By: Rebecca Paredes
Sponsorship is always going to be on your mind, whether you’re an amateur boxer or a professional MMA fighter. And when you approach companies to ask for sponsorship, it’s not enough to just drop your resume and say, “Alright, show me the money.”
In fact, that’s the #1 way to leave your meeting empty-handed.
Before you even approach a potential sponsor, you should first figure out your sponsorship levels. Sponsorship levels (also called sponsorship tiers or packages) tell companies how they can help pay for you to train and compete.
But how do you figure out sponsorship levels? Keep reading for key insight from a professional MMA fighter!
One Size Does Not Fit All
It’s tempting to just ask a company for the most amount of money you think they’ll give. But that’s a surefire way to ruin a professional relationship.
Remember that you should approach a lot of different types of companies for sponsorship — mega-corporations, small mom-and-pop stores in your hometown, online clothing companies, you name it. This also means that the sponsorship levels you bring to a company like Hayabusa will be very different than the levels you bring to your local vape shop.
This doesn’t mean you have to ask for pennies, but you should change your sponsorship levels depending on the size of the company and what sponsorship would mean to them.
Think about it: if you’re asking your local vape shop for sponsorship, it’d make sense to ask for payment in exchange for wearing their logo on your shirt and shorts when you fight locally. But a bigger company might only want to market at larger venues or televised events.
Ask yourself the following questions before you set your sponsorship level:
- How will I benefit the company?
- How do I want the company to benefit me?
- How flexible am I with what the company is willing to give?
Figuring Out Sponsorship Levels
We asked pro MMA fighter Demarcus “Bang ‘Em Up” Brown about how he set his sponsorship levels. He considered the following factors in order to figure out his value to the companies he approached:
- His experience and strong social media following
- Future promotions he was scheduled to fight in (“The bigger the promotion, the more exposure it got,” he said.)
- His strengths and highlights to market himself to the company
- What he wanted (money, training, supplies, etc.)
There are essentially three levels most sponsorships fall within:
Top-Level: A company pays you an agreed-upon amount of money, gear, and/or products in order to market them, which could involve wearing their gear and talking about their product.
Mid-Level: A company gives you products or gear in exchange for marketing them. Money may be involved, but it won’t be as high as a top-level sponsor.
Low-Level: A company gives you discounted products or gear in exchange for marketing them. Some companies may give you a small amount of money, like gas money to get to the gym and back.
Most companies won’t consider paying you unless you’re giving them a strong incentive. Maybe you’re going to fight on a big, televised event soon. Or maybe you’re big on social media and can market your sponsor’s products to your followers.
Figure out your selling point: how are you going to get your sponsor’s name in front of as many people as possible?
Once you’ve figured that out, check out our sample fighter resume on the Fight Connection blog. Ready to get started with your first two sponsors? All Fight Connection members receive sponsorship from Shurfit Mouthguards and Down2Scrap Clothing. Go to www.fightconnection.com today!