Expert Tips for Getting a Racing Sponsorship
It’s not easy to find a motorsports sponsor. I know. I’ve had the door slammed in my face many times, looking for sponsorship in racing. However, I found sponsorship success in racing and elsewhere through persistence, great mentors, and learning from my mistakes. CHARGE has compiled my system into the Sponsorship Success Method (“SSM”). In this article, I’ll lay out our most popular SSM tips based on what works in racing sponsorship and what does not.
Sponsors Don’t Care What You Need
“What is the cost of a primary sponsorship on your car?” your prospective sponsor asks. If you respond, “I need $200,000 to run the season,” that will end the conversation. Sponsors care about the value of a sponsorship to them. Your budget has no relevance in the value discussion.
Instead, focus on the value the sponsor will receive. You could consider a response such as “We’ve determined that a primary sponsorship would generate $300,000 for you and put you in front of an audience of your potential customers. However, we’re only asking for $200,000.”
Build a Custom Deck
We have a free sponsorship deck template for getting started. However, it would help if you built a marketing presentation that tells your story, speaks to your unique brand and what your racing sponsorship could offer.
Nothing says “ignore me” to a prospective sponsor like a cookie-cutter deck.
Don’t Forget the Audience
Sponsors must know their customers sit in the grandstands watching your race car. Sponsorships help sponsors sell stuff. If a sponsorship does not target someone who can buy products or services from the sponsor, it wastes time and money.
That’s why you need to include a detailed description of the fans of your race team, race series, and race track. You’re describing their demographics (age, gender, race, residence, education, and household income) and psychographics (hobbies, values, and beliefs). If your race series or track cannot help you, here are some free resources to get you started.
What Sets You Apart?
For the past twenty years, I have needled racecar drivers with this question: “What is your brand?” Too many times, they responded, “All-American Racer.” Unfortunately, sponsors only have one or two sponsorships available in a pool of 10,000 drivers describing themselves with the same generic “All-American” label.
Find something that sets your organization apart if you want to be the one or two winners getting racing sponsorship. It could be your commitment to a charity, your life’s story of overcoming long odds, or the partnership of your race team with other valuable and unique sponsors.
Be a Social Media Ninja
In 2016, when representing one of our NFL clients, I was beaten out for an auto brand commercial because my client had 10,000 fewer Twitter followers than the player that won the commercial endorsement. After that, I never forgot the high importance sponsors give social media.
I wish I had a nickel for every time a race team or driver said, “My racing keeps me so busy, I don’t have time for social media.” Today, social media represents the most important marketing channel that you control. You can’t guarantee that you’ll appear on a racing broadcast. However, you have sponsorship power if you can deliver 100,000 Instagram followers to a sponsor. If you want to possess that power, become a social media ninja.
Final Thoughts on How to Get Racing Sponsorship
Great race car drivers call the second place “first loser.” We want you to be P1 on the podium for getting racing sponsors. Based on decades of experience, we’re sure you’ll be well on your way to sponsorship victory if you follow these tips.
About the Author
Ken Ungar is a sponsorship veteran serving clients throughout sports, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, and motorsports. Ken’s introduction to sports marketing began in the 1990s in executive motorsports business positions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR. He also served on the boards of the Chicagoland Speedway, United States Auto Club, and the ACCUS-FIA National Motorsports Council. He loves helping drivers, race teams, racetracks, sanctioning bodies, and brands succeed in racing sponsorship.