The Cape Epic is a major event with great publicity and massive
coverage in all forms of media. Thousands of people participate, work and
watch the Epic every year. Add to that the promise of an Epic adventure with
tales of suffering, endurance, courage, disappointment and victory and you
have the makings of a world class drama. Sponsorship is a two way street where
both parties are looking to benefit. For the winners it is a bit easier to get
sponsorship because all they have to do is look good, hang around the front of
the race and try to get onto the podium. But just because you are not a podium
potential doesn’t mean that you must give up. You just need to be a bit more
creative and look for an angle that will work.
Your starting point is to think of what it is that you will give the
sponsor. They will appreciate you approaching them with that attitude, rather
than the bent knee folded hands attitude that they get from everyone else.
First you need to decide who would be potential sponsors. You need to think
of people who you know and could approach. They would be in senior positions,
preferably with an interest in cycling like MDs, or marketing, advertising or
sales executives. Think of companies that would benefit from and fit in with
the average endurance cycling crowd. Look at which products and companies are
advertised in your favourite cycling magazine.
Secondly you need to consider what it is that you can offer to this sponsor
and how and what marketing medium you can access. There are many many ways to
get exposure and market your sponsors brand to the market. Once again think
about who you know and what you have access to, advertising is no longer just
TV, radio and print. It could be clubs, e-mail, newsletters, schools, varsity,
internet, newspapers, magazines, referrals, sales leads etc. We are living in
very different and changing times. Technology is enabling all sorts of new
marketing media, ever heard of facebook & myspace, youtube, social bookmarking?
Well some progressive companies have, and they are reaping the rewards, those
that have not need help. So think about all the different aspects that you can
use and how they will work together. Try to quantify this to show how much
value you will be creating for the sponsor.
Thirdly you need to decide what you want out of this deal. You need to be
specific and bold in what you ask for. Rather ask for too much than too
little, because if they cut a large pie in half you will still have more than
if it was a small pie cut in half. So think about exactly what you need .
Lastly put it all together in a neat clean and concise presentation. It is
best if you can make contact with people and present in person. That way you
become real and they can feel and see the excitement of what they will be
As I write this our current sponsorship has come to an end, shock and
horrors and our first instinct is, oh no it was all too good to be true. But
that’s the trap of, I am a nobody and nobody will sponsor me, instead think of
who you are, who you know and what you can do for them. Luckily we had
anticipated this and run a couple of scenarios, and lined up some backup
plans. With our previous experience and contacts we were soon working on a new
plan. Combined with the right place at the right time and we were back in
business with the promise of a new sponsor with new opportunities.
Why sponsor a bunch of average guys, well here it is from the horses mouth.
From the Blog of Brandon Els, Probike MD, “Podium positions are important
for sponsors, but let’s face it, the top riders are there to be brand
ambassadors predominantly to the media and their talent and commitment puts
them in a position where they do not have to pay for their bikes and gear.
However, some progressive thinking sponsors are seeing the benefits of
spreading their brand beyond the podium contenders and infiltrating the middle
of the racing pack – the commercial sweet-spot where numbers are bigger and
race experiences are virtually guaranteed to be repeated at weekend ‘braai’
banter. And what better for a cycling brand’s credibility than to be praised
far away from the race environment, where peer recommendations undoubtedly
carry more weight than advertising.”
So if you are really serious about your riding, passionate about mountain
biking and willing put some time and effort in. Then get out there and work
those contacts, because companies want to advertise and market their products
and you can help them do that.
Team BBB Sponsorship