exposure so whatever. I wouldn't personally do business with him and I have been offered.

    My friend has a huge heart, indomitable spirit and a serious passion to compete, but he's also incredibly poor. People recognize his drive and offer to help out in whatever way they can. The supplement guy wanted to hook me up with his product but had no plans to pay for me to compete because I'm not overly strapped for cash. I'm sure major sponsors have a lot to do with just talking to people and getting your name out there. But anyway, there's one way to go about sponsorship. I would also like to learn more on the subject...
     
  4. akharon

    akharon Blue Belt

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    There was a *fantastic* fightworks podcast on this. It has nothing to do with your ability, and everything to do with your community involvement and outreach. I'd highly recommend you listen to it.
     
  5. akharon

    akharon Blue Belt

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  6. CrazyJHL

    CrazyJHL Brown Belt

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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  7. Brian2

    Brian2 Blue Belt

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    sponsorships change from person to person and from company to company, some just give you some free stuff and some pay for entry fees and give you free stuff.

    But, you really have to have a lot of footage and a decent comp record to get more from a sponsor, or else they really have no incentive to give you anything
     
  8. Jdonw

    Jdonw Green Belt

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    I have a teammate who is sponsored. They are from the female specific companies looking to get into the bjj market, just getting free gear. I guess it helps that she is cute and wins. She is only a blue belt.

    On the other hand, my black belt coach recently received a free gi sponsorship from gameness after selling their stuff in our school for the past 5 years.
     
  9. rowdstar

    rowdstar Orange Belt

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    anything i have been given as a result of bjj competition was due to:

    -who i knew in real life. you would be surprised who has money that you know and if you have heart, a great attitude, are personable and can consistently show them something good for being associated with you, you can get help from them.

    -having medal results at pan ams, abu dhabi trials and other big things. at more than one belt level.

    -taking a chance and asking. there are sooo many bjj and mma companies that if you contact them directly with a good prospectus you can get results.

    for many years i was involved with motorcycle and mnt bike racing. outside industry stuff was hard to get as an amateur, but stuff related to what you are doing is much easier. unless it is the first example and you know someone.

    finally, there are sponsorship clearing houses you can join. you upload your record and such and other can find your data and then you receive offers from there.

    in mnt biking and motorcycling i have had great success with XTRM. i actually think they have a martial arts section as well....

    it can be done, but you gotta be nice, have results and make it worth it for everyone. or marry someone wealthy, hahahaha.
     
  10. AthletcBodyCare

    AthletcBodyCare Orange Belt

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    You are looking at it all wrong. What do YOU have to offer a sponsor?
     
  11. rowdstar

    rowdstar Orange Belt

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    here is a true story on my part.

    i like to soak in epsom salt baths after hard training or some of my other sports. i found a product i like and was paying for it.

    i then found the small company on facebook and friended them and left favorable comments.

    i wrote a favorable review of it on my blog that gets about 1,000 readers a month.

    then one day someone at the company emailed me asking me further about what i do athletically, why i like their product and such.

    we started writing and i received product at cost and no shipping. i mention them as part of my training and recovery in my internet posts about fights and training, leave good comments for them on FB, write a testimonial for their site and i get the deal i get in return.

    but like athletic body care said, i have to give them something. in this case they were a company entirely focused on running and ultra marathons. now people who i would say are arguably more sore from training have exposure. a new market for them. i also have to give them my results, send pics and keep a good personal relationship with them, especially in our email communications.

    all this for something i dont even get for free. but it is a start. and i like the product.

    (i'm not mentioning it here because i'm using it as an example and also dont want anyone poaching them from me right now. )
     
  12. Rocked

    Rocked Brown Belt

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    Exactly, you have to sell yourself to the Sponsor. As well don't just think about gear, supplement, and other sports related sponsors. They get hit up all the time. Go to the hair salons, doctors offices, and those businesses. They are ones you can go to. Your shorts/gi are a billboard. Anyone wants a billboard if the price is right.
     
  13. Hellboy31

    Hellboy31 Brown Belt

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    Thanks guys..... A lot of good info on the thread so far. I definitely understand that it has to be a mutually beneficial arraingment in order to make sense for the sponsor. I'm going to start reaching out to people next week and will update the thread with any progress. Thanks guys!
     
  14. Chalito

    Chalito Purple Belt

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    Really good info in this thread.
     
  15. rowdstar

    rowdstar Orange Belt

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    I also have an electronic and glossy paper resume/prospectus to give out as well. So they have something tangible to work with.

    Basically make yourself a brand and sell it.
     
  16. Freezing Winds**

    Freezing Winds** Green Belt

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    do people come to you looking to get sponsored or do you go to people and ask to sponsor them?

    or both?
     
  17. itslaura2u

    itslaura2u White Belt

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    I think sponsorships for money or having them pay for your tournaments fees are pretty hard to come by these days. But, free product is always nice. Who doesn't want a free gi, rashi guard, athletic body care, etc. The best advice I would give to anyone who wants a sponsor (or has one and wants to make sure they keep the sponsorship) is to compete a lot, win, and videotape your fights. Put together a highlight or something. Also, always be loyal to your sponsor, i.e., don't also have another sponsor from a competing company or have a gi sponsor and then wear a totally different gi at a tournament. They do notice. Another thing I would suggest is to be very gracious when they offer you things. Take only what you need. Don't try to get all sorts of stuff free so you can sell it and make money (I have seen it done and the person got dropped). Another thing I believe they look for is if you are a fitting image for their product. Are you nice to everyone at tournaments, are you a good "winner" and "loser," is your name out there, are you humble? It's funny though, because I know a lot of really, really good competitors land they don't have sponsors. I think it is harder these days to get a sponsor due the economy.
     
  18. AbbyBJJ

    AbbyBJJ Orange Belt

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    I 100% agree with everything you said. It's really hard to get sponsors right now. The market is saturated with grapplers who want sponsors, so you need something to set you apart. It could be an amazing tournament record, a popular blog, or anything that makes you different.
     
  19. micphi

    micphi White Belt

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    I just read that Fight! is going to have an article in their December issue about marketing yourself as a fighter. It's a bit of a wait, but I'm sure it'll have some sound advice.
     
  20. jaysculls

    jaysculls Purple Belt

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    this!
     

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