Friday 21st

Saturday 20th - Monday 22nd October: MX and Mini tracks open each day from 9.00 until dark. Trail loops closed. Sunday free sausage sizzle at lunch time.

Who wants a Sponsor?

Be advised – it’s a 2 way deal !

maddix park mx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent weeks have seen barely a day go by without one or more sponsor/rider/team announcements. In New Zealand, most of the teams have been formed for the 2011 season  but on the international scene, the reports keep coming:  Ben Townley has moved back to Kawasaki, Max Biaggi is continuing with Aprilia, Chad Reed is still testing- hasn’t hooked up yet, etcetera etcetera.

So, we thought we’d have a check around to find out how sponsorship works in New Zealand.

Who wants a sponsor? Almost everyone who has won a race, it would seem, given the phenomenal number of requests for sponsorship received by dealers and motorcycle importers throughout the country.

So what do the sponsors say? The general consensus is that a lot of riders are a little naïve and have unrealistic expectations. Sponsorship is not a given right and sponsors are not there to pay for you to hoon around the track for your personal sport and leisure. Sponsorship comes from effort and commitment and is a two way deal.

In fact, the big message coming back loud and clear is, to paraphrase the late President Kennedy - “Ask not what your sponsor can do for you – ask what you can do for your sponsor.”

What, then, are sponsors looking for?  Whether it be at top tier national level or at a more regional second tier level, sponsors are unanimous. They are business people; they expect some sort of return on their investment, even though some believe this return is difficult to quantify.

Performance on the podium is important, of course, but so is presentation and personality. Sponsors want a good profile that will engender sales of their product. They want people with a great attitude who present well on, and off, the track. They want riders who will promote their brand, exploit opportunities, give reasons why they ride their particular bike and, ideally, “convert” new riders. This can mean attending local events, ride days, dealer evenings and the like. It’s a two way deal. Sponsored riders are ambassadors for their brand.

Keeping sponsors informed, giving appropriate acknowledgement in thanks & media reports and displaying stickers on bikes, shirts, vehicles etc are also part of the two way deal.

In general, sponsors are looking for continuity and a long lasting sponsorship relationship. They tend not to poach as “there are no winners in that game, it just strokes the ego of the riders”.

When it comes down to the local Tauranga level, riders who can win, can present well, have a great attitude and who can bring something to the team are the ones that are wanted.

However, there are some specifics from individual dealers. Lindsay from Bayride Yamaha wants riders to attend  local events as well as those further afield and feels strong parental support is important when the rider is young; riders can become part of Julie and Ian’s Coastline Honda team if they buy a new bike and have demonstrated brand loyalty; you can be a Team Green rider and get access to all the pro set up data by simply owning a Kawasaki says Dave from Bay City Motorcycles; Rob from Red Baron (GasGas, Husqavarna) focuses on people skills as well as bike skills; Andrew from MotoGB Suzuki and  Matt from MakzGear (KTM, Husaberg) both stress presentation.  Nevertheless, they all agree, it is always a two way deal.

Sponsorship is not easy to obtain, especially in the current economic climate, but please think kindly of your local bike shop even if the answer is no. There are obviously importer/dealer sponsorship discounts but the costs when a  dealer commits to a sponsorship are not negligible. The 5% discount off your bike could be more than 40% off the dealer’s margin and frequently they pay out extra overtime hours getting bikes ready for your race day deadline.

Don’t let this put you off.  NZ has produced an astonishing number of world class riders.  If you know you have the skills, focus and commitment of a Josh Coppins or a Ben Townley, if you have a clear plan of what YOU can do for your sponsors, go tell them, go do it, go prove it.

Thanks to Simon Meade (Suzuki), Craig Brown (Gasgas, Husqavarna), Mike Wilkins (Kawasaki), Martin Wylie (Honda) and the local dealers for sharing their thoughts. 

PS: Tauranga Motorcycle Club also regularly budgets funds that can be used to sponsor club members. The normal cut off date for applications is 31st August.   See www.taurangamcc.co.nz for details.

 
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