How to Get Sponsored in Disc Golf? Beginners Guide
You are at the top of your game. And you made a name for yourself, earned a decent following. But for what? What would help justify all that hard work and dedication that you have put into the sport to help you get where you are today?
You have guessed it, a sponsorship.
Individual sponsorships have been around as long as competitions and tournaments themselves. Sports these days are as much about skills as they are about exchanging deals and being a profit-driver. Thus, it is harder than ever to land a sponsorship.
So today, we are going to look at how you, an aspiring disc golfer, can land a successful sponsorship and with that, gain an insight into how they are dealt with from the sponsor’s side.
What Is Sponsorship?
A powerful marketing technique, it consists of a contract between a company (the sponsor) and an individual, club, or an event (the sponsored). This exists mainly to raise brand awareness on the sponsor’s part and the sponsored lands a source of financing.
Sponsorship comes in many forms, the most common of which are monetary or providing merchandise for use. Disc companies, for example, supply sponsored players with a periodic allotment of discs and apparel. They also offer performance-based stipends, pay the competition fees, and provide transport reimbursements.
The big-named disc golfers are offered their own line of signature discs, and thus, earn a royalty on every disc sold.
And the sponsorship model for disc golf has evolved to the stage where players can sign multiple-year contracts and make a very decent living, tour all over the country, vehicles, hotels, all expenses paid by the sponsor.
Disc golf sponsorships are also available from clothing, disc golf sets, footwear, and other sportswear companies. Even your local disc golf gear shop may offer one. The type of sponsorship, of course, vary from sponsor to sponsor, the size of the sponsor being the determinant.
How Do We Get Sponsored?
It is important we realize that sponsorships are not handed out to just about anyone. You need to be noticed, portray passion, gain exposure. Sounds rudimentary, we know, but that is how the road to a successful sponsorship starts.
Obviously, the bigger tournaments are where we would traditionally get the most exposure, but we should not forget the local sponsorship opportunities. Performance is key. Perform better than your peers do. Once you start climbing the leaderboards, you start making a name for yourself.
Trust us when we say this, people notice. Companies will notice. We never know who is watching.
Competing in high stakes tournaments is just one of the ways to be noticed. We see many sponsored players who are sponsored because they are great ambassadors to the sport and the sponsoring company, regardless of whether they play locally or internationally.
The key takeaway from here is that it is not always about your skill level; rather, it is more about the passion that you showcase both on and off the field, and how much of that passion are you willing to dedicate to the game and your sponsoring company.
The Minimum Requirements
These requirements are not necessarily true for all sponsorships but exist to give you an idea of how to get started. You have to play and earn a commendable place in competitions. An active social presence is necessary, and you must display passion and excitement for the sport.
A sponsor company looks for individuals who are passionate about the sport, express excitement for their discs, and, last but not least, spread the message about the events they participate in.
The Fine Line between What We Should Do and What We Should Not
We compiled some notes to help you pave the way for sponsorship programs. These are some general guidelines and should thus, always be maintained.
Do Not Text
You cannot start a professional relationship by texting someone, be it on social media platforms or simple messaging. Companies display professionalism at the highest degree and thus expect as such in return.
For your local companies, you can set up a simple meeting with the owners or marketing heads. You even take them out for lunch if you are on good terms but do make all approaches with a business mindset.
No one wants to be around a person who is hard to approach. You have to take the initiative and be friendly with everyone around you. People will come up to you on their own accord and ask you out for games.
Do not talk when players are about to throw. Donate time and energy to your local club. Pick up the trash after a game or training session. Help out the newbies.
As we stated earlier, sponsorship comes in many sizes and forms. Only professions at the top of their games get monetary compensations and are invited to signature events. When starting a new relationship with a company, be happy with what they offer, even if it is as simple as a couple of T-shirts and a new set of equipment.
Nurturing is key, and with time, the relationship grows stronger. Slowly and steadily, you start making your mark in the eyes of the audience.
Instead of reaching out to disc golf companies or teams, for starters, reach out to your local community partners such as restaurants, pubs, and other small businesses.
Know the Rules
Sponsorships are all about expanding brand image and exposure. Thus, sponsoring companies overlook people who break the rules.
It goes without saying that playing increases your exposure. Slay with new people. Participate in new tournaments. Take a dip outside your local area.
Maintain a Professional Social Media Presence
In this day and age, it is all about how you represent yourself in social media. Grow your presence. However, maintain a degree of professionalism. Your social media is one of the first things a sponsoring company take a look at when they are considering you.
They do not like players who boast about after parties and getting drunk. Likes and comments on your posts go a long way. After all, companies want their brand to be seen.
Interactions go a long way with how brands are perceived. The more likes and comments on your posts, the more the number of interactions, the more a sponsoring company is likely to bring you on board.
Remember, Sponsorships Are Earned, Not Handed out
The sooner we realize this, the better. Serious sponsorships are offered to professionals only. Large ones are given to the top players based on their presence and fan favorites. There are sponsorships given to upcoming talents.
Remember, being sponsored is not just about what the sponsor can provide to you but is also about what you can give back to them in the form of exposure because, at the end of the day, it matters to them whether investing in you drives their profits upwards.
It is never a one-way street. After all, it took you passion and persistence to get to this stage, and it takes all that and much more to go forward. I hope this article gave you an idea of how to approach and nail those sponsorship drives. Best of luck!