Valuable Tips To Tackling Sponsorship Deals | Performance Racing Industry
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Valuable Tips To Tackling Sponsorship Deals
By Dan Schechner on November 5, 2015

Race sponsorship comes in many forms, from Fortune 500 company-backed branding campaigns in professional series to handshake agreements between family owned speed shops and local drivers. Regardless of scale, both sides of the sponsorship equation are encouraged to read PRI Magazine’s feature article on Motorsports Sponsorship, which appears in our November 2015 issue, and consider the following advice from our expert sources, as compiled by contributing writer Louise Ann Noeth:   

Derek Daly  |  Derek Daly Academy
Be sure to understand the athlete and his support system. No athlete in any sport can carry all the requisite skills to mange a high level commercial commitment. It takes a village, so make sure the athlete is well supported so he/she can focus on winning. That’s their job.

Don’t be discouraged by the volume of work and time that goes into crafting a deal. They take years to cultivate and close. Everyone underestimates how long it really takes. The idea can gel within a few months, but signing the deal usually morphs into years.

Frank Buscemi  |  TI Automotive
Understand that there are other operational costs associated with racing, especially travel and logistics. Many of the races in which we participate take place in out-of-the-way locations with smaller and fewer hotels. Book early, and know that the closer you are to the track, the more it will cost; and watch the “minimum guarantees” required.

Once on site, the reach and support of the audience can be startling. Racing fans are generally car buffs who really enjoy the speed, the performance, and the atmosphere of the track. It truly is a “scene,” and brings out the passion of people’s interest in the automotive industry.

Tim Cindric  |  Penske Racing
As a sponsor, you must realize that success on the track has many variables, some of which are not controllable. Patience is essential. Racing has many ups and downs. You require fortitude to endure — especially in a series — for teams and sponsors.

Look for both parties to have a long-lasting relationship. Don’t sign on with the first team, or first name, you come across. Understand the landscape to discover which team or driver is best suited for the brand.

Know that a prospective sponsor opportunity may not start with your team. How you are viewed (project success) will get noticed. Everyone wants to align themselves with success.

Existing relationships also impact other sponsors coming into the sport; it’s like anything in life—reputations are built and ruined on perception.

Cameron Evans  |  Red Line Synthetic Oil
We remind teams that a major brand’s promotion can impact their race team often more than that team’s racing activity can help the brand. It’s powerful when a brand promotes the team, and that team’s other sponsors benefit. When everyone works together with links for social media and the like, racing can have a great benefit.

What’s most surprising is that a lot of teams still don’t have an idea of how expensive it is to help their team—if they add up what the team should bring in return, their requests might be more realistic.

Tom Bogner  |  Lucas Oil Products
Let the company or racer prove to you he can move the needle with sales before you sign the contract. Nothing surprises me these days, as racers are trying hard to make it from track to track, and many have jobs during the week. Make sure you choose a team that can afford to race and race for a championship.

Annamarie Malfitana-Strawhand  |  Marketing At Full Speed
If you are seeking sponsorship, shift your mindset into that of the sponsor. Women pick this up faster—they know how to nurture a relationship and they get sponsors faster. Women are better at it.

Sponsorship is an ATTRACTION process. First get clear on exactly what you want to attract to your company. Then, find the person that can provide you exactly with that solution. If they give you what you want to attract to your company, and they come with the "social proof" that they are the real deal to do it—then sign on the dotted line. Build upon it and enjoy the rewards that this relationship can give you, your company and your future.

Teams that are not willing to follow-through after contract signing—the ones that over-promise and under-deliver—don’t understand that this reverberates back into the community and sours a sponsor on getting further invested in motorsports

Ben Schlosser  |  Richard Childress Racing
Have a plan and have some ownership of it—you can’t just write a check and expect it to produce a positive result. We want our sponsors to be involved in our business. Be a problem solver. Don’t bring me problem; come to me with a proposed solution and we will work on it from there.

Mike Rose  |  Virginia International Raceway
Approach a sponsorship with a set of tangible objectives, an open mind, and an understanding of the partner you're about to join. Discuss and review the language of a sponsorship, as two people can read a sentence two different ways, and that can lead to trouble. Be thorough and clear in your message whenever possible.

About the Author
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Dan Schechner is the Editor of Performance Racing Industry Magazine.
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