: What Can Tournament Pro Sponsor Expect?
12-30-2003, 03:42 PM
In a earlier post I requested some numbers on the expense cost to fish a tournament circuit like the PWT. I got some honest forth right numbers. The number I will use here is $25,000 for the whole circuit. Let say I was one of five to pay a sponsorship of $5,000.00 or 20%.
What can I expect from this, as far as exposure or benefit to my business. I know it depends on the type of products but for this let's say non marine-fishing products. The real key as I see it is to get non-fishing related sponsors involved. One way I thought of some time ago was fantasy fisherman...where anyone could pick from a group of fisherman and at the end of tournament season the one with the most pounds wins a chance to go to the championship and pick again or keep those that got him there. This is just one of the ideas I shared with the Infisherman Folks years ago, in a effort to get more envolved in the fun.
12-30-2003, 04:00 PM
Well you shared it and they used it. They teamed up with ESPN Outdoors to create "Fantasy Fishing". Great idea, it was a fun game.
12-30-2003, 04:06 PM
If I recall the writer for the ESPN/PWT articles is known to you :-)
Hopefully next year ESPN will run it again just so we can beat Mike Norris. LOL
12-30-2003, 04:53 PM
So I understand your question, you are taking the Sponsors position, correct?
If that is the case you will need to do plenty of research about the person you may be sponsoring. Get references, talk to his other sponsors. Check out how many sponsors the person is representing.
If there are too many sponsors already, they may not be able to provide a value to you. For example, I have many good friends in the industry, decision makers for company pro-staffs, that won't touch an angler if they have over half a dozen sponsors. Many of them feel these anglers would not have enough time to dedicate to their product. However, some will sponsor an angler if they are a "big" name angler who gets loads of press.
Look and see how many articles in local papers, local and regional magazines, national magazines, e-zine and news articles, seminar appearances, sport show appearances, radio spots, articles they have "written," TV spots and the list goes on and on.
Some anglers are all over the place and work their tails off. A few of the best in the business, specifically walleye fishing, at getting exposure, and I know I am leaving plenty out, are anglers like Skarlis, Kavajecz, Parsons, Mark Martin, LaCourse, Fairbairn, Rick Olson, Harsh and even relative newcomers like Juls and Carl Grunwaldt are good at getting exposure for themselves the products they represent. All of these people are topnotch professionals who project positive attitudes and exceptional ability to grab the attention of the people their sponsors are attempting to reach.
With that said, it is truly up to you, the sponsor, to place a value on your investment, but a $5000 bump is worth a pretty fair amount of exposure.
A good way for anglers to approach a potential sponsor is to ask not what your sponsor can do for you, but what can you do for your sponsor.
12-31-2003, 06:33 AM
I agree a Pro with more then 6 companies would be a poor investment. This is why I came up with 5 companies or 20% of the total expense of a circuit or $5,000.00 While exposure is nice could I expect them to take customers out for a day of fishing, perhaps during practice or would that be asking too much. If you see what I am driving at. Some feel that I am anti tournament instead I would like to be involved but need to be accountable to my mfg as the pro does as well. Looking for venues and options to full fill this. Thanks Dave
12-31-2003, 08:12 AM
don't "expect" anything. when talking to whom ever your thinking of sponsoring, spell out what you would like them to do. it doesn't sound like your interested in said "pro" sponsoring/advertising your products by using,talking about at boat shows,tourney's,mag articles etc. ??? that's the advertising part of "doing" for your sponsors..simply put.
taking your customers out doesn't sound far of at all...during a pre-fish is something that you might not get. that pre-fish to most is all important time on the water they are going to spend.
12-31-2003, 08:21 AM
I only listed a few of things pros do to earn and keep their sponsorships. Taking sponsors out for a day of fishing is commonplace and a good idea. This lets the sponsor get a firsthand feeling for how the sponsored pro acts and presents themselves in public. Sure, some pros will be on their best behavior, but generally what you see when you are out with them and how they interact with others is a good measuring stick for how they will represent you.
Some of my best examples of this for 2003 have been Pete Harsh, Ron Gazvoda, Tim Minnema, Mark Martin, Rick LaCourse. I fished with all of these anglers this year and they were truly exceptional when it came to professionalism.
I also covered the three major trails for Walleye Central this season as well as Western Walleye Magazine and the PWT for ESPN Outdoors. This gives me tremendous access to all of the pros and quite frankly many of them are truly exceptional people who are driven to fish hard and represent their sponsors with the highest levels of professionalism. If you are looking to sponsor anglers I would suggest hooking up with an NPAA (National Professional Anglers Association) pro. These folks take being a professional seriously and treat the sport like the business that it is.
01-01-2004, 06:38 AM
What I don't want is to bog the Pro down with stuff to do while he needs to concentrate on business at hand. However, I am looking for someone to more than compete they must do some decent PR too. I have seen lines promoted with a pro one year then not the next. In speaking with them they were disapointed for the value they recieved for the dollar spent, so they seek other venues of media exposure some of my thoughts. Most PWT guys I have fished with in the past have been top notch pro's. Just need to justify the expense sometimes hard to do to non fishing corporate public relations person.
01-01-2004, 07:33 AM
Just a thought, why does it have to be a Pro Walleye fisherman that needs sponsors? Why not a fisherman that wants to go from the Pro side of Bass fishing to the co side of walleye fishing for awhile to learn how to catch those eye's before going pro. He could still promote your company very well, just doesn't have the big name as of yet. Seem's to me that a spnosor needs people who can promote their products so the company can justify their advertising dollars.
01-01-2004, 09:17 AM
I have been on the Corporate side of the walleye competitive fishing equasion for over 20 years, including sponsorship and organization of the original circuits as they began. Expectations have evolved over the two decades since competitive walleye fishing started, but there are some constants.
Winning is good, but is NOT what really counts. A win needs to be handled well by both the Sponsor AND the Pro, and carries some short term mileage, but isn't the 'big picture' overall goal. Wins and Championship wins are a bonus; an opportunity one on this side hopes for but is samrt enough to not demand or even expect. It is the Sponsor's duty and that of the Pro to see to it a win is utilized well, and worked permanently into the fabric of the Pro's overall image. Most Sponsors add incentives for wins and for making the final cut to the Championship, in hopes of the opportunity, but don't build the campaign around expectations there because of the simple fact there is only ONE winner in any event.
Any aspiring Pro needs to study PR and Marketing. What many of the Pros miss is the fact that their IMAGE is a product(THE product!!), and needs to be treated as such carefully, consistently, and with great care. A Sponsor hopes to become assocoated as part and parcel with the Pro's Image, carrying the Sponsor's Branding along in the overall marketing effort extended by ALL the Sponsors and the Pro.
The Sponsor will not, I repeat, will NOT 'create' the Pro's Image for him/her unless the Sponsor is embarking on amarketing mission and has chosen a Pro to center the effort around. Even then, the Sponsor is going to rely upon the Pro to perform the normal mechanics necessary for the Sponsor to do the job. The Sponsor helps provide the platform from which the Pro can present the overall package. A Pro/Sponsor relationship is exactly that, a rleationship. Keep in mind the Sponsor likely has MANY Pro/Sponsor relationships operating at any one time, so it is incumbent upon the Pro to keep positive contact, determine the Sponsor's immediate neeeds, and meet them as well as the Pro is able.
The Sponsor's Branding is EVERYTHING. Present it well, present it often, and UNDERRSTAND what Brand means. To the public, the logo front and center means the Pro IS the Brand. That is the reason ( at least in part) the Sponsors look for a Pro who knows his/her limitiations and secures just the right balance of products and brands to create and manage his/her overall image portfolio.
An educated Pro expects that the Sponsor's product will occasionally not perform to expectations. Products fail, break, fall apart, every possible scenario one might imagine could and sometimes does happen. Get over it if it effects success on any one day; work WITH the Sponsor to correct whatever was the problem, and do so POSITIVELY!! The Sponsor is not interested in a call from the Pro that is a litany of criticism. If a boat breaks, a powerhead blows, an electric motor loses it's motherboard, a rod breaks, a lure fails, a reel gear blows, a net handle breaks, take a deep breath, and call the Sponsor to RESOLVE the issue as a representative of that company, BECAUSE THE PRO IS A REPRESENTATIVE of that company ( paid, by the way. $5000 is pretty good money, not considering product and discounts, too). Keep your disappointment contained, work with the Sponsor to improve the overall product line, and move forward.
We listen for comments onstage and off and mark any negative heard about a competitors product as well. NEVER speak negatively about a competitor, either an angler OR a product. A Sponsor or prospective Sponsor hearing that sort of thing is very aware that they could be the recipient of behavior of this sort if the Pro jumps ship, and will begin to figure out a way to cut the strings, fast. In conversation when a competitirs product comes up, say something positive about it, and explain why your Sponsor's product is superior. NO NEGATIVES!!
There's quite a bit more; in fact I could go on for another half hour. In short, know the business from both sides of the fence, and realize that you are on the side of the fence you are on because the industry has chosen to spend the money to create the very platform on which you stand. Represent your image and that of your Sponsors from that vantage point and you will be in demand within the industry.
01-01-2004, 10:21 AM
This is as good a information as it gets..thanks for your insight
01-01-2004, 10:37 AM
Mine is simple request or thought.....use the product it will sell itself by word of mouth......some MFG's major ones I might add are using it under private label. While the $5,000 is the base we could easily track sales and the pro through his efforts get a quarterly residual. I don't need a big on stage presentation, I think that will send our customers the other way. A quiet I use this product and here is what it does..to the consumer and our accts. The second requirement is to do a (one) retreat with our customers...seminars that are entertaining and educational...and apppeal to the family side of fishing....consider the wife/husband if it is a female and the kids. Not the hardcore I am the best and here is why presentation.
Lastly, the money comes from somewhere, my budget, I need to justify to the toughest person that is me and my bottom line. However if this pro could avail himself to take my larger clients fishing it would pay dividends in the end for me and be a win win. More residuals for the pro. Oh yes a must is the boat and equipment must look top notch. No incentives for being a champion or winning just consistency and available to meet the public at the weigh ins and different functions. One of the biggest producers of sales and exposure is the Richard Petty Consumer race car driving program where ordinary folks can drive a race car around the track...this type of activity pays huge dividends. Will I attend the tournaments "no" I don't have time.
But will have checks and balances in place to be sure we are getting our bucks worth. Is my thoughts clearer now. Sounds easy doesn't it really this is what companies like mine are looking for.
01-01-2004, 11:00 AM
I have been doing a great deal of research into non-endemic sponsors, and I have a method for quantifying value. I use the analysis to show the true value of all of the exposure that I receive. I've used my exposure numbers, types, frequency, duration, and demographics from last year to project into 2004.
I'd rather not show this to everyone, but if you like to discuss it, please feel free to email me.
01-02-2004, 01:56 AM
Thought I would just add my two cents worth on the subject of taking some of your clients fishing.First I believe most pros get into the Tournament game more becuase they LOVE to Fish then they do for the $$ although the $$ at the level you are talking of is huge!!
That in mind you should by all means try and get your customers lined up with some fishing trips, I'm sure that as long as you are willing to work with and around your pros schedual and keep in mind that with all the traveling he has to do,maintance on both tow vehihcle and boat,other promos and some time squezed in for his family that his time may be very limited, he should be more then happy to do this for you.
I myself really enjoy the times I get to fish with my different sponsors as it helps both of us to get too know each other better and on a more personnel level.I also think that these trips help both the Pro/Sponsor when taking out clients as it helps the client feel like maybe more then just a number, thus doing more with the company/sponsor which in turn means renewed contract for Pro, WIN!
Also keep in mind that this is only my two cents worth, and I do not fish at that level, but I do fish two state circuits, all a long way from home,work a full time job,boat shows and sportsman shows,help with several communty fishing events,do some seminars for clubs and local stores, and try to squeze in some time to restore old cars so I can still relate to the pro being sort on time. I would still ask him to take them fishing!!!
01-03-2004, 01:41 PM
The most diffuicult part of the equasion to overcome for some Pros is to place themselves in the position described earlier in Indistry Man's post. MAYBE 1 out of 100 actually do, and that is why one sees the success rate in making fishing compretitively one's living for aspiring Pros as low as it is.
01-03-2004, 08:00 PM
Yes, the industry man's post (wonder who that really is?) does give great advice for a potential sponsor, as well as an aspiring tournament fisherman towards gaining sponsorship.
Course, my thinking does offer an opinion of correction. It is not the industry in itself that drives tournaments through their sponsorship. But rather, it is whether the customer will support (by buying) the products being promoted in this fashion.
01-05-2004, 08:19 AM
If you want a list of anglers who I feel would represent you with professionalism and the highest level of integrity please drop me a line and I will supply you with contact info. I would be more than happy to help you.
01-05-2004, 09:03 AM
I must admit, I agree and try to fall into all of the things mentioned in the above posts. Being a touring pro for over ten years now, It has been my goal to gain the proper partnerships so I don't have to over extend myself thus cutting short the value to my sponsors.
The problem lies with this. I am a full time professional angler, meaning my living is fishing and promoting the sport of fishing. If the my five sponsors only pay 20% of the cost of the PWT for the season (all iclusive like your previos example) then yes my expenses are covered, but how have I made a living for myself and family?
Professional angling is not a non-profit business, the goal of the serious professional is to make a living, not just cover expenses. Winning from the tournaments are nice, but not a given. The competition is tough on the water and off.
I feel that everything said above is very true. Pros should be good fisherman, but do not have to win every event they fish. They need to promote well, be good company spokesmen, look and speak well in the public, and be very creative problem solvers to help the marketing partners sell more products.
It would be awesome if more sponsors thought about getting the work done when we aren't fishing, but many time we are forced to juggle the fishing and promoting. That's ok, every job has its challenges.
My appologies for rambling, and good luck with your search.
01-05-2004, 03:17 PM
I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THIS I'AM A WALLEYE FISHERMAN AND I FISH ABOUT
10 TO 15 TOURNAMENTS A YEAR. I HAVE 2 SPONSOR THAT COVERS MOST OF MY EXPENCES. WHEY BOTH PAY ABOUT 5000 A YEAR. THEY ARE BOTH OFFERD NAMES ON THE BOAT, SHIRTS AND THE CHANCE TO GO OR SEND ANY ONE THEY WANT ON A DAY ON THE WATER AS LONG AS IT DOSE NOT CONFLICK WITH A TOURNAMENT. I FEEL THAT A SPONERSHIP IS TO WORK FOR THE CLIENT IN ANY WAY IT WILL BENAFIT THEM.