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Sponsorships: Just Do It!


We are not even going to mention the company by name we are alluding to in the title of this article. There is no need to do so. An overwhelming majority of the 7 billion+ people on the planet will know who we are referring to if we also included their logo. How about the company with the logo that is a piece of fruit? Marketing is an essential part of any successful business. Sponsorship of athletes, events, venues, etc is a great way for a company to create awareness about their products or services.

Sponsorships:  Just Do It!

The businesses in your community do not have the kind of budgets mentioned above, but all companies should have some sort of marketing budget. Sponsorship is a marketing expense. When a company makes a decision about this type of expense, they are going to be looking at what kind of return they can get on this investment. This can be measured in several different ways. It could be how many eyeballs will view something, number of participants and spectators at the event, or the number of people it can cause to walk through the door of their place of business.

With that in mind, your pricing should be on a scale that takes into consideration the amount of exposure and prominence each sponsorship opportunity affords. Obviously smaller events will have lower dollar amounts, but can still make a huge impact on your bottom line and ability to grow in the future. Always over-deliver on value to your sponsors so they will be more likely to stay with you as your event grows along with the sponsorship prices. Be sure to check out our previous article on How to Attract Race Sponsors for some additional background information.

The key is to have several different levels to give sponsors a variety of options to match their budget. Obviously a title sponsor would command the largest dollar amount. From there it is a matter of scaling things relative to the cost and the amount of exposure the sponsor will receive. On the RaceDirector platform we have tools that allow you to communicate available sponsorships. Here is a screen shot of an event that has done a solid job of building a line-up of sponsorship opportunities and pricing them accordingly. This event is in its 4th year with over 2,000 runners, so it is an example of where you are trying to go with things.



In many communities, there is a lot of competition for sponsorship dollars for the innumerable number of events that take place these days. The dynamics and economics will be different in every community. The key is for you to get an understanding of what is working with other similar events, and figure out how to add as much value as you can to convince a sponsor to get on board with your race.



There is some low hanging fruit to be picked for every race when it comes to sponsorships. These are the types of sponsorships that virtually every race should probably have. The race bib is the perfect example of this. Every participant will be wearing one on the day of the event, and many will keep the race bib and display it with their finisher's award. Race bibs are not terribly expensive, but every little thing seems to add up in the budget. If you secure a sponsor, then you can upgrade the bib a bit and make sure that your logo and the sponsor's logo are well-represented. Shoot for a sponsorship level of $1 per participant for the bibs. The most obvious target for this sponsorship is your local running shop. Tell them you would also like to have the packet pick-up at their store as well, if they can offer a discount to runners that day. If your event has 500 people, it means the store is going to get hundreds of people in the front door. Many of these may be first-time customers. This is a no-brainer for the shop owner.

Signage and swag are other areas that are ripe for the picking for sponsorships. Check out last week's article about Race Swag that will make it more appealing for a sponsor to get involved. Overall, the key is to make sure that you look at your event and the merchants in your community and recognize the sponsorship opportunities that make sense, and price them accordingly. If you have done a great job building an event embraced by your community, you should have no problem finding the right businesses to partner with you. Just do it!

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