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Obtaining A Bowling Sponsor

If you are a highly skilled and experienced competitive player seeking financial support for competing in tournaments, our staff at suggests you consider the notion of obtaining a bowling sponsor. Although it may seem that all you need to do is ask someone or some company for money, it can be tricky if you do not first develop a plan for obtaining a bowling sponsor.

Organize a plan of action before presenting the notion of sponsorship to a target person or groups of people. Just as in business, anyone seeking financial support for a proposed venture would need to develop a written business plan to present to potential investors. An informal, written business plan should accompany any request for financial support in bowling ventures and must be ready for presentation. Also include a publicity photo of yourself and a “Mini-Bio” complete with an overview of your competitive bowling history.

The following ten suggested steps offer ideas for success in acquiring a "sponsor" or "financial backer" for a competitive bowling venture:

Schedule - Initiate a one year schedule of events where you intend to compete. Create a calendar of events with specific tournaments, leagues, or any type of event you wish to enter where prize monies are available. Next, put your calendar in a spreadsheet or some other computer format so potential investor(s) can preview the scope of events where his or her money will be applied.

Cost Per Event - Assign a projected cost per event included in your calendar of events. For example, if a 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 money is 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 in your calendar of events. When a potential investor reviews your written plan, it is important that the entire cost of the venture be calculated as well as the per event costs. Itemize per event projected costs, including league play, local events on weekends, events where you must travel and incur expenses, and any other costs needed in preparation for competition. Be careful not to have excessive cost overrun projections.

Prize Money - Assign the amount of prize money and 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 similar event so the potential investor can easily see how prize money is distributed in tournaments, leagues, or any other competitions scheduled. Do not expect an investor to know as much about the process as you know. It is important to show an event flow chart from the time an event is entered and the entry fee is paid to the time your competition is completed and how you fared in the competition. Make your prospective sponsor feel like a part of the process and treat the investor as a true partner and ally in the venture.

Contract - Offer a contract to each investor. The written agreement should encapsulate all scheduled events on your calendar, all money required to compete in the venture, in total and broken down on a per event basis. The agreement should also show how the distribution of prize earnings will flow back to the investor. For example, if you have ten total tournament events on your calendar and each event accumulates an average cost of $500.00 per event including entry fees, travel expenses, lodging, meals, etc., your projected costs for the combined ten events would be $5000.00. You might also project an additional $500.00 to be used throughout the term of the agreement for such things as practice, new equipment, general pro shop expenses, advanced reservations or entry fees, membership fees, or for clothing. List these types of anticipated expenses separately from the per event assigned costs until you arrive at the projected amount of $5500.00 as the total amount of money needed to capitalize the venture.

Distribution of Prize Money - Make it clear in the contract when and how the prize money will be distributed to sponsors. There should be no doubt as to when and how any investor will receive prize money earned from scheduled events and how the money will be distributed between bowler and sponsor(s). Articulate precisely how much of each dollar earned in competition by you, the bowler, will be forwarded to each sponsor/investor. Nothing alienates investors from continuation of sponsorship after the term of a contract expires as much as poor accountability by the bowler and the inability to execute all conditions of the contract.

Recap of Events - Make sure you recap the event and send a copy of the final results or a copy of ongoing results to each investor as you move through the contract term. Communication of results - good or bad - is key to investor retention. Treat even the smallest investor as part of your bowling family. Communicate with the investors precisely at the time and in the manner you indicate in the agreement.

Contract Shares - Include contract shareholder provisions in the umbrella of your 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 $5500.00 venture above, you might wish to sell shares in increments of $100.00 with 55 available shares tendered. Or you may wish to offer shares of $500.00 per share with 11 shares in total available for purchase. Individual shareholder agreements must be available so all you need to do is to fill in names, addresses, contact information and numbers of shares each shareholder owns until all the shares are sold and individual shareholder agreements are finalized. When you sell shares, it is easier to retain investors for long periods of time.

Accountant Services - It is helpful to use the services of an accountant to help organize a business plan and execute the terms of agreement as you progress through the term of the agreement. It is also important to keep accurate records of all transactions relevant to the contract, to the investors, and for personal tax accounting purposes. Keep all receipts for expenses incurred as you move through the contract period and document each expense on a spreadsheet after each event listed on the calendar of events is completed. An accurate record of all money transactions, of all prizes earned during the term of the agreement, and an accurate record of all money distributed to sponsors during the term of the agreement must be completed.

Prepare for Success - Prepare a list of potential prospects who may be in a position to invest in your venture. Potential investors can be fellow league members, business owners you know in your community, individuals who enjoy being a part of the sporting community, or perhaps someone who has been a bowling sponsor in the past.

Planning for success is the first step in achieving success. Closing the deal with an investor begins with selling yourself first. Taking the investor on a journey through your bowling career highlights is not enough. You must convince the investor of your seriousness regarding your bowling career and how prepared you are to protect your interests and the interests of the investor(s).

Be a true professional, dress like a professional, and act like a professional. That effort will help you be successful in anything you do.

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