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Navigating Sponsorships

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

There are many ways to get team sponsorships. It depends on the needs of your team, the culture you create, and the environment you live in as to what works best for your program. Here at Streamline Teams, we are breaking down the different types of sponsorships you can get and how to go about those processes.

Brand Sponsorships

Our recommendation to you is to seek out a brand sponsor that fits the mission and vision of your program and start there if you haven’t already. This is for all teams, College, Club, High School, Masters, College Club Programs, and Summer League Programs. Every team can stand to gain from a brand sponsorship.

Why do we say that? Their products and services directly serve the swim community. Without their collective support, dedication, and drive to break technical barriers through the best quality equipment, apparel, and suits the sport of swimming would not be where it is today. They are committed to the evolution of the sport just as much as coaches are, they just serve behind the scenes to help us reach our highest potential by providing the best of every product category. Every brand represents its own unique culture. You just need to figure out which one aligns best with your team culture and work together to form a long lasting partnership.

What are some of the options? Speedo, TYR, Arena, Finis, A3, Adidas, Dolfin, Nike, MP, Jolyn

Step 1: Reach Out

Once you have spoken to multiple different companies, narrow it down to your top two or three choices to have discussions on what an ideal contract would look like for you and your team. Know your value going into these conversations. You should benefit from a sponsorship and so should the brand. Every team has different strengths, know what you can bring to the table to benefit that brand. If you have specific team needs, this would be the best time to voice those needs. This will enable the brand to have an idea of what you are looking for and how they can best help you.

Step 2: Negotiate

After you have gone through the negotiations and have a few contracts to look over, discuss the options with your staff, athletic department, and team board. This will help you make an educated decision that is right for your team.

Step 3: Decide On A Sponsor

Now that you have made a commitment to that brand, you can bring your excitement about the sponsorship to your athletes and make that brand a part of your team culture.

Step 4: Create A Team Branded Culture

Working to integrate your brand sponsorship into your team is something that happens over a period of time, all brands are aware that it is a process and change doesn’t happen overnight. Work with your Team Dealer and Brand Sponsor to create a plan that works best for all parties involved.

Step 5: Build A Partnership

In relationships, you talk to each other. Communication is huge. Keep your connection with the brand you select to partner with. Let them know things that are happening with your team that get you excited, they want to hear about your success. In times of need, express your needs to them, you might be surprised how willing they might be to help you. Partnerships are relationships. Always make time for the people and companies that support you and your team, help their business grow as much as you can, after all, they invested and believe in yours. It’s all about give and take. Make sure you are doing your part just as much as they are doing theirs.

Local Sponsorships

Everyone that coaches serves a community. Within that community are local and corporate businesses. Maybe you know a new local business that’s about to launch their grand opening, take that extra ten minutes on the way home from morning practice and meet the owner and develop a partnership. You never know, they might have two kids that would love to swim and would be happy to be a sponsor of your team.

Step 1: Put Yourself Out There

By meeting people in your community, you can help support each other. It could be as simple as a local coffee shop that lets you put flyers in their shop in the beginning. As times goes on, they might start vending your swim meets for the weekend morning sessions. You never know how meeting one person in your community can affect your team, always take the chance to build upon opportunity.

Step 2: Offer Opportunity

You can offer more to a business than you think. Let’s say you have 50 college swimmers. Those swimmers still eat out at restaurants with their teammates. Maybe instilling a team tradition that once a month, you go out as a team to support rotating sponsors. In return they give you a certain amount and get an advertisement on your team t-shirt and website. If you are a club team with 200 athletes. Offer a bi-weekly newsletter that highlights a specific team sponsor. This might entail a family discount for the month, incentivizing your families to go eat at their restaurant or buy their product. Maybe you have a bunch of teams coming into town to compete at a meet. Work with local hotels to get them a discounted rate or negotiate free rooms for coaches in return for the 100 booked rooms you are giving them.

Step 3: Build A Reputation of Success

You never know how many people really know each other. Local business owners will proudly tell another business owner they know how partnering with you was a good investment and share the success they have built with you. Ask them for referrals to other businesses’ they know. If you have done a good job promoting them, it will be easier for you to get more sponsors. Keep examples of what you did to promote a business and show it to potential sponsors, this will show them your dedication to helping them grow.

Step 4: Advertise Properly

Make sure you ask them for the logo they want you to use. Put it everywhere from heat sheets, t-shirts, website, and social media features. There are so many ways you can do this but make sure you do it and do it well. We say that because it’s important to value companies that support you. Showing gratitude is important and teaches your athletes and families that working with the community is important to you and it becomes part of your team culture.

Step 5: Volunteer

Even if it’s just once a year, volunteer to do something with or for a sponsor. Maybe the team does a swimathon to raise money for a local cause or does a can food drive. Whatever that looks like for your team, make sure you are giving back to your community because in one way or another, your team benefits from being a part of it. From the schools they attend, to the restaurants they dine in, and the other organizations working to make your community thrive. Being active in the community will help you grow your team. You can start somewhere doing something in a way that fits the culture of your team and gives back to the community.

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