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Author: Justin Trapp
Title: “SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE”
What’s on their mind:
This is a phrase I have seen on MMA forums, Facebook and Twitter. I get emails from managers and fighters telling me (along with many other recipients) “Sponsorships Available.” The first few peaked my interest but now they are just lame duck reminders at the nature of this business and the undeveloped mentality that plagues this sport.
Let me explain. Say for example we have Jack Offerman, he owns CrazyCondems.com. A fighter approaches him about some “Sponsorships being available.” The fighter tells him his record is 4-0 and he is NEEDING sponsors for his next fight…..
(Side Note: People in general do not respond to need, they respond to opportunity. If we responded to need, the neediest organizations would have the most money and we all know thats not the case.)
So he goes into a speal about trying to make it to the UFC but for right now he is struggling so he needs help. Jack asks him what he is looking for and he says $$$-$$$$. Jack weighs his thoughts, That is a little more than he anticipated, but MMA is a growing business so he thinks it could be worth the investment, maybe. So Jack wants to know about the return on his investment. Since he is investing into the fighters business (which is himself) how is he returning that investment back into Jack’s CrazyCondoms business??? After all, its not a one way street.
Their conversation may look a little like this:
Jack: So what am I getting in return for sponsoring you?
Fighter: Well I can put your logo on my shorts and for an upgraded sponsorship I can put you on my banner. There will be 2500 people to see your logo.
Jack: Do you have a website?
Fighter: Well my cousin has a friend and he said he would put something together.
Jack: So you dont have an online presence?
Fighter: I have a facebook account and I just signed up for Twitter a few days ago. Still trying to figure this whole tweet thing.
Jack: Do you have some sort of highlight video I can watch or something to show me from your last few fights?
Fighter: I think they are on Youtube???
Jack: How are you marketing yourself?
Fighter: Well they had a photoshoot and I wasn’t able to make it so I am just trying to get the word out on my own.
Jack: So your telling me, That if I give you $$$$ that you will put my logo on your shorts and banner. And allegedly 2500 “sober” people will see my logo when your not on your back and not to mention the banner. I will be lucky if the cornermen roll out the banner all the way to see my logo at the bottom right for a few “premium” seconds while the announcer does his duties. You have no brand, you have no website, you have no substantial following. Hell, you havent updated your facebook in 2 weeks! Thats not an investment that is just free money for you.
Jack: I will have to think about it, do you have a business card?
Fighter: ummmm no but you can find me on Facebook.
Just fighting and winning is not going to get you straight to the top or get you good sponsorships. As a matter of fact, we need to get the whole “sponsorship” concept out of our minds. It is more like a partnership. You want companies to be able to invest in you long term. For them to do this, there has to be some substance to your brand.
So here is what I’m getting at (finally). What do you need to do to make yourself enticing to potential companies.
1. Get a website. I know 2 fighters that have legit websites. Find someone who can set it up and make it look good. This needs to be a place where any info about you, fight announcements etc needs to be. Photos video etc
2. Get a highlight video. Acquire the footage however you can and have someone do it for you. If you cant find anyone to do it, use Animoto.com and use upbeat, driving aggressive music. Guess where the video goes…on your website
3. Utilize Facebook and Twitter to interact with fans, friends and family about your career and when you make news releases poster the link on your FB and Twitter for your website. This builds site traffic
4. Show up to photoshoots with promoters. They are investing in you to and they need a return on their investment as well. If your not going to help yourself at least help them recoup the investment they made in you. It is a partnership afterall.
Do these things and you will create a following and a following allows opportunity for influence and influence will get you sponsorship errr partnership money.
To put things in perspective:
Mike Jackson is not known as the best fighter in Houston, but in my opinion he is one of the most valuable fighters to a business. Did you know that his website is worth an estimated $1219 and he averages 558 page views a day? He is always at fights, interviews, on Facebook and on Twitter. All these things have helped build his following. I Dont even know what his record is, and I dont care. He has a following which is $$$$ for a business.