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Raising money for new team

Old 09-12-17, 11:29 AM
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Raising money for new team

we're trying to raise money for a new team and have already went through all our connections. So now, we're just cold emailing people for potential sponsorships. We have a brochure that we'll send out, with our team description, goals, vision, what we can offer etc.. Our goal at this point is to raise money for kit costs and race reimbursements. We're a cat 2/3 team. I'm wondering if people who have done this before might have any advice for strategies on how to select potential sponsors, how to approach them, or any other advice in general.
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Old 09-12-17, 01:37 PM
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I would strongly encourage you to also factor in the cost of organizational insurance policies. I think we spend about $600 a year on two team policies - one general liability and one officers and directors. I think we got the GL policy through USAC.

As far as finding sponsors, outside of hitting up people I know, I can't offer any help. I don't think there is much interest, honestly, in supporting a 2/3 team. If you were a recognized non-profit, that might help.

The real question you have to answer is, what is the benefit for them? The only good answer I've ever seen is that a small contribution can be written off as a business advertising expense, though one with 0 ROI.
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Old 09-12-17, 07:50 PM
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+1 on "no real business typically supports a Cat 2-3 team".

The reality is that they will get pretty much nothing out of it, and possibly some negative publicity (team ride blocks road, gives finger to driver that honks, etc).
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Old 09-15-17, 11:02 AM
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It seems like every successful team in the Dallas area has a cycling shop as its primary sponsor. I can think of maybe one exception.

There was a team this year that started. No Cat 1s or pros or probably any Cat 2s. No bike shop sponsor. It has now folded.

Some bike shops sponsor multiple teams. RBM and BP sponsor multiple teams.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:03 AM
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Someone I know told me he called the primary sponsor of a team every time he saw one of their riders run a red light. To complain.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:39 AM
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For a recreational / non development team it is basically hard work and footwork. The bigger your team and club the more pull as sponsors will think you folks are future customers and generally happy to give some group discount. Free money is hard. Jersey ad space should be sold, but that takes work.

Find local retail places that customer could be influenced to patronize by cycling jerseys. Cycling is cool.
Ask for them to buy ad space and they get a jersey with it to put on their wall. Let them know you educate your team on product placement. Have some / multiple social media arms where pictures of you using product. or jersey gets out - and they get tagged. It gets a bit overboard on Facebook, but most retailers like Yelp reviews.

Anyway, as said by others, there is very little in it for the sponsor.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs
Someone I know told me he called the primary sponsor of a team every time he saw one of their riders run a red light. To complain.
That's why you just have race day kits.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:41 AM
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In Seattle the successful, and long running teams are pretty much the opposite. They secure a big sponsor that stays on. Stabucks recently went away from sponsoring a team so they moved to Seattle Cancer Care alliance. The Audi guys have.. Audi. Hagens Bermans is a law firm. Keller Rohrback is A property managment company. Metier is a bike shop / cafe / lifestyle thing that has been around forever in the scene.

Teams like Bikesport (local shop) folded. Recycled Cycles Racing couldn't keep people around due to budget. Apex used to be title sponspored by CycleU but they have since backed down to due to budget.

Think the message here is Bikeshops don't have as much money as finding some bigger title sponsor. Check out big non-profits or charitable organizations. Or if there are big companies locally that you have an in with, that's even better. The 10k budget (estimate) that Audi has is less than a drop in the bucket to the big brand (actually just a dealership, but my point stands) that does the sponsoring.

Clothing sponsors are good for the athletes and easy to come across. Don't expect money.
Coffee shops /cafe sponsors are easy, just don't expect big returns.
Nutrition, find the local company and show up at their doorstep. Was easy in Seattle. Just go down to the clif / nuun area and get product.
Find the local bike attorney and have him get you water bottles or the small soft goods.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:56 AM
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Just buy kits and race. And then seek sponsors the next year if you're team is doing well and growing.
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Old 09-15-17, 12:00 PM
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Why sponsor a sport that has no spectators. Where the only fans are the actual participants. One is actually not allowed to be a fan of local bike racing. I found that out. Any comment on the relative merits of teams (like a fan would do) means you are a big jerk who is tearing apart the cycling community.
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Old 09-15-17, 03:58 PM
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I'd also add that many non-cycling major sponsors will have someone that works at that place with a strong interest in cycling. Such and such car dealership sponsored our team because our team member X works there and got management to do it.
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Old 09-15-17, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs
One is actually not allowed to be a fan of local bike racing. I found that out. Any comment on the relative merits of teams (like a fan would do) means you are a big jerk who is tearing apart the cycling community.
Huh?
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Old 09-15-17, 05:15 PM
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Can't or won't help with dough, but if you're interested, I can offer you free chain oil for as long as the team stays together. Feel free to PM if interested.
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Old 09-15-17, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
Huh?
Before I ever raced, I posted a ranking of local crit teams on my private FB page. I'm told that caused bad feelings towards me. Just sort of like any fan would do for NBA or NFL or whatever.
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Old 09-15-17, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs
Before I ever raced, I posted a ranking of local crit teams on my private FB page. I'm told that caused bad feelings towards me. Just sort of like any fan would do for NBA or NFL or whatever.


So you didn't really know anything about racing, but decided to critique those that did?

Yeah, I can see how a negative response would play out in that scenario.
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Old 09-15-17, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval


So you didn't really know anything about racing, but decided to critique those that did?

Yeah, I can see how a negative response would play out in that scenario.
Yeah I never played in the NFL and I never played college football, and I never played in the NBA. But I follow teams.

This just goes to my point. You're actually not allowed to be fans in the amateur cycling scene. Are you allowed to cheer the scene in general and say "rah cycling!"? Yes, you can. But talk about movements of racers from one team to another and how that will impact the relative strengths of teams? Now you are part of the enemy. Even if not a single negative thing is said about a single cyclist. And you wonder why there are no sponsors, no fans, no interest. Just ego and lycra. I tried to be a fan. I realized it wasn't allowed.
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Old 09-15-17, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval


So you didn't really know anything about racing, but decided to critique those that did?

Yeah, I can see how a negative response would play out in that scenario.
I mean, he's been freely offering racing advice in here after doing like, a crit or three.
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Old 09-15-17, 09:36 PM
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IMO the best place to look for sponsors is in the local business community, especially locals that might benefit from good vibes within the cycling community, or the local fan base.

So, brew pubs, restaurants, real estate firms, banks, lawyers, etc. You best hope is to find one that meets the profile, and has a key person with ties to bicycling, ie. ex-racer, has children who race, or any close ties to or love of the sport.

So scratch your heads and try to figure who you know that might work at the right place. Keep in mind that it's nearly impossible to sell the idea straight out as a good advertising purchase. Instead it's about community, coupled with a bit of added name recognition, and association with something good.
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Old 09-15-17, 10:14 PM
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You've already gone through your employers? You also mention "what we can offer..", what is it you're offering potential sponsors?
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Old 09-15-17, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf
I mean, he's been freely offering racing advice in here after doing like, a crit or three.
I figure a lot of people here get bored hearing from the same five guys who rule this subforum.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:33 PM
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Lawyers are great for sponsors, when my corpse is on the ground and the cops are asking the driver questions, they already know who to call.
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Old 09-15-17, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ttoc6
Recycled Cycles Racing couldn't keep people around due to budget.
Well that's a bummer - that was my old team! (cat 5-cat 2)

It was a great team when I was there. Only some cat 2's at the highest level, but decent support from the shop and we got to use their Sprinter van to drive to races. We were like the Bad News Bears; we sucked in general, but won some stuff here and there.

I remember the days with @Hida Yanra riding around in that Sprinter van chasing upgrade points!
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Old 09-16-17, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret
Lawyers are great for sponsors, when my corpse is on the ground and the cops are asking the driver questions, they already know who to call.
You jest, but in NYC the biggest race sponsor is an attorney group who specializes is bicycle lawsuits.
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Old 09-16-17, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Radish_legs
But talk about movements of racers from one team to another and how that will impact the relative strengths of teams? Now you are part of the enemy.
I guess it depends on the tone, but some sort of parody magazine following the local scene as if it was the pro circuit would be a right laugh.
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Old 09-16-17, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm
Well that's a bummer - that was my old team! (cat 5-cat 2)

It was a great team when I was there. Only some cat 2's at the highest level, but decent support from the shop and we got to use their Sprinter van to drive to races. We were like the Bad News Bears; we sucked in general, but won some stuff here and there.

I remember the days with riding around in that Sprinter van chasing upgrade points!
First bike race I ever went to, I rode in that sprinter. Borrowed a cross bike and rode with some college teammates out to some God awful course in Issaquah area.

The shop is still going strong. It was like my after school hangout through college. But the team doesn't really keep anyone anymore. You'd see the ocassionally kit pop up at Seward but that's about it.

And this is a team that used to provide custom, top of the line, hand built steel frame to all their cat 1 /2 riders..
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