How to find sponsors to fund your pro sports career is one of the issues many athletes need to solve. Developing a social media fan base is essential in achieving that goal.
Finding sponsors to fund your professional sports career is an essential ingredient for a successful career because you need to pay for travel and hospitality, training, equipment, food and much more.
Therefore, you should play an active role in providing a platform for your potential sponsors because that allows them to make them money as well and makes you a more attractive candidate.
How to Find Sponsors to Fund Your Pro Sports Career: Build a Social Media Following
Generally speaking, sponsors don’t give you money just because you are such a nice guy or girl – their goal is to see a return on their investment – and you need to put in the time and effort to provide a platform and customer base (e.g. social media followers).
You can do this by using various social media platforms such as Facebook ,Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube or your own website with a blog feature. Doing this doesn’t cost you much money but a lot of time and effort if you want to do it right, but why?
How to Find Sponsors: Social Media Presence
In order to gain followers you constantly have to provide high-quality content in the form of text, pictures and/or videos that your audience wants to see because “quality is king” in the social media realm.
“Nothing worth having comes easy!”
That means you need to know how to produce high-quality pictures and videos and understand how to market them effectively so that you can reach the biggest possible audience in order to build a big social media following – your fan base.
But it’s not just about the numbers because numbers don’t automatically translate into money – it’s about having an engaged social media following that is willing and able to support you on your journey.
Once you have an engaging and sizable social media following you can seek out potential sponsors or they may even approach you.
Sure you can go out there and “pay for followers” but they are most likely fake and hence won’t support you by giving you money or spending money on your sponsor’s products or services.
If you have e.g. 50,000 followers and you market a product or service to them but none of them buys it then your sponsor made $0 on their investment and hence will stop sponsoring you.
How to Find Sponsors: What Are Your Options?
Your job as the athlete is to improve your sports skills, train hard in the gym, work on your mental toughness, eat right, get massages, receive athletic training to prevent or rehab injuries, provide your followers with content constantly and find some time to sleep.
“It’s a full-time job and finding the right mix that works for you is the key to success!”
So the question you have to answer for yourself is “do I really want to commit to doing all of this for a prolonged period of time”?
If your answer is “yes” then you have two options to get this done:
- Be in charge of your own destiny and assemble your own coaching and management team
- Sign with a management company
What’s the difference? There are a few but the key difference is similar to the following analogy: owning a house vs. renting it.
Assembling Your Own Coaching/Management Team
This is often times the tougher option because you assume all the risk but you also maintain control and reap the benefits if you become successful. Assembling your own team allows you to be in control of your image and career and allows you to make changes as you see fit; you maintain control and invest into your future.
This is analogues with deciding you want to own a house – it takes a lot of investment, you have more freedom in the decision-making process and you will eventually own it, which then benefits you in the long run because you can live in it forever.
Sign With A Management Company
This is the easier option but it comes at a price and you need to decide for yourself if paying that price is worth it to you. In a nutshell, the majority of the time you are signing your life away because you are no longer in charge of your own image and destiny since your management company will tell you what to do, what to wear and what events to attend.
On the other hand you don’t need to worry about the business aspects and can focus on the stuff that you like to do.
If we use the housing analogy again as a renter you cannot just do what you want to do. You have to abide by rules of the condo association what you can or cannot do. On the other hand the condo association takes care of things and you don’t need to worry about it anymore but you pay them a maintenance fee.
That depends on what you want and where you see your strengths and weaknesses. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages and only you can decide what’s best for you. Neither option is a sure thing and require a long-term commitment if you want to have a chance for success.
Now back to you. What’s your opinion and what strategies worked for you and why? I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Photographer: Phil Halfmann
Creative & Art Director: Sophia Lenore