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How To Sponsor A Bowler
Just as in business, anyone seeking financial support or wishing to invest in a proposed venture would first develop a written business plan addressing the important issues pertaining to the venture. The following suggested steps are intended to offer ideas for success in the development of a bowler/sponsor business relationship for a competitive bowling events:
Schedule - initiate a one year schedule of events with specific term limitations. Create a calendar of events such as specific tournaments, leagues, or any type of event where prize monies are available. Build a calendar of potential events on a spreadsheet so the bowler and potential investor(s) may preview the scope of events and where money will be applied. A sponsor should be considered a partner in the business venture and should be treated with the same respect as any partner is treated in other successful business strategies.
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Cost Per Event - assign a projected cost per event. If a given tournament is slated as a target event, then research and document the amount of the entry fee to be paid in advance and exactly when the entry fee must be paid to properly register for competition. Next, determine how much additional monies are needed for event preparation (such as the acquisition of new equipment, practice fees, travel expense projections, meals, lodging, tips, and so on).
Combined Costs - assign a projected total cost for all events listed on the calendar of events. Determine how much total monies are needed for capitalizing the venture and break down that amount into individual increments on the per event basis. Itemize per event projected costs, including league play, local events on weekends, events where the bowler must travel and incur expenses accordingly. Do not embellish costs but rather strive for accuracy and honest evaluations of anticipated project costs.
Prize Monies - determine total prize funds available for earning income from each event on the calendar. It is helpful to show a sample prize fund payout from a given event. The potential sponsor/investor must be able to easily see how prize monies are distributed in tournaments, leagues, or any other competitions scheduled where monetary prizes are available to win. Develop a flow chart from the time an event is entered and the entry fee is paid to the time of event completion including the final standings indicated where the bowler finishes. Indicate how the invested funds will be distributed and used for competing in the given event. Show top prizes and lowest prizes which can be potentially won based on the bowler's performance in each given event. A documented recap of a prize fund payout from a prior event is always good to include in the business plan, particularly if the bowler's name appears as a previous winner of a prize.
Contract - develop a contract between the bowler and the sponsor or sponsors. The written agreement should encapsulate all scheduled events on the calendar, all monies required to compete in the scheduled events in total and broken down on a per event basis, and how the distribution of prize earnings will flow back to the sponsors/investors. As example, if ten total tournament events accumulates an average cost of $500. per event including entry fees, travel expenses, lodging, meals, etc., projected costs for the combined ten events would be $5000. If an additional cost projection of $500.00, for example, is to be used throughout the term of the agreement for such things as practice, new equipment or general pro shop expenses, for advanced reservations and entry fees. Also, for association or organization membership fees, or for clothing or apparel, then list these types of anticipated expenses separately from the per event assigned costs until the projected amount of $5500.00 is denoted as the total amount of monies needed to capitalize the venture. Other important features in a sponsorship agreement should include the flow of earnings from each event back to the sponsors/investors. Establish in advance a deadline date for the invested funds to be forwarded to the bowler and winnings flowing back to sponsors/investors. The entire venture must be handled with total transparency for all parties involved.
Distribution of Prize Monies - make it clear in the contract when and how prize monies will be distributed to sponsors. There should be no doubt as to when and how any investor will receive prize monies earned from scheduled events and how these monies will be distributed between bowler and sponsor or sponsors. Articulate precisely how much of each dollar earned in competition by the bowler will be forwarded to each sponsor/investor. Nothing alienates investors from continuation of sponsorship after the term of a contract expires as poor accountability by the bowler and the inability to execute all conditions of the contract. Integrity is of paramount importance.
Recap of Events - make sure the bowler provides a recap of each scheduled event and mail, email, or fax a copy of the final results, or a copy of ongoing results, to each investor during the contract term. Communication of results, good or less than good, is key to a positive business relationship by all parties. The bowler must communicate with the investors precisely at the time and in the manner indicated in the agreement.
Contract Shares - include contract shareholder provisions in the umbrella of the contract agreement. Allow any investor to purchase one or more shares, including all the shares if desired, by a specific investment calendar date. In the example of the $5500. venture above, selling shares in increments of $100. with 55 available shares tendered can be one good way to initiate the venture. Selling shares of $500. per share with 11 shares in total is another option. Individual shareholder agreements must be available so all parties are privy to names, addresses, contact information and numbers of shares each shareholder owns until all the shares are sold and individual shareholder agreements are finalized. It helps to have final shareholder agreements notarized but it is not necessary.
Accountant Services - it is helpful to use the services of an accountant to help organize a business plan and execute the terms of agreement. It is also important to keep accurate records of all transactions relevant to the contract for all participating parties. Documenting ongoing expenses incurred as the bowler moves through the contract period makes it easy at the end of the term of the contract to reconcile the accounts. An accurate record of all money transactions, of all prizes earned during the term of the agreement, and an accurate record of all monies distributed to sponsors during the term of the agreement must be provided by the bowler. It is recommended that all parties think with the end in mind. Be ready to have all bookkeeping records ready for submission to an accountant when it comes time to prepare income tax returns.
Prepare for Success - planning for success is the first step in achieving success. Dedicate and commit to developing a written business plan, albeit informal and to the point, and include a biography of the bowlers performance accomplishments spanning as many years time as possible, including background information about the bowler such as a level of education, work history, references from friends and business people, and also include action photos of the bowler during competition accompanying a publicity photo of the bowler. Closing the deal between the bowler and an investor begins with selling the bowler as a viable professional entity.
Potential investors might be league members, business owners known in a local community, individuals who enjoy being a part of the sporting community, or perhaps someone who has been a known sponsor of bowlers in the past? After a written business plan and contracts are prepared, make several copies so to distribute as needed to prospective shareholder investors. Arrange of a brief meeting to explain the venture, appoint an investor to act as managing partner, and leave the business plan with the shareholders/investors with the understanding that a specific time and date to make necessary arrangement to finalize terms of agreement will be announced.
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