Part of your growth and success as a gym is one day earning facility sponsorships. These should come from local companies that support you and your community as well as national and international brands like Zebra.
Here are a few things to know and to be prepared for prior to asking for a sponsorship.
A gym owner or coach doesn’t go from 0-100 immediately. Some of the biggest names in the sport such as JacksonWink, AKA, and the MMA Lab all started small. They didn’t start earning sponsorships until they had high level champions day in and day out training in their rings and cages, hitting their bags, and rolling on their martial arts mats. Don’t think that large brands are going to “bet” on you; they want to see results first.
Approach the Companies You Already Love
Brands want partners who are authentic and loyal. If you already love a brand, approach them. If you go to a competitor you risk it looking like a money move. That isn’t the best choice, and brands are always more loyal to those who have been loyal to them. We can all name those gyms or athletes that every three or four years are telling you this is the best Gi or the best equipment, and it’s different every time.
Have Buy in From Your Stars
Just because you have an IBJJF World Champion or a famous athlete in your gym does not mean they are on the same page as you. That athlete or athletes need to be supporting your sponsors by posting pictures, tagging the brand, and avoiding conflicting brands whenever possible. If they are willing to participate in photo shoots or promotions for the gym, that will help you even more.
When approaching a brand, make sure you ask for something specific. Open-ended requests are challenging because nobody wants to be offended or to be offensive. If you have a specific equipment need or dollar amount needed, ask for that. Also, be prepared to explain to the company how you will help them get a return on their investment. Just having followers or a big name won’t work – you will need to actively promote the product to your sphere of influence in order to make the partnership successful.
Work 10x Harder When You Have a Sponsorship
One of the biggest reasons major combat sports brands turn down potential partnerships is because they have been burned in the past. Gym owners often promise the world and, once the deal is signed, go back to being gym owners. If you have a sponsorship you should be sending referrals to the company, promoting the brand online and in social media, and giving them shout outs when you talk to the media. If you do this your next sponsorship will be even bigger and more rewarding.
Sponsorships From Zebra
Did you know that Zebra is one of the largest sponsors of martial arts and mixed martial arts facilities in the world? Check out some of the gyms we sponsor, and if you are opening a new facility, ask us about discounted pricing in for showing the Zebra logo in your facility!