Gaining that elusive sponsor who will give you their trusted product free of charge in return for you endorsing and promoting it can be tricky.
Sponsorship is a topic that will make a lot of ears prick up. Gaining that elusive sponsor who will give you their trusted product free of charge in return for you endorsing and promoting it can be tricky.
There are plenty of companies, big and small, that are willing to dip into their pocket if it means their logo will be displayed prominently and their product spoken of highly. And of course feature on the podium regularly!
Sometimes it will mean free product, and other times there will be a retainer but it’s always a two-way street, with many expectations from both parties.
To truly understand sponsorship you need to understand a few things. Some riders go the extra mile to keep their sponsors happy and in doing so will manage to keep their support, even if their results start to go downhill a bit.
Other riders tend to feel the world owes them something and can quite often lack the appreciation needed to keep sponsors happy. These people quite often find themselves without a ride even when their results are still good.
If the economy is strong and businesses are making money, then they are more likely to spend money on advertising. During an economic downturn, companies reduce their spending’s and sponsorship is one of the first to go.
If the Australian dollar is low, local companies that purchase most of their products from overseas have a much higher purchase cost. This cuts into their profit margins and will at times cause them to cut costs in sponsorship.
How well established a company is can also determine its marketing strategy. A new company will often need to aggressively advertise its products. So these companies are often great to hit up for sponsorship.
There are plenty of spots on a motocross rider’s gear and bike for sponsors and each of these spots has its own value.
For big energy drink sponsors there is no better place for their logo. These companies pay massive amounts of money for these rights because, let’s face it, they are not just a little sticker here or there. They are full-blown helmet designs that do exactly what they are supposed to do. Be in your face!
Front of Jersey 9/10
The front of a rider’s jersey is prime real estate for sponsors. Whether it is a small logo at the top of the jersey, or it is naming-rights sponsor of a team that will generally be placed just under chest height, the front of the jersey is considered ‘prime positioning’.
Radiator Shrouds 8/10
The shrouds are where the main sponsor will be shown. It is the marquee spot on the bike for advertising but, while it looks sensational in static photos and while the rider is standing up, it gets covered when the rider is sitting down.
With the huge range of helmet cams in use, the peak has become a prime position. This is great advertising for the company, whether it be on live television or on social media, because helmet camera vision normally features one or two logos.
Front Fender 7/10
The tip and sides of the front fender are always high on the priority list for sponsors. It’s seen extremely often due to most photographers and videographers wanting to capture the action of the rider from front on.
Fork Protectors 7/10
The position of the fork protectors is a great spot for advertising. It’s in a position where it will feature strongly in front-on photos. Particularly in supercross, where the risk of having your fork protectors covered in mud is less likely.
The airbox area looks great in static photos but almost always is covered by the rider’s legs when they are riding. This area also gets rubbed by riders wearing kneebraces and quite often the rider will completely rip their graphics off the airbox.
Rear guard 5/10
The rear fender is where you can squeeze the maximum amount of sponsor logos into the smallest area. And for this reason the logo sizes tend to be quite small and. The sides of the rear fender are bigger and highly sought after.
Top of fork 5/10
The top of the fork in-between the top and bottom triple clamps normally goes to either an ignition company or a sparkplug company.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Bits and pieces
There are plenty of other advertising opportunities that don’t necessarily involve riding. A specific cap will always be worn on the podium. And riders will wear a new set of goggles around their neck. They will always have a can of energy drink in hand when cameras are around, even if it contains nothing but water.
Pit uniforms, race transporters and pit tent/awnings all will tie in nicely to create one professional looking set up. Tie that in with posters, signature cards and websites, and you have yourself one powerful marketing tool.
Photo: Simon Cudby
There are a few spots on the bike that you will find almost always go to the same type of company. For example, a tyre firm will normally have their logo on the fork protector, along the side of the rear guard and also will have colourful (usually yellow) tyre stickers on the tyres. Chain and sprocket company logos will often be found on the side of the swingarm.
When you contact potential sponsors don’t oversell yourself because that will end in disaster. If you go into any sponsorship arrangement planning on going over and above what is expected from you then you are bound to keep your relationships with these companies healthy and they will last for a long time.