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How Do I Get an Athlete Sponsorship?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The best way to get an athlete sponsorship is to first develop your skills in a certain sport and compete regularly. The better your results, the more likely you will be to procure an athlete sponsorship from a company or many companies. As you begin to develop your skills and produce results, you will want to write a race resumé that outlines your race results and other successes within the sport. This document will show a potential sponsor that you are serious about racing or competing and that you can produce results.

A sponsor will want to know that their logo will be highly visible, and the best visibility is attained by standing on the podium. Show the sponsor that you can get their logo noticed by producing good race results. Even if you have not won a race, list your top finishes and be sure to mention how you are improving to ensure you get a podium spot in the future. Your race resumé should be submitted along with a cover letter that explains the steps you are taking to achieve your athletic goals; be sure to explain how the athlete sponsorship would factor into those plans.

The better an athlete's performance, the more likely they are to secure a sponsorship.
The better an athlete's performance, the more likely they are to secure a sponsorship.

Research the company carefully before submitting any materials for a potential athlete sponsorship. Find out what products they offer that would help you in your pursuits, and find out how your competitions can help the company gain more exposure to key markets. You want to essentially sell yourself to the company as the best marketing option. Companies may offer you a full sponsorship that will pay for entry fees and all essential gear, or they may offer very nominal sponsorship that does not amount to much. Never turn down sponsorship, no matter how small, as this is often an opportunity to build a relationship with the company for future sponsorships.

Athlete sponsorships may benefit an entire team.
Athlete sponsorships may benefit an entire team.

Think outside of the world of athletics when searching for an athlete sponsorship. Some regional and national companies that have nothing to do with athletics may want more exposure with certain markets that your participation in athletic events can provide. Find out if any companies outside the athletic world offer sponsorship opportunities, and do not be afraid to approach local companies for potential sponsorship as well. The company may not have considered athlete sponsorship before, but if you approach them with the idea and give them plenty of reasons to invest in you, the likelihood of a sponsorship deal is greatly improved.

Athletes often endorse products for money.
Athletes often endorse products for money.

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Discussion Comments


@MrMoody - When you become big you’ll have to turn down offers. It’s amazing the amount of money that a company will pay for an athlete sponsorship contract. Companies like Nike and Adidas will pay millions of dollars to have a famous athlete sport their footwear. Yes, that’s the dream, but you won’t get there overnight. Become the best at what you do. The world will beat a path to your door at that point, in my opinion.


@SkyWhisperer - It’s seems that you’re going to have to be a little proactive according to this article. If a company doesn’t approach you, you should approach them. Local businesses are a good idea.

Try some mom and pop stores that sell t-shirts; your son could wear them at the school competitions since he represents the school. A photo of him winning the school competition wearing the company’s t shirt would certainly be welcome publicity for them.

It’s a win-win situation but you have to be aggressive. I think companies seek you out only when you’re really well known.


Our son plays tennis religiously. He has won numerous competitions and is one of two players that represent his school in tennis competitions. We would love for him to get an athletic sponsorship, as I think it could someday lead to a college scholarship.

Sponsorships really get you noticed and college recruiters will come knocking on your door, or so that’s what I’ve heard. You can get a scholarship without a sponsorship of course, but athletic sponsorships just give you increased visibility.

All I can say is that they know him at his school, since he’s their official tennis player. Maybe some local businesses can start to sponsor him before he goes national.


I think a lot of people forget about the importance of athletic sponsorships, especially in racing. In most other sports, you need minimal equipment, and most of that equipment lasts a long time. In baseball you might need a glove and cleats, but in racing you are constantly needing to buy new tires and make repairs and improve your vehicle. Most people can only afford things like that from their own budget for a short period of time.

It is kind of an unfair system, but at lower levels, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. If someone can spend a little extra money and is a good competitor in general, they can win a few races and get some sponsorships that will help them improve what they already have. On the other hand, if someone doesn't have much money to start with and can't build a comparable vehicle, they probably won't get new sponsorships.

Because of that, it is extremely important for people to always be making sponsorship proposals and telling companies why they are the best person to pay.


@matthewc23 - As far as the price people are willing to pay, that can have huge variation. It all depends on the level you are competing, the location, and your success. NASCAR racers can get millions of dollars for their sponsorships, but if you are just starting, you are probably at a smaller venue, and have unproven value.

Like the article says, just keep track of your races and finishes. Like someone else mentioned, too, talk to as many people as possible at the races. Other drivers and people involved with the business might know of some opportunities or people that would be the best contact for business.

The other thing to think about is finding companies that suit you. If you love some type of product that few other racers wear, maybe that would be the best route to take at first. A company like that wouldn't probably love the opportunity to advertise their product to more people, and their budget wouldn't be taken up by lots of other racers.


I have just gotten into stock car racing and am curious if there are any other routes I should take for finding sponsors. I have a couple smaller ones already, since I have family members involved in the companies. They have been my foot in the door to those places. For other companies, though, I don't even know who to contact.

Do companies usually have some type of a person who is in charge of those things, or should I just call local businesses and see where they point me? Also, what is the normal price that people will pay for athlete sponsorships? The real problem I have now is that I just have a few races under my belt. I have finished in the middle of the pack, but I am definitely improving, so I feel like I have the ability to eventually be a successful sponsor once I get a little more experience.


Good tips. I started competing in Motocross a few years back, and I wish I would have had a little more guidance about getting sponsorships. The biggest problem I had was just finding companies looking to sponsor racers. Sure, you have the normal racing companies like Fox and Yamaha or Honda or whatever brand of bike you have, but for young racers, they usually aren't willing to put forward a lot of money.

Even after I had run a few races and had decent finishes, I still had a problem finding people to sponsor me. I kind of expected them to find me instead of me needing to find them. Eventually, I found an older racer who helped me out with making my race resume and getting me in contact with various sponsors.

I think the key I learned from the whole thing is that you need to be patient, and try to get as many links to sponsors as possible.

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    • The better an athlete's performance, the more likely they are to secure a sponsorship.
      By: Mariano Pozo Ruiz
      The better an athlete's performance, the more likely they are to secure a sponsorship.
    • Athlete sponsorships may benefit an entire team.
      By: Vladimir Mucibabic
      Athlete sponsorships may benefit an entire team.
    • Athletes often endorse products for money.
      By: Moreno Novello
      Athletes often endorse products for money.
    • Getting an athlete sponsorship often involves a lot of training.
      By: Maridav
      Getting an athlete sponsorship often involves a lot of training.