Back on February 4th, 2016, we released this blog, How to Get Sponsored. We think it’s still pretty good, but in the spirit of the here and now, we present you with version 2.0.
Here at Wolf Pack Discs, we take great pride in our team members and our selection process. We work hard to make sure that we select the right players to fit within our team and that will positively represent Wolf Pack Discs. To find our players, we start with our financial projections for WPD, which helps us to determine how many players we can take on each year. We receive numerous inquiries about what it takes to gain sponsorship and we wanted to give players advice on how to contact companies. We have compiled some ideas and notes that might help you on your journey.
- Think Outside the Box - Players often search out disc golf companies or teams for sponsorship when they should start by looking into their surrounding communities. We suggest looking for community partners such as restaurants, breweries, local markets or small businesses. SERIOUSLY! This is the best advice we can give. Sure we all want that manufacture logo on our back, and paid tourney entry, but we all can't be 1050 rated ya know? Find a win win for both parties. Local pizza shop? Coffee place? LOCAL is key. If you play ten events in a year in your area you are exposing that logo to 500+ people, use that as your brand.
- Do Not Send a Facebook Message - Starting a professional relationship with a text or Facebook message is one of Brian’s (Owner of Wolf Pack Discs, LLC.) biggest pet peeves. If you are trying to connect with a local company ask the owner or marketing director out for lunch or a beer, approach this with a business mindset. Reach out with a well constructed email or phone call as a first step.
- Be Friendly - With Wolf Pack Discs, there is a team or family-like mentality. We usually do not want to disc, chill or road trip with assholes. Be friendly, do not talk when people throw, pick up trash around the course, donate time to clubs, help new players and most of all don’t be an asshole. “The most important thing we want is someone we can trust to represent our company in a positive way. We don’t want anyone on our team that is not fun to play with.” Sam Yanssens from Mitten Bags
- Sponsorship Comes in Many Forms - Only the top professional players get events paid for and travel compensation, and not all of them even get that. When you are starting relationships with companies take what you can get to start. Be happy with some new shirts to wear or a set of new putters for example. All good relationships need to be nurtured and so that they can grow and become stronger over time. Many times its a discount code for merch or merch comps in hopes that the player can resell them and make money for their events.
- Know the Rules - There is nothing more annoying during tournament play than someone breaking the rules. It’s bad for the game and creates the wrong atmosphere for the sport. It’s even worse if that person is representing your brand. “The goal is to represent a brand, the player needs to be aware that they represent themselves and the game of disc golf.” Ray Sherwood, owner of Sherwood Brewing Company.
- Volunteer - One of the key things that Wolf Pack Discs, LLC. notices are the people at events who are the true “workers,” whether it’s the TD, score counters, course spotters or marshals. These are the players who are at all the events, show up early, leave late, run to get the CTP on the farthest hole away-type of people. These are the people we love and we love to put a shirt on those people. We want those players at course clean-up day and providing input at planning meetings making sure other people have as much fun with the sport as they can. “An important thing we can all do to keep disc golf growing is to engage with local parks, community leaders and businesses. I am always looking to sponsor people making a positive impact not just within the disc golf community but also working to introduce disc golf in a positive and professional manner to people that may not know of disc golf or have very limited knowledge of the sport or how the sport can impact the people and businesses of a community.” Shea Abbgy, Owner of Great Lakes Disc.
- Play a lot (and with new people) - Kind of goes without saying, exposure is key. For us, skill isn’t the number one thing we look at, its exposure on many levels. We love players who play leagues, tournaments and casual. “Playing in a tournament is a way for me to meet new people and have fun, if you’re being a turd nugget during the event, you’re probably not WPD material.” Papa states. We really look at players who play outside of their local area as well.
- Be well-rounded - While disc golf is life, it likely shouldn’t be your whole life unless you are getting a W2 from it and have your name stamped all over your signature discs. Have a job, family, friends and hobbies all outside of disc golf. It will keep your life balanced, and will also help with the next one here….
- Grow the Sport - This is a great game we play, and for companies to continue to pop up and get larger, the sport needs to grow as well. Players should look for ways to introduce the sport to new people who haven’t been exposed to it before. These are some of the best people to have in your company, because those newbies need coaching, discs and other gear once they fall in love with the sport. It might as well be your sponsor’s stuff they are getting their hands on. Richard and Brian got involved with disc golf through the YMCA and have taught 1000’s of kids to golf. We look for players that are helping at events, putting on clinics and always ready to rock and roll.
- Social Media - We love players that post a lot about disc golf and continue a positive brand image through their social media as well. It is a business after all. Wes Shinevar of Team Discraft and Discraft Underground Captain says its all about “consistency, being active and not being sporadic or just posting during the main season.”
- Know the answer to this question- Like all good relationships, sponsorship is a “two way street so have an answer prepared for ‘What can you do for me?’ ” says Black Ace Disc Golf owner and PDGA State Coordinator for Michigan, Mark Stephens. Whether it is a huge Facebook following, playing and doing well in lots of tourneys, brewing a delicious beer, or generally making people around you have a great time, think about what you bring to the table. Would you take money from your company and sponsor you?
We hope this helps you on your journey, and best of luck!