Sponsorship can help you achieve your competitive goals and support you financially. And it’s easier to obtain than you may think – as Dr Eric MacIntosh, Professor of Sport Management at the University of Ottawa, explains.

  • Athletes are particularly attractive to sponsors as they have a broad public appeal.
  • Understanding your own skillset and qualities will allow you to target the right type of sponsorship.
  • Researching a potential sponsor prior to approaching them is essential.

How sponsorship can help you

Sponsorship ultimately comes down to supporting your athlete career in exchange for helping to create awareness for the sponsoring organisation(s).

Athletes like you are a great way for organisations to generate buzz, excitement and awareness for their product or services. Why? Because you are the story leading up to, during and after a sports event – you connect to the consumer.

Your presence, your charisma and your performance help generate product interest and consumer involvement – so do not undersell yourself. Indeed, research has shown that consumers are interested in, and connect with, the athlete story above almost all other messages.

Consumers are interested in, and connect with, the athlete story above almost all other messages.

Identify your qualities

Before approaching a sponsor, you first need to understand what characteristics and attributes you have as an athlete, and what attractive elements your sport has to offer.

Your successes off the field, the qualities you have as an athlete (for instance, power, speed, endurance, technical quality, resilience) are important considerations when you approach a potential sponsor.

Hear from an industry expert about what brands are looking for in athletes.

Make your approach

Once you understand the benefits you can offer and have identified a potential source of sponsorship, you need to be able to approach the right person in the organisation. Determine how the organisation is structured and obtain the email and title of the person you want to connect with.

The goal of the first approach is to have a sit-down meeting with the person in charge. Be professional, innovative and creative, particularly during your first contact. And again, remember not to sell yourself short!

Want to learn more about how to contact a sponsor and build your brand? Check out Athlete365’s Personal Brand Toolkit which talks about sponsorship and more.