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Amateurs: How to Pursue Sponsorship

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  • Amateurs: How to Pursue Sponsorship

    Hi all,

    This year has been a rebuilding one for me with Franklin's hock surgery etc., but I am looking to the future with great excitement and even some lofty but possibly realistic goals!!

    Has anyone here been successful at acquiring product sponsors as an amateur athlete? Have any tips for how to go about it? Are there any companies that are particularly supportive of non-traditional athletes in the sport?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!!

    Last edited by clivers; Dec. 21, 2012, 12:31 PM.

  • #2
    An amateur can't have sponsors per USEF rules. You would have to declare pro status once you got a sponsor.

    Edit, nevermind... Just realized you're in Canada. Not sure of the rules there. Best of luck to you!
    Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by GingerJumper View Post
      An amateur can't have sponsors per USEF rules. You would have to declare pro status once you got a sponsor.

      Edit, nevermind... Just realized you're in Canada. Not sure of the rules there. Best of luck to you!
      I wouldn't mind declaring pro etc if needed, but I would still remain an amateur in the true sense of the word as I have a full time day job outside of horses


      • #4
        In the UK companies have realised that actually amateurs work harder for less $$$ to promote their companies.

        Firstly well triangulated social media is a must - Facebook, Twitter and a website. They must be professional, interesting and work together to get the maximum amount of coverage.

        A really good example is Shoestring Eventing who competes at 2* level and work hard promoting themselves and keeping everything up to date with videos, pictures and a blog.

        Once you have this up and running with followers and coverage then apply to companies which you already have a relationship with. A power point presentation can look great - make it interesting and what you can offer to the company. The whole thing should be geared about what you can offer and how. This can then be backed up with statistics about how many people look at your website, follow on Twitter etc.

        Networking is really useful, being introduced to companies who have new products or services that you can promote. Friends and family can often be a good point of contact and make sure people know you are ultra reliable and hard working.

        I think the UK is a step ahead of the USA in terms of riders promoting themselves especially at the lower levels so have a look and see how a few of them do it. Stealth marketing through forums is always pretty useful as does you no harm to put up videos, photos and competition reports in order to get a wider interest from people.

        Team Fredericks are all about the marketing but I feel their website is messy though it has lots of interest so worth a look and then they back this up with FB and Twitter. William Fox Pitt has an excellent website, Facebook and Twitter. They are interesting and kept very up to date.

        If you can write a blog for a well known website this works pretty well.

        So basically its all about coverage, being open and interesting and working hard for your potential sponsors.

        If you need some statistics about eventing - British Eventing has an excellent page about it to help promote the sport. http://www.britisheventing.com/secti...26+Advertisers
        There is also an excellent PDF about sponsorship which has more facts about the number of people who ride etc. It would be worth looking to see if USEF does something similar and has statistics?
        The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.


        • Original Poster

          Time Piece

          Thanks!! That was a great post!!

          I did start a facebook page for my farm last night and low and behold 100 likes this am!! yay! We do have a website as well though i never put a "counter' on it. I felt pretty awkward making a page about "myself" as a rider so hence the farm sites. Think I should change it? I think the shameless self-promotion piece is going to be the hardest for me. Speaking intelligently about a product etc. should come fairly easily as my non-horsey life has given me plenty of opportunities to hone leadership and communication skills...


          • #6
            I think Shoestring Eventing will admit that she does not find it easy putting herself out there but she has made it interesting and varied by just updating it with her progress. I think it also gets easier with time and practice. Shoestring Eventing has even won an ESMA so proves what is possible!

            With regards for what you can do:
            Leafleting at shows/events
            Wearing promotional clothing
            Having it on all your blurb read out by the commentator
            Writing a blog/testimonials for their websites and photos.
            Keeping them up to date with progress.
            Highlighting their product on social media.
            etc etc

            Highlighting to sponsors that you are the average rider who works full time also works well. After all you are their market audience so think about how you get to know about products and where you see them to help with that aspect.
            Also explain what makes you slightly different - level of competition, skill sets, something you are involved in etc.

            The final thing I will highlight is that journalists are naturally lazy - if you can write well crafted news pieces about yourself for local press you will be surprised how much coverage you can get and what relationships you can build up. If successful, they will then ring you if they have a space for a small item. We have a few local equestrian magazines and always write a few items to highlight upcoming events or results. Great coverage to a different audience all for free!
            The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.


            • #7
              Make sure it is what you want--the obligation to be the "face" of a product and obliged to be "for sale" to some degree, as well as accepting the financial support. It is a double-edged sword. But good luck!
              Click here before you buy.