The Fishing Industry and Sponsorship
Aug 17, 2005
Should you approach the fishing industry for sponsorship?
First let's look at it from the lure manufacturer's standpoint. Just think of your favorite lure manufacturer for a minute. Now imagine that you work at their plant. One of your jobs may be to sort through the hundreds of emails, hundreds of faxes, and hundreds of letters each day from anglers seeking sponsorship via products and or cash. Included in those communications you will also find donation requests from - fishing clubs, non-profit organizations, company friends, etc.
Can you imagine having that job?
After a few days of employment wouldn't all the resumes start to look the same? How about all the product or financial donations requests, wouldn't they all start to look the same too? Of course they would. How would you know which one to support or sponsor?
Don't think I made this example up - I didn't. The fishing industry as whole, whether it is manufacturers of: lures, line, rods, reels, boats, motors, sunglasses, hooks, tackle boxes, etc. is literally inundated, every single day, with hundreds maybe thousands of sponsorship requests.
And have you ever heard of the old saying, "It's not what you know, it's who you know?" Some sponsorship deals are landed that way too - the good 'ol boy network. Not much you can do about that.
As you can see, approaching the fishing industry for sponsorship looks like an uphill battle - and it is. That's why I recommend avoiding companies in the fishing industry early on in your fishing career. If you happen to be fortunate enough to get some sort of sponsorship from within the industry, it'll more than likely end up being a small discount on products purchased. Even though that may save you a little money, it won't help with your biggest expense - tournament entry fees.
Let me put it this way. Pretend you sell advertising for your local newspaper and you present ad rates to a local tire company. In reply to your advertising rates they respond with - "Can we give you some tires at a discount in exchange for the ad?" Don't laugh, many anglers do exactly that. They exchange small discounts on product in order to advertise a particular fishing company, just so they can say they're sponsored. Crazy isn't it?
So, what's an aspiring tournament angler to do for sponsorship?
Outside of the fishing industry you'll find companies that have advertising, marketing, and promoting needs. When you start to think of your "sponsorship offer" as an "advertising/marketing/promoting" avenue you'll start to see the possibilities of landing cash for your entry fees. That's what I did and still recommend. Look outside of the fishing industry for cash sponsorship and stay away from the fishing industry initially. You'll find a lot less rejection in my opinion.
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