So let’s talk about the big word “Sponsorship”. To some it means making a name for themselves in Paintball, to others it’s a status. To me it’s “Help to give back to this great sport” when I can.
I’ve only played in a few Tournaments in my 23yrs of playing. I really suck at the game and I’m no one special. My body is beat up from 21 yrs of military service. I’m overweight and smoke. I probably run the 40 yard dash in 90 seconds, so that tells you how fast I really am.
Every so often I can still pull out a great move on the field. I think I’m even friendly to people I meet at other fields. Man I hope I don’t annoy any of you.
I travel way to much with my job and can’t even make a big or major event.
So how did I get all my sponsors. Maybe this will help some of you.
To be very honest this all started out as a JOKE, just poking fun at sponsorship in general. However all that took a turn for the better. I was approached by a well known person in paintball and on the MCB forum.
We exchanged a few emails and next thing you know I have a sponsor. Nothing expensive, just a decent discount for supplies. I didn’t take advantage as some would do, because he is just a small business and depends on retail to keep him afloat.
Then it all of a sudden fell into place. Small business was were it’s at. I didn’t just pick them random, They were people who had helped me in the past and still continue to help me to this day.
I review a lot of my sponsor’s items, and if you have read any of my reviews, you know I’m truthful about what I write. I don’t care who gave it to me, if it was free or at a discount, I’m going to be truthful about it. I can’t help my sponsors or players if I lie about a product.
One thing a lot of players forget, small business can become big companies. If they don’t become big companies, then they stay small and still provide an excellent service to you and the community.
So in other words I wanted to help out those who helped me any way that I can/could.
Do I have an advantage:
Yes I do in a way. I travel the US and the World with my job. I travel with my gear, so I’m able to play when I can. Thus reaching a larger player base for my sponsors. I have a lot of fun doing it. My goal is to eventually meet all my sponsors within the next yr or so.
Well it has been a yr since I enquired about sponsorship from a few places. To be honest, it was very easy. It’s really about presentation and how you ask the person(s).
When you speak to a prospective sponsor, appearance is everything. Body language and English language. Be respectful at all times. Most of the sponsors I deal with, know me or know of me. They know I’m a straight up guy who will keep my word.
I posted a very truthful resume about myself, and let the sponsors know what I could and can’t do for them. They were very understanding about all of it.
I think what kind of threw some off was that I was just a one man team. I don’t think that it’s rare, but kind of odd in a way. I was surprised that some took the chance, but then again, look at how much money they saved with me.
I’m not very good, I careless if I win or loose. I can’t run very fast, so I’m really slow. I guess because I love the game so much, and just play to have fun, was a main reason. Also I am very thankful for help that I have received from companies in the past.
Many were happy with the reviews I wrote and the business I bought them long before I even considered sponsorship. It was just my way of saying “Thank You” for the quality service that was provided.
I’m often asked if I get “FREE STUFF” and the answer is “YES”. However that
“FREE STUFF” is given away to young players starting out or to a local field for them to test or use on their equipment. Remember, “NOTHING IS FREE” in a sponsorship. There is a price to pay for having sponsorship.
Sponsored items are something that is to be shared with other players who can’t afford or do not have or could be potential customers. At least that’s the way I look at it.
For example, if a player has fogged goggles, I better be applying some Fog Doc on them, even if it means missing a game. That’s what my sponsor would expect from me. That’s the responsibility I took on accepting the items and sponsorship.
It’s my job to make sure I show the player how it’s used, how to apply it and what to use to clean it.
It’s also my responsibility to make sure that players leave with a free sample and ordering instructions.
Maybe he/she won’t order an item, but I’m sure he/she will let their buddy use it and he/she may order some.
Yes I get discounts. If someone wants to test drive one of my sponsor’s barrels, I better let them use it. How else can they know for sure if that’s what they want. I better know the specs and who makes it. Be able to tell them the history of the barrel and how to order it.
When I get a discount, I buy just what I need.
For example, I only use 100 round pods. I bought 12 from my sponsor at a discount.
I have a lot of 100 round pods, enough to hold two cases of paint at one time. I make sure my sponsors pods are loaded and used first before I use another. Even the Pit Crew knows that.
A few months back I lost two on the field. A young man returned them to me and I let him keep them. One for honesty and the other reason was to help him out. He didn’t have many pods and I know money is tight. He probably saved his “Lawn Mower” money for a few months just to make that weekend. It didn’t hurt me any and it put a smile on his face.
He left happy and I felt good, but he also left with a sponsor flyer. Maybe he’ll use it sometime down the road when he has a little more money in his pocket. Maybe he will do the same thing I did for him when he has a sponsor. There is always a positive reaction in paintball.
What not to do:
It is team policy not to get hundreds of dollars worth of items from our sponsors. It’s just not right. They have bills and families. Money is tight all around. Even with companies.
Being a one man team makes decisions very easy.
There is no arguing with team members and items that we receive, are needed and well appreciated. The items are put to good use. No commitment to a team or tournament is a great feeling. Knowing I’m not going to hear any whining or crying about my choices in products or sponsors. I’m free to promote my sponsors as I please and my way.
My Wife who is my pit crew usually directs me towards a person who needs help. There are times I do not wish to be bothered, but what kind of player would that make me. That is why I choose the playing style I play. I can take a few games off to help a player with gun issues or fogged goggles. I don’t have to worry about other team members. Also my team reputation is on the line.
I would like to say that our total sponsor package for the 2011 season has probably reached an all time high of $250 total of all sponsor’s combined items.
To many players, That does not seem like a lot, but for what we have received, that will last well thru 2011 and probably into half of 2012 season. I’m not wasteful with items. Just because I’m sponsored, does not mean that I get items every time I call.
I’m working on a gun sponsorship now. Nothing fancy no real big name. It’s something new and old that’s on the market. I have already made the deal and he understands that this will not be my main gun. I still prefer my 99” Auto Cocker over any gun I have used.
He understands that and is okay with it.
What I will do after I’m done playing with it for the day. I’ll let other players use it and test drive it for a game. Get their feed back on it and help my sponsor improve on his item with player feed back.
The gun will not be free, it will be at a discount but it will be mine to use as I please. Promoting him and his product is priority, as with all my sponsors.
Now many players wouldn’t take a gun unless it was a big name sponsor or a $1000+ gun. Hey you take what you can get. Bad Company did not do to bad when they were shooting stock Spyders for a season.
This gun probably won’t be ready for a while, but I can wait without putting pressure on him.
My Contract Agreements:
Well let’s just say they are not bound by paper work, but by the WORD OF TWO MEN making an agreement to up hold a promise. I know in this day and time that’s a hard thing to do or even hear of, but that’s how I conduct business.
The option I leave my Sponsor, they can walk at anytime due to not being happy with me or are just plain tired with paintball, or financial hardship has hit them. No ill feelings. I won’t talk or post bad about them on forums. That’s not what grown men do.
I guess the total over view of all this is not to be Greedy and accept what you are offered. Don’t try and go after a major brand, especially if your starting out. Help to promote your local small Paintball business or smaller companies on line. Your treated a lot better, it’s more personal, you won’t have the stress that major companies put on you to win.
SPONSORSHIP IS EARNED and NOT JUST GIVEN:
Many new players feel that they should get sponsors right off the bat, just because they have been a team for two months and have been playing for 4 months.
Just because you shoot an EGO, doesn’t mean you deserve sponsorship from Planet Eclipse. What you really need to do is sit back and ask yourself, what you have really done for the sport of paintball. Have you really paid your dues that you deserve to have their items in your stable?
To be honest, If a company gave me just a shake and shoot hopper, I’d promote the HELL out of it. Reason, because I would be very proud to know that they thought of me that much to give it to me. I’m that type of player and always will be.
As of now, Team Black Rain will have 10 sponsors to carry into the 2011 season. We are very happy that they are willing to take a chance with us and appreciate they accept how much I travel with my job. They understand that I cannot attend major events or play as often as most do. It’s just an understanding that we have. I can’t change my life just for paintball. The real world doesn’t work that way.
Whiskey Two Four
B&M Chainmaille and Jewelry
Nana’s Bandanas (Thanks Mom)
You have to have standards when you pick a sponsor. Well atleast I do. Since a one man team cannot always travel or attend major events, I have to carefully pick and choose who I ask.
If I was offered a major company sponsorship (which I know will never happen),doesn't mean I'll accept it. I have to make sure it's what I want in my stable. It has to fit the team profile.
Truthfully I wouldn't accept one of the newest guns on the market if it was given to me for free. I would really have no need for it and possibly the company. I just check out all the others who have spent money on them Ask questions and maybe play a game with it. Then if I like it,I'll research it and probably buy a used one.
I run my team how I see fit,and play where I want to. I can't let a company regulate me. I created Team Blackrain many yrs ago. I'm not going to let a company or individual ruin it.
It is nice seeing my team name on a few of my sponsors pages. That to me is just perfect. It's nice knowing I can just have fun when I'm playing and stop playing for the day when I want. No sponsor looking over my back wondering why I'm not winning or making game winning moves.
I like the fact that my Team Jersey doesn't look like a NASCAR racing suit. Stickers are put on as an option if I decide to. That's why I have a Helmet.
I do manage to make sure I keep my sponsors seperate. That meaning,if I get MOLLE from one place,I'm not going to accept MOLLE from another sponsor,with out the permission of my Tactical sponsor. It's just not good business.
I have a sponsor that provides lense for my mask,I won't accept a set of lenses from another sponsor. They are designated as my sponsor for pods and other items.
In doing this I keep peace with myself and able to keep peace with my sponsors. They all provide a unique service and I want to keep it that way. It's just nice knowing that I can try and help out a few great people that the paintball community hasn't heard of,or heard very little of.
Also I have known a few of these guys for a few yrs and I would like to keep them as my friends.
What I have learned on this path I have traveled, It’s not easy having sponsorship. It’s my responsibility to write reviews. My responsibility to have a banner made. My responsibility to make sure their name is put out to the public. Try and make big events even if they are local.
Trial and error has taught me a few things and all I can do is get better. This is a different yr and a new season.
If you see us at an event or your field, come on up and say hello. I don’t bite very hard these days. Age is catching up.
This post has been edited by blackrain: 19 October 2010 - 06:30 PM