This week's tip:
How do you get one of those fancy uniforms? ... It's not all about being fast, although that's a BIG plus.
By Debbie Rice
As a Bont representative, I get tons of email from skaters who want to know how to get sponsored. The fact is it's not simply a matter of skating fast; other factors are involved.
Here's what you need to know:
What is sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a process by which a company provides an individual or a group of individuals with funds, products or services for commercial advantage. Sponsorship is a business relationship and should be mutually beneficial to the sponsored individual and the sponsoring company.
Most companies seek a return on their support or investment in the form of media exposure, product testing, increased sales and brand awareness. As a result, one thing they usually look for in athletes is a reputation for sportsmanship.
Sponsorship is about building long-term relationships and loyalty. The longer the relationship lasts, the greater the value derived from it.
How do you get sponsored?
First and foremost, compete in as many prestigious races as possible, always performing to the best of your ability. Show a great attitude — and hopefully you will catch the eye of a company's representative.
Be sure to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Sponsors will not be interested in an athlete who is cocky or hot-tempered. Companies want to be represented in a positive, professional manner.
Prepare a resume
Not only are podium placements a plus, but many sponsors would like to know more about the skaters, such as their interests, hobbies, school grades, and other outside programs (YMCA, mentoring, volunteer work, etc.)
Make your resume exciting and informative. Use action photos of yourself competing. Show your potential. Detail your successes (major accomplishments and medals won). And do not forget to include the benefits that you can offer a sponsor.
Include a list of upcoming major events that you plan to attend so that the representatives can keep an eye out for you. References are always nice as well.
Be sure to highlight your goals and aspirations. Sponsors want to see that you have a long-term commitment to the sport and that you hold high expectations of yourself.
Mail or email your resume
The best time to send a resume to a potential sponsor is at the end of a skating season – usually from October to December. Some sponsors require resumes sent by mail, and some will accept them via email.
One more thing: When you see sponsors at an event, introduce yourself and let them know you are interested.
Debbie Rice first caught the eye of sponsors in 1994 when she was signed by Krptonics. Next came Hyper Wheels in 1996 (with teammates Chad Hedrick and Cheryl Ezzell); then, Hyper-Bont in 1998; and finally, Bont in 2000. "I am a loyal Bont skater for the rest of my skating life," she says. "Sara, Inze and Alex Bont (and, of course, Glenn Koshi) are the best. Our Bont North America team is more than a team, it's like family."