What Do Sponsors Look For?

Why would a company want to sponsor you or anyone else for that matter? With the high costs of magazine and online advertising, companies are looking for alternative ways to promote their products and services at a lower cost. The trick for them is getting exposure in their target market. Aftermarket performance parts companies tend to look for ways to build their brand through racing. If they can find a driver/car that appears to have a following in their target market, it’s much cheaper for them to give out some free parts to that driver to help build their brand in the right way than to spend thousands on magazine advertising.

So what do the sponsors want out of it? Put yourself in the shoes of the potential sponsor. If you were investing money or parts, what would you want to get out of the deal? Exposure and a winning car is the obvious answer. But that’s not always the only important aspect of the arrangement for the sponsor. Goals differ from sponsor to sponsor of course, but the typical requirements for any car sponsorship program usually involve exposure, influence and marketability of the candidate, as well as the car they are trying to get sponsored. Get at least two of those three right and you have a chance. Nail all three and you’re on your way to landing some great sponsorship deals.

Racing Is a Business

Before you go any further you must understand that racing, and racing sponsorship, is a business. The people you’re trying to get free parts from are looking for a return on their investment – specifically, sponsoring you and your car should help them sell more products or services. Motorsports sponsorship is a waste of money in the eyes of many business owners. If they can’t envision their sponsorship of your car resulting in more sales, you have no chance. You’ll have to sell yourself as an effective marketing tool for them. Be prepared to face rejection. With that said, your online activity plays an important role in making yourself valuable to the sponsor – as you’ll find that many companies don’t always have the resources to market their products/services online effectively. If they feel they will be able to use you for that it could be the determining factor for them.

Quotes from actual Sponsors

We asked several shops what they look for when considering candidates for sponsorship. We got some pretty good feedback. Take a look below:

“Some key things we look for:

1) The applicant’s connectedness in social media and online circles.
2) Whether the applicant has his/her own website to document their build.
3) Whether the applicant plans to do the installations on his/her own.
4) Whether the applicant is a clear and effective communicator.

If the applicant is well-connected online and is going to get us a lot of online publicity, if the applicant is going to do the installation personally, and if the applicant writes well, then they are eligible for sponsorship consideration.”

-Eric Ferguson
Andy’s Auto Sport

“I have a very strict sponsorship policy now.  IF the person who contacts me doesn’t already run parts he bought from us with his hard earned money and hasn’t already proven he promotes us then I won’t even consider sponsorship.  The guys who are out there promoting a company FIRST without sponsorship are the only ones worthy of being sponsored, they prove they like you FIRST and then you help them.”

-David Buschur
Buschur Racing

“The easy ones are the ones that have already done some pretty cool stuff.  If they can show prior history of wins even if it’s not in the same area as they’re looking for sponsorships, then that’s a good sign.  If they’re brand new to the scene and idea, then it’s a lot harder because they’re going to have to have a more organized plan to present.  The more professional they appear and the more organized they are, then the more likely I am to take them seriously.”

-Anonymous Sponsor

“Here at Forced Performance we get a lot of people asking us to sponsor their projects; unfortunately many people don’t have what it takes. In order to be considered for sponsorship you need to have some track record showing that you can perform. If you’re “planning” on racing that’s not what we want to hear. Show us what you’ve done, if you’ve done nothing we aren’t in a position to fund your learning experience.

With that being said if you think you got what it takes and can prove that you’re a solid investment send us a sponsorship request. Here are the important things to include in that e-mail:

  • Who you are.
  • What car are we sponsoring?
  • What have you done?
  • What are you planning on doing?
  • What sponsors do you already have?
  • What’s done to the car?
  • What do you want from us?”

Forced Performance Turbochargers

Most folks want sponsorship without doing any of the work. As a supplier of cold hard cash and graphics to my sponsored drivers it really comes down to what they can do for us. As in, how are you going to make us more successful? This means they have to be an ambassador for our company. They have to not only know our products but become a sales person while out at events. Talking about the product is really not enough. They have to generate leads and perform as a true sales person. Having said that, this is what I ask when we start to talk about sponsorship. What can you do for us? If they can’t sell themselves to us, we won’t take them on. If it’s just a simple email they send, we hardly give it a 2nd look. If it’s a well worded email that comes with a racing resume and how they plan on promoting us and generating leads, then we talk.

– Erron Spalsbury
Sticky Vinyl Graphics


To Summarize

Straight from the horse’s mouth. Be organized, professional, and put some effort into your preparation. These shops have been sponsoring cars/drivers for years. Looks like a good confirmation of everything we’ve posted here. We’ll continue to add more quotes to this page. Check back often!


Add a Comment