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How to attract and get sponsors, Part 1

This is a constant topic for most sim racing teams. Whether you are looking to monetize your e-sport for getting better equipment, or you are an entire team that needs financing for driver salaries, the challenge is real:

How do you turn your racing into cash?

There are some decisions you need to make, steps that you need to take and a mindset that you need to check. So let’s get started all the way from the back.

What are sponsors paying for?

This seems to be something that very few teams and drivers actually think through. Sometimes it looks like not even real-life racing teams and drivers have either. In fact, you could widen this and look at the entirety of all sports. And you could even find absolutely top superstar athletes that either hasn’t realized their potential or aren’t aware of their opportunities. All this is not to say they are idiots, or you are an idiot. The knowledge on how to make yourself a platform for sponsors just isn’t something that is in school or even business school for that matter. And it’s not uncommon for businesses to have no idea about their goals or targets for sponsorships either.

A sponsor could be a well-wishing person willing to shell out cash to watch someone else live out their dreams. But let’s face it such philanthropists and patrons are rare. Most potential sponsors are businesses. They make a living by selling products or services. And they are looking into giving you money because that action will lead to them selling more and earning more. So they want a sticker with a logo on your race car and then they sell more, right?

WRONG!

Unless you are close to god status in popularity and have more followers on social media than Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen combined, that is not going to generate a single sale of anything.

One of the most effective sales methods in marketing is something called word-of-mouth marketing. At its core, it is getting people to talk about your company, brand, product or service in their daily lives. This is why companies pay social media influencers to mention, review or unbox products. They select trustworthy influencers with a following in a niche that fits their service or product and hope the personality and values of the influencer will rub off on their company, or that followers will directly buy or use the product. Usually, they will find influencers that will even use the service or product regularly where the product is a natural part of the influencer’s content.

The sponsor is paying for eyeballs in a context that will get people talking about the product or placement in an environment that associate certain values with their product or brand. Picture yourself as the host of a late-night talk show. Your followers are your audience and your sponsors are the guests. You create interesting, engaging, helpful and entertaining content with your sponsors and their products, or you create content that makes your sponsor’s services relevant to your audience. If your content is good and you are good at promoting it, your audience will grow, and you will attract bigger and better-paying sponsors.

All you gotta do is win, win, win …

You may get the feeling that winning, or even being good at racing seems almost irrelevant. And you are …

CORRECT!

This is something everyone can do. It’ll take time and working hours though. But work smarter, not harder! We will get to that. Technology provides you with tools that haven’t been as cheap, available or effective ever before in the history of humanity.

Have you defined your values and how do you build such an environment? Let’s get started!

Change the mindset and get solid

You need to turn the whole thing on its head and change the question of “How do I get sponsors” to “How do I help and promote my sponsors”. And this will make you super clear on what it is that you are offering, what are the benefits to the sponsor, what are the goals, and what ROI to expect.

I’ve got a list of six points that will help you break it down and get to some very enlightening conclusions. After completing the list you will have all the information you need to start up your first proper sponsorship campaign.

  1. Define your values
  2. Select you audience
  3. Make your value proposition
  4. Chose your platforms and media
  5. Build an audience
  6. Keep going, never give up

You can think about this list for now, and I will go into detail on each individual point in the next part of this article series. We will get very hands-on and specific to sim racing and esports.

For now, follow us on social media, or subscribe to the newsletter, and you will have part two right in your inbox.

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About The Author

Peter Munkholm
When John Nielsen won Le Mans 24-Hours in 1990, Peter was hooked with motorsports. He started sim racing on his uncles PC with Formula One Grand Prix by Geoff Crammond in 1992. Then progressed through IndyCar Simulator and IndyCar Simulator 2 on his Amiga 500+. When he bought his own PC in 1994 and a Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro Joystick he was already deeply in love with sim racing. His first skirmish with light modding was a Pernod Anis blue, white, and red skin for IndyCar Racing 2. He was hooked! But sim racing really kicked off for Peter with Sports Car GT in 1999. And with internet access and what felt like an ocean of mods. Sports Car GT and the F1 simulators with endurance racing mods swallowed most of his spare time. Then the GTR mod for F1 2003 arrived on the scene, from some Swedish dudes who called themselves SIMBIN. That would change everything! Right about then was also when Logitech steering wheels reach a state of useful. So when the GTR game officially released Peter bought a Formula Force GP wheel the same day, went home and founded the Danish Grand Touring League (DGTL). In 2006 the first LAN event was held. This became GTR24H in 2007. As they say. The rest is history!
Co-Authors
VCO ERL Summer cup beginsHow to attract and get sponsors, Part 2

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