It’s no secret that to grow a sport you need money. Money through investors or sponsors. Floorball is no different. While all sports are fighting for sponsorship dollars the challenge in that fight is showing not how great the sport, program, or club is; but how an investment will bring a return.
A general assumption I’ve found is that many people think there’s all these businesses clamoring to be sponsors. Simply by putting a sports program out there they will all jump at the chance to be sponsors. The reality is that while many businesses might be interested in being a sponsor they aren’t because they either don’t see the value in the investment, or you haven’t shown them.
If you’re in the process of searching for sponsorship you already know the struggle. It’s even more of a struggle when you’re trying to find sponsors for a sport that is not fully developed near you. One example is the USA Floorball Team. The USA Floorball Association has Men’s, Women’s, U19 Men and Women’s Teams that compete internationally. Currently the costs for those programs are paid for by the players and coaches. This isn’t a new problem as many clubs and teams struggle with this reality. The question is, how do they convince companies to align and support them and their mission? The question is further complicated as Floorball doesn’t have that many leagues running yet, especially in North America. While there may be businesses interested in supporting Floorball they may not see the value in supporting a team that only competes abroad. While it’s a challenge at the larger scale it will be much simpler to show value at the local level.
For those who have started or are in the process of starting leagues, finding and developing sponsors is a bit easier at the local level. The key is aligning the message of the organization with the message you’re selling. Sponsors don’t just hand over money because they have nothing else to do with it. They do it because they believe that in doing so they will see more money coming back than invested. It is a calculated expense that will ideally net them more customer, income, influence, etc.
Before you go out a secure a sponsor, know what you’re asking. Are you looking for in-kind sponsorship (i.e. equipment) or monetary sponsorship? Sometimes you can work with both. In the end it’s about developing a relationship that is mutually beneficial for both, and serves the needs of both organizations. The true challenge is to not oversell what you’re doing. Be honest with where you’re at and what you’re doing. You’re trying to sell the vision of what you’re doing and that a sponsor wants to join you in that quest. If you can get them emotionally involved in the process all the better.
A word of caution. This process can suck. You’re more likely to hear no than yes, and you need to be ok with that. It will require a lot of time and effort, because you should be looking to develop long term relationships, and that takes time. Don’t get discouraged by it just keep working at it, and little by little things will move. Now, go out and make it happen.