Tuesday 26 August 2008

A new way of getting sponsorship money

With the 2008 Beijing Olympics now over and all the top sporters home, it is a good time to reflect on the hot issue of funding and money for top sporters.

Is it enough? Are governments doing enough to support their sporting talent? Why do sporters doing individual sports generally have a harder time finding sponsors than team sporters or clubs?

Being a top sporter is a career, in fact it is more than a 5 day a week job, it is a 7 day a week profession. In order to compete at the level that is needed to win a medal in the Olympics, a top sporter is required to work at their sport constantly. This requires funds otherwise a top sporter is forced to go out to work in order to earn a living and then consequently can't focus on their sport anymore.

Funding can come from different sources, the government supports a certain percentage of its top sporters, by offering sports grants. "A-status" is granted by the Olympic committees to certain sporters who are in the top 20 world rankings, but this is dependent upon those sporters attaining and maintaining certain goals in their sport and delivering top results on a continual basis.

What happens when they are injured or having an off month? They loose the funding, so they have to go out to work, hence they can't train as much and as a result they slip even further down the rankings, standing no chance of regaining their status and funding.

When it is available, this funding is hardly sufficient to support the top sporter, beyond expenses to take part in a few top international events, but more often than not the top sporter needs to supplement their income with a part-time job or coaching, which takes them away from the training field.

Government are leaning more and more on business and industry to cover the gap in funding which is required to produce Olympic champions. But business has an agenda, they want to be associated with a winning team/icon/brand, someone who will give them a short term lift in brand awareness and sales, they are driven by short term gains. However top sporters and sponsorship deals should be seen as a long term investment but businesses need short term gain.

Teams have an easier time of it than individual sporters. Companies and brands are far more likely to sponsor a team. They view their investment as spread over perhaps 11 to 30 players as opposed to being reliant on one sporter performing well on the day. In a team perhaps you may have a few players having an off day, but the team may still win on the day. A marathon runner or singles squash player is not allowed by the sponsor to have an off day.

There are exceptions to this rule of course, Tiger Woods may get help from his caddy but otherwise he is delivering the results all by himself. David Beckham has had many an off day but still makes millions from sponsorship deals, but these are exceptions not the norm and these people are brands in their own right.

So what if you are an upcoming singles badminton player, or marathon runner or a team/club with no manager or marketing help to source a sponsor and arrange a sponsorship deal, how can you get the sponsorship money you so despirately need to keep training and keep competing to reach your potential?

This is one of the reasons I created http://www.e-sporters.com/ to try and help solving this issue by making sure sporters can find what they need and be found if they are looking for something. Sporters and sponsors can, at no cost find each other through this professional sports community site.

By registering on the site, sporters and their team and clubs can promote themselves, their level, their achievements, their photos and YouTube video promotion about themselves, job vacancies, their events or match schedules AND indicate that they are looking for sponsors.

More importantly, individual sporters who are looking for sponsorship can find each other through the site and create a "multi-disciplinary virtual team" that the sponsors can invest in, ie. a team could consist of a marathon runner, a rower, a badminton player and a free style skier but all with a connection ie. the same gym or living in the same town or having the same condition trainer - sponsors can then choose from teams, clubs or multi-disciplinary teams to sponsor based on their profile information and promotion videos. There is no cost to find each other via the site, but in order to connect the sponsor will have to pay for advanced membership.

Register on http://www.e-sporters.com/ and find and be found and create a support network that helps you achieve your sporting goals.

Note: ESPORTERS Ltd also awards 10% of its earnings to grass roots sports charities.

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