I thought this might be a good time to blog about sponsorship simply because World Cup Asia 2009 is approaching and that there will be many vendors attending this event, so if your team is keen to find a paintball sponsor, there is no better time than this.
First mistake about acquiring sponsorship: many teams think too lightly of themselves, common thoughts such as: "They are big companies, and we are only starting paintball, why would they want to sponsor us?", "Since its all about results, maybe we should win something first before approaching any sponsors?", "Are we good enough?" Doubts, doubts and doubts... Trust me, there is never a good time to find a sponsor, the sponsors are always out there and its a matter of convincing them and be bold enough to get that sponsor regardless of the sponsorship value. I have heard of teams with no results to show and yet be able to secure some form of sponsorship.
Here are some suggestions:
1) Approach your neighbourhood paintball field. Field owners are likely to award some form of sponsorship in return for some assistance such as marketing, publicity, field errants, etc. These are the people who are most likely to hand off some paintballs in return for some form of work. For example, you can help out to design a poster for the next local tournament in exchange for a bag of paintball? or you can assist to help set up the tournament field before the actual event in exchange for practice paintballs before the tournament.
2) Draft a team profile as a sponsorship proposal. In the proposal, include photos of the team both on and off the field. Sponsors like to know that the team is hanging out together even though they are not playing in the field. Write a short description of the team members which can include occupation of the players, this will give the sponsor an idea of the spending power of the team. So as to devise a win win situation for his products and the team expenditure in training, etc. I have personally come across a team profile that includes strengths such as: Stamina, accuracy, speed, agility...these characteristics are childish, so dont put them in. Be professional. Elaborate what you can do for your sponsor and not the other way round.
3) Never never never ever make bad comments about your sponsorship items. There is this team which managed to get some sponsorship but instead of saying how fabulous these sponsored items are, the team went on the elaborate to other people on how unlucky they are to get sucky items and how they wish they never got them in the first place. Instead of promoting what they are wearing and using, they are giving away bad publicity about the brand. So be glad that you are a sponsored team.
4) Be loyal. Sponsors like loyalty. The longer you stay with the sponsors, the more you will get when times are good. Switching sides is always a no no. It creates that little rivalry and cast doubts over the sponsors if they did the right thing giving you these sponsorships. Chinese has this saying: Never forget your roots. Always remember that you are where you are because someone has given you a chance to prove yourself when you first started.
5) Always thank your sponsors. These might mean nothing to most people but sponsors like to be thank. Always update your sponsors about your ongoings, let them know about your recent results, who you have recruited, when is your next tournament, etc. Keep them in the loop. If there is a team gathering such as a BBQ, invite the sponsor. This might open up to future collaborations once your sponsorship contract ends. Dont apple polish...no one likes it so dont overdo it.