How To Attract and Retain Sponsors

Attracting sponsors for your sports club will take time and effort, there’s no hiding it. But once the hard work has been done and you’ve secured your sponsors for the season it will only take a minimal amount of structured effort to have them want to come back year after year.

Sponsorships don’t have to be difficult. Most often sponsors will contribute financially to assist with the purchase of uniforms, travel costs, equipment or other sporting needs. Sounds pretty sweet, right? However, having a sponsor is not only about getting “free” things, but also giving back. So, what is in it for the sponsor?

From a business perspective, sponsorship is a marketing investment, sponsoring teams and club events results in positive exposure. This in turn can lead to increased sales, heightened brand awareness and customer loyalty. It is your job to show potential sponsors how a partnership with your club will deliver marketing benefits to their business.

Sponsors are usually pragmatic about the reality of donating money to sporting clubs. On a pure “return on investment” measurement, the money would probably be better spent elsewhere. But most of the time sponsors are contributing money because they also have a genuine connection to community sport and want the club to grow and succeed.

That goodwill cannot be bought. So, if you have a club lucky enough to have that kind of committed sponsor the club should put in the effort to show the sponsors how much they are valued, and how important their contribution is.

What is the key to successful sponsor relationships?

  • Recognise their contribution: Be loud about who is supporting the club. Not only does it make your sponsors feel good to advertise them in a positive light, it will make potential sponsors know that the club is good at working with and supporting its sponsors
  • Make it personal: Local community clubs are usually sponsored by small business owners who want to contribute to the club’s success. If you’re positing about their contribution recognise the people involved, connect them to your club members and mention the owners as well as the business.
  • Deliver on the deal: If you offer a certain number of posts each year, deliver on this. Be proactive and remind your sponsors that they get this benefit, don’t just sit back and expect them to remember. Give them support by showing you actively want to deliver on their benefits and promote their business
  • Give them something extra: Having a logo on a training shirt is great, but you should always give your sponsors a little something extra. If you’re positing a picture of a jersey with their logo front and centre, tag them on the post. This might not be in a sponsorship agreement, but your sponsor will love it and it is such an easy way to give them extra benefits. If that isn’t possible, run a feature on each sponsor in a way that will promote their business uniquely

Don’t forget, sponsorship is a mutually beneficial business relationship between two parties, the business (sponsor) and the club (sponsored).

You might send them proof of the placement of their logos in the form of screenshots and photos. They will appreciate this. You can even tell them exactly how many people have seen their logo and have clicked on it. Also, don’t hesitate to invite your sponsors out to games and other events. By going the extra mile, you’ll find that your sponsors will be happy to support you again next year.

Need some ideas on what you can offer sponsors in return for their investment? Check out our easy (and practical) options for attracting sponsors. 

  • Place logos on your jersey, singlet, polo or other club uniform
  • Offer banner positions at your home court or field
  • Prominent logo and link on you website
  • Include sponsor logo on all printed materials and email newsletters
  • Show their logo on your Facebook page (and any other social media)
  • Create a certain number of social media posts that include your sponsor (no just reposting their logo!)
  • Offer their own information booth at your main sporting or community event
  • Distribute sponsored giveaways