Money. When you think about tennis you have to include this factor. If you play once a week probably amount you have to spend on court and coach is not a problem. Completely different story happens when you are competitive and you want to become the next star. One of the solutions to this challenge is finding a sponsor. But who is going to give a lot of money to another athlete when there is no guarantee of getting this money back? Don’t worry you can attract sponsors if you will plan it accordingly.
Only small percentage of parents can cover all expenses related to professional tennis career. We all know that players are able to earn money if they are around position number 100 in the world. It means that several years will not bring income so players have to be sure that they have support to hire good coaches, travel to tournaments and work with psychologists and nutritionists to take care of body and mind improvement. Big companies and private sponsors are available on the market as potential supporters but to convince them to invest money in tennis we have to show why we are worthy for this step.
A lot of players don’t get financial deals because they have wrong perception of sponsoring process. Sponsorship is not a donation! Sponsorship means that both sides have to get benefits from this cooperation. You can get money from the company but you have to offer something back. Understanding this mutual success is the first step to plan own actions and achieve the task of getting sponsored.
Potential sponsorship is closer thn you can think. Apply these tips and you will see how attractive you can be for big companies:
- Be creative
If you send offer to potential sponsor don’t limit benefits just to general things like putting logo on shirts, mentioning about support in interviews etc. There are thousands of athletes who say the same. If you want to seal the deal you have to be different. Exhibition match with company’s boss? That’s interesting. Taking part on company’s commercial? That’s even better!
- Be professional on Social Media
This is the game-breaker. Young people don’t think too much about consequences of posting controversial materials on Facebook or Instagram. I have a bad news for you. Companies check social media before they participate in any sponsorship so this can be a reason why you can’t find the person who want to invest in you. Remember that you are an image that is going to have an impact on company’s well-being. They have to be proud of you – not ashamed of you. Be careful what you post because one picture can ruin all your effort.
- Thank your sponsor at any opportunity
Did you win last tournament? Is it the end of the year? Are you fired up after great practice session? All these situations give you opportunities to thank your sponsor for trusting you and believing in your potential. Another mistake that I see among young players is the fact that they quickly forget about the sponsor as soon as they get what they wanted. Typical example is with tennis equipment companies who provide athletes with racquets, bags, strings etc. Players post one picture when they get equipment and later on they limit their actions of promoting sponsor just to painting a logo on strings and use given racquets. This is not professional. Good values can give you more sponsors than good results. Always thank your sponsor and you will get more than you think.
- Be a role-model on and off the court
You never know who is watching you. Apply this rule to your life and you will be attractive for potential deals. Why do you think Roger Federer has more sponsorship deals than any other player? Of course he has great results but even when he struggled few years ago sponsors still wanted to give him huge amounts of money. Roger’s secret is being a role-model every time. It doesn’t matter if he practices or if he is in the shopping center – you will never see him doing improper things. This is the lesson for you. Sometimes during the tournament potential sponsors can watch your match or training session and your lack of effort or few bad words can close your door to big deal.
Nobody will give you money for nothing. Your results are important but there are many more factors crucial for companies while deciding to support an athlete. Consider my tips, implement them and your career will be supported sooner or later. Any other interesting ideas on how to be more attractive for sponsorship? Share below.
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.