Monday, 21 April 2008

Sponsors support our sport

Last week I went to a sponsorship contract signing; the signing of an agreement between a team and their sponsor. Since Gideon and Christelle du Toit started a few years ago they have been supportive of adventure racing. They advertise on and they sponsor a team; in a cash donation and by offering the team a substantial discount on products. What I like most about Kreature is that they don't care how well the team does. They want the team to compete regularly, be proud Kreature ambassadors and - most of all - have fun.

While some sponsors want to sponsor only winning teams, others - like Kreature - are more interested in getting their name into the community by supporting people who are involved in the community (attend club evenings, meet-and-mingle) and actively participating in adventure races (sprint and distance) and related disciplines (trail running, mtb, orienteering, paddling). And it works. The new Kreature team has just setup a Blog to showcase their team and activities -

My mom recently told me about a thing she read about the person who selects young students for the Bolshoi Ballet school. They don't always choose the best dancers; they choose those students who are willing to learn and be trained the Bolshoi way.

Tying this back to AR; a sponsor's return is probably far greater when they support a team that gets involved and has fun taking part in all kinds of events. Teams that win don't make the front page of the Sunday Times anyway and I've yet to discover what the actual return is from tv coverage of an event (for team sponsors and the sport). Minimal at best.

A sponsor's biggest exposure avenue is within the adventure racing community. These are the people who buy and use their products; and adventure racers have friends and family who they introduce to these products and services. In this way the message spreads.

Mark Goulding sent an email to the National AR email group earlier this month about this - sponsor return. He is formerly of the first Team Kreature; currently playing dad and offering his marshalling services at races, like Swazi Xtreme. I have pasted his comments below because Mark really puts into perspective how people in our community support sponsors because the sponsors support our sport.

"Here are some examples of how I have done this for the last 6 years that I have been involved with AR," says Mark.

  1. I needed a car so I bought a MITSUBISHI as they sponsored Darkzone, Moolmanshoek etc.

  2. I had to service the car so this was done at SANDOWN MOTORS

  3. I must eat veggies each day so I think (and buy) MCCAIN. Sometimes I even buy their oven chips!

  4. For carb drinks when training, protein shakes between meals at work when I was racing (and diet meal replacements now that I am fat) I use USN. If it works for Heidi and Stephan it works for me and I specifically moved from other brands to USN due to their long support of that team.

  5. I bought cycling kit from Linden Cycles and SUMMIT CYCLES.

  6. I need sunglasses for when I drive to work so I wear WILEYX or NIKE.

  7. All my sporting clothing is FIRST ASCENT or CAPESTORM.

  8. I must eat breakfast and JUNGLE OATS is a good low GI index food.

  9. When I drink bottled water I try to make sure its AQUELLA and POWERADE for sports drinks and I get my company to stock them and Liqui Fruit in the canteen.

  10. I buy all my AR equipment from and only if they dont stock the item do I look at CAPE UNION MART or DUE SOUTH.

  11. All my business casual clothing is JEEP and when we needed a pram and baby car seat we bought the JEEP range.

  12. Having been informed by my wife that I must take vitamins I now buy FOODSTATE.

  13. I race in MONTRAIL shoes and now have 4 pairs and have given away about 3 when I wore them out

  14. I have SALOMON that I wear as casual shoes and I use their 30L backpacks for AR's (or my 2nd clean bag as my hand luggage bag when I fly) and the 15L backpack with bladder when I trail run and mountain bike. I will shortly be buying their Aqua shoes to try paddling in.

  15. I bought all my boats etc from COMPASS SPORT and have just bought a PFD and other equipment from Robbie Herreveld.

  16. My next bike will be a SPECIALIZED.

  17. I tried STIRLING LIGHT LAGER but could not go that far and had to move onto other SAB beers (sorry Saffy - at least I gave it a go and still stayed with the company!)

  18. I have talked a number of my family and friends into SUUNTO watches, SALOMON clothing and shoes and ever a SUBARU WRX (that was a fun one)

  19. NETCARE 911 is the ambulance that gets called when we need it at work.

  20. Being in the financial field I will go and check out BUNKER CAPITAL to see their products and will hopefully learn more about them as the Bull grows so I can see whether they are people I or my clients may want to work with.

  21. There are a couple of other sponsors such as GRAVITY TRAINING who I am unfortunatly unable to give work to as I don't move in those circles (not many accountants want rope skills training as part of their profession!) but if I ever hear of a client or friend that needs it - I will be in there like a shot.

Mark's email is on target and his email is a true reflection of the impact that sponsorships have within their target community.

Sponsors, we appreciate your support of our sport.

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