Commercial sponsorship is an established feature of financing in British sport and is one way of providing vital extra income to maintain and improve club facilities.
It is important to be clear about your objectives and aims, for example, try to cut any major costs by converting suppliers into sponsors. A simple three step process can help work towards mutually beneficial agreements.
Firstly, identify the sponsorship opportunities within the club, such as:
- club naming rights
- match rights
- equipment supply, including kit, balls phones, IT, utilities
Secondly, identify the benefits that can be offered in return, such as:
- advertising opportunities, including perimeter signage, post protectors, programmes
- match tickets
- hospitality at matches
- use of club as a corporate venue
Then thirdly, make approaches for sponsorship which target the right people:
- local community
- local Chamber of Commerce
- club contracts
- new companies relocating to your area
- use personal contacts
- direct proposals to the decision maker – Marketing Director or Chief Executive
It is also important to be professional in your approach. Prepare your proposal thoroughly and include the following elements:
- aims and objectives
- benefits to sponsor
- publicity value – national/local media/TV and radio
- promotional opportunities to mini/youth sections
- company awareness on signage/posters, programmes, tickets, advertising an event, merchandise/kit/equipment
- duration of sponsorship – plan well ahead
- cost to sponsor and to the club, highlighting the cost of the benefits that are being given away.
Managing a sponsorship
Continuous feedback to the sponsor on the success of an event may encourage further opportunities and establish an extension of their commitment. To help community rugby clubs formalise sponsorship agreements, the RFU has drafted a simple Sponsorship Agreement Form (MS Word DOC 28kB).
Sportsmatch is a government business sponsorship incentive scheme for sport that matches money raised through sponsorship, pound for pound. The scheme is directed at the development of grass-roots sports and helps to encourage business to invest in the area. Awards are made to schemes that increase participation in rugby and improve playing skills. More can be found on the Sport England's Sportsmatch website.
Details on how to make your sponsorship a success is available on the UK Sport Sponsorship Database.
Also the ‘Hollis Sponsorship and Donations Yearbook’ is the definitive guide to the UK’s top sponsoring and donating companies and also supplies details of sponsorship opportunities, specialist consultancies and services. Copies cost £75 and can be obtained from the Hollis website.