It’s my goal to help new and established athletes take their careers to the next level. In this first installment I would like to define what I have learned about sponsorship over the course of my career and to illustrate what it should mean to you.
I do not pretend to know everything. In fact sponsorship and marketing is always growing and changing. You can either choose to be on the wave, ahead of it or be left in its wake.
Lets face it when you’re young you want to be sponsored for the FREE STUFF! There is nothing better than the UPS guy showing up on your doorstep 3 times per week with packages of the latest and greatest. Unfortunately being sponsored defines a lot of athletes. The first words that come out of their mouths are that they are sponsored and that somehow boosts them to the top tier of the ladder.
Dave riding the North Shore.
When I started as an athlete 18 years ago I figured out that sponsorship is nothing more than learning to be a great sales person for any company. I don’t think that most people hold a high regard for sales people, especially the type that call during dinnertime to try and sell you a new new cell phone plan or low interest credit card, but without them there would be no sponsorship at all.
When you represent a company they expect that you will use, test and speak positively about their product while you’re out winning races or coming in last. In return for this they pay you in the form of product or cash or both.
So I ask you, if you owned a company who would you sponsor?
You obviously need someone with results or good exposure. They don’t need to be the best but they have to be consistent. I would rather sponsor a person who is at every race, every after party and every trail day than a guy who shows up wins everything and then goes home. I know a lot of the latter and they are always wondering why they don’t have companies who want to work with them, even at the Olympic Level.
In his backyard.
It is also important to note who your audience is. I know a lot of athletes who think that newbies are losers who don’t know how to do anything yet. A newbie is the most important person you can connect with. These people want to get into the sport. They are seeking information and will listen if you make an effort to teach them about your sport. These people have a million awesome ways to spend their hard earned dollars. The fact they want to spend them in your sport should make you excited to help them. If more people are in the sport and spending money at the shops then there is more money available for sponsorship. If you can’t create sales for your brand then the brand will not be able to support you. It is that simple!
Stay tuned to for more insight into the world of sponsorship.
About Dave Norona
Dave is a professional adventure athlete who has traveled the world to challenge some of its toughest races. In the past 18 years Dave has cycled, run, kayaked, in-line skated, and cross-country skied throughout Greenland, Alaska, China, Africa, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and North and South America. Though the list is long, here are just of few of his accomplishments: 15 Sea 2 Summit Solo Wins, 2 – 24 Hour MTB Solo Wins, 4 Eco Challenges, 8-Mind Over Mountain Adventure Solo Wins, 7th Place 2004 Adventure Racing World Championships, 10th 30-day 3000km New Zealand Mizone-Endurazone, one of only 5 people in the world to ever XC ski across the 1800km Iditarod Dog Sled Trail. Dave has raced in over 400 events throughout his career, his passion will excite you to get involved in your own wild adventures. He currently writes for the North Shore News and Vancouver Metro and Coastlines Magazine. Dave also rips the trails on the North Shore, backcountry skis, rides and races moto, snowmobiles, kite surfs… You get the picture.
Visit noronalife.com for more info.