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Going to be starting out with my car soon, what can I expect to find sponsor wise? Should I be activly looking for support or will I not find much till I have a bunch of events under my belt? Also what kind of info should I be collecting as I go along if im serious about getting sponsors?
 

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You can probably expect nothing sponsor wise. Unless your best buddys dad owns a body shop, then you can probably get a great deal on paint. Or maybe a liquor store; free kegs!

Who do you know? That's what matters. Results don't really matter at all, no matter how many events you have done.
 

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Matt's answer above is very realistic, but people make things happen.

I would not mimic Ken Block, but I would use his success as a model and a business model. What is Ken selling? Personality, Hype, Excitement and Fans, Loyal fans who will support him and cheer him on, and buy the products he promotes.

If you have a great personality, a great "look," and you are willing to work 24/7 to promote yourself, you might find some sponsorship. Add to the mix, something different, an additional element outside of the rally car, and you will give yourself additional value.

At the end of the day the audience for Rally in the United States remains small, maybe growing, so it is an uphill battle, but with each individual who gets to the top (Pastrana & Block) it makes the path a little easier for others to follow.

Good Luck!
 

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NASA Rally Sport grassroots!!!
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What you should expect is that the amount of money that comes in, divided by the amount of hours that you spend both searching, preparing, and then maybe performing the activities required of the sponsorship agreement, ends up being similar to the same as if you had picked up a part-time job.

Sometimes.

And the rest of the time it's the same amount of work, but you get nothing. If you love doing that job (i.e., marketing) then that will be fine. If you just want to go racing, it may not be worth the time.

In other words, getting "sponsorship" is selling yourself as advertiser for a company. It is a job. It's a lot of work. It's not "free money".

Good luck! :)

Anders
 

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In other words, getting "sponsorship" is selling yourself as advertiser for a company. It is a job. It's a lot of work. It's not "free money".
Anders is totally right, and I am bummed I forgot to mention it in my typically snarky reply up top.

I will quantify it with personal experience.

In 2005 I had roughly 26k in sponsorship of in-kind product and cash. I worked ~30-35hours a week to get it. That was sweet. It let me win the 2005 Rally America Gp2 National Championship against myself. A success of which I am still riding upon, and garners praise nearly every day.

In 2006 when I was trying to do the Fiesta Trophy I worked ~40-50hours a week on securing sponsorship and spent ~$5,000 on random shit to try and do it. I got some sponsorship agreements, but less than what I needed ($200,000) so it was a no-go. Thousands of hours for nothing, but that's fine.

In 2008, I was like eff that nosie and delivered pizzas on top of my real job. I worked ~20 hours a week and made about $22,000. More $$, less time, lots more free pizza and like 200% more pretty college girls that wanted breadsticks.

I should also state that now in 2009/10 getting sponsorship type support with a reasonably successful Youtube account and web marketing plan takes less than 5 hours a month. Not 2005 levels, but almost, and I've only done 1 rally in the last year.

Stickers on cars are borderline pointless, Youtube is not. How do you sell products? Do you know?
 

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Stickers on cars are borderline pointless, Youtube is not. How do you sell products? Do you know?
If we would have been able to capitilize on the money we spent in rally, we would still be doing it rather than wondering where it all went!

When you are looking for a potential sponsor all they are thinking (unless you are buddies) is how are you going to make me more money?.

Period - it is that easy, it should not need any more explanation.

Matt is right - the right marketing plan is the key to making said sponsor more sales, which eqauls more money, which equals sponsorship opportunities.
 

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ITURNRT
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In 2008, I was like eff that nosie and delivered pizzas on top of my real job. I worked ~20 hours a week and made about $22,000. More $$, less time, lots more free pizza and like 200% more pretty college girls that wanted breadsticks.
Tell me where you got ~$20/hour delivering pizzas!


But Anders and Matt make a good point. You need to look at your "sponsorship" as a job. Divide by the hours you spend hunting and butt kissing. If it comes out to a $10/hour job, you might as well just pick up a side job. Plus you get benefits of that job, like free pizza or maybe you work in a mechanics shop and get access to tools or cheap materials.

Sponsorship is a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" thing.
 

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We're In It 2 Finish!!
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The long version

We have had very good success with our primary sponsor, Hitchcock Insurance Agency. They have an advertising co-op program with Erie Insurance and Erie will match their advertising dollars. Once we went that route, the size of the sponsorship deal doubled with no addtional expense to the Hitchcock Group.

As others have said, it takes a lot of hours to "earn" their sponsorship. When we're racing, they recieve no benefit. When we win, they recieve no benefit, when we do anything outside of our local geographical area they recieve no benefit.

What we do to "earn" their advertising dollars? All of which I am behind on at this time!!

We post on facebook, we write and send updates to an emailing list of over 750 people, mostly from our local chamber directory, we enter the car in every local parade and pass out candy and pens with their name on it (they supply the goodies), we park the car in front of their business (wax it up and let the car earn its own keep for once), we take out a booth at 2 local fairs (one is an afternoon and the other is 3 full days), we put kids in and out of the car taking pictures and then we give the parents our bus. card with our website on it, when they go online to download the "free" picture of their kid they see our sponsor's name, we are at the 2nd fair for 3 long, tough days, but when someone calls them or says "I saw your car at the Pumpkin Festival" it reassures them that we are working to "earn" their business. Every year we give them an 8x10 photo in a frame with a hand written thank you on it for them to put on their counter. This year we gave them a digital frame with pictures from the races, the fairs and a lot of shots of their decals on the car!

It is a lot of work, but I get to talk about rally racing to hundreds of people, we show in car footage on laptops and then I get to talk to more people about rally racing! At the parades, I sit in a very hot car, doing very slow speeds smiling and waving to thousands of people while Darlene and my kids begrudginly pass out candies to the masses, even in the dead of Winter at the hoilday parades.

In 2008 we won alot of awards and almost won the Regional Cup (damn that Greenhouse kid!! LOL), hell we were even in a clip on Canada's ESPN but that did not translate into any type of sponsorship at all. We have a mutli page 4-color sponsorship packet that hasn't sealed any deals, we have a powerpoint presentation with imbedded video and still the same thing.

We struggle with any type of local coverage. We send in press releases to all of the local papers and local radio stations, but in 4 years we haven't gotten one article. We were very fortunate to have an article in the NY Times that was written about us while at NEFR in '08. That was awesome, but they can't mention sponsors because of advertising (blah, blah)....

So... here's my take... No matter what you will work your ass off to rally race. Everyone does. Getting ready for the race and getting to the race will be the easy part. Paying for it will be the hard part, unless your parents own oil, or you've come from a sponsor friendly sport (like anything with 2 wheels) and brought your sponsorship deals with you. We have earned more rejection letters than most and when I figure dollars per hour I should be getting unemployment and welfare! But I do all of that... so I can do what I love to do ! Rally Racing ;)

One last note: We did land an awesome larger sponsorship in late '08 due to oury hard work with writting and promoting the team and our local sponsors, but as with a lot of companies.. times are tough and money is tight. Hopefully we will be be out in front when the economy turns around !
 

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my experience is in downhill mountain bike racing:

in the early 2000's i raced 10-13 races a year and was the guy to beat in the expert class; sometimes getting times that would place me in pro. i emailed, called and wrote letters to over a dozen companies trying to get good deals on parts; not even asking for free. then i started working at an industry company and i approached the vendors as an employee that happens to race; and started getting all sorts of free stuff. shocks, tires, frames, all of my gear ... free. i was blown away that as a dedicated racer i could barely get a good deal on parts but as a dude that worked at a shop i could put together most of my bike for nothing.

so +12 on it's not your results nearly as much as you as a person and who you know.
 

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ITURNRT
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so +12 on it's not your results nearly as much as you as a person and who you know.

This is a good summary of it. You're selling yourself. You can always fudge results to make them look good.

"7th overall!!!" (when there were only 10 overall)
"1st in class!!!" (you're the only one in class)
 

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ITURNRT
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"We were the fastest truck there!"
I use that line a lot ;)
You could use the pro sports statistics. "I'm the fastest on an even stage that was run in the reverse direction with a full moon on a solstice."
 
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