Get sponsorships to help you become more financially secure and keep doing what you love. Check out our guide on how to become a sponsored fitness athlete!
Sponsorship is a huge accomplishment that can help you boost your financial and professional status. But, how does sponsoring an athlete work? How to become a sponsored fitness athlete?
From free products/services, supplemental paycheck to mega deals, you stand an equal chance to any fit athletes for getting sponsored.
We'll let you in on the scoop on how to attract brands and nail athletic sponsorships in this fitness biz!
How Do You Get Sponsored In Fitness?
Know Why Companies Sponsor Fitness Athletes
The first step on how to become a sponsored fitness athlete is to know your potential sponsors and goals well. What do they want in return for splashing out their money on supporting you and other athletes?
Sponsorship is a form of marketing. Through it, brands can foster trust and credibility. This promotes their ultimate goal – to sell more products/services.
Sponsored fit athletes can help them along the way by:
- Brand: Enhance the business's image in the fitness communities.
- Sales: Boost sales thanks to the increased exposure to new fans, supporters, and athletes.
- PR: Sponsoring athletes is a way to show that the business is socially aware and wants to give back to the community. This draws positive attention from their target audience.
- Personal Touch: Having someone likable promoting products lends a personal touch to the brand itself.
- Product Testing: Customers are more likely to buy something tested by their role models, whether or not they’re aware that they are sponsored.
Some can even associate the promoted products with the athlete's performance. This link results in more clicks-through and sales.
When companies choose the right athletes with the right persona, they can connect with their audience on a far more personal level.
For example, a supplement company would love to partner with a person who has an amiable charm. They should also be good at communicating and presenting their products to the public.
In turn, brands can meet their goals to increase brand awareness and sales. Or it is to achieve something more personal such as improving their sense of corporate social responsibility.
Choose A Niche
Instead of embracing all fitness areas possible, you need to be an authority figure of a specific section.
This way, you can focus your quality content around it, build trust in what you say, and present it to a broad audience.
There are various types of content you can choose to focus on. Go for what you're good at, from bodybuilding, yoga, pilates, vegan diets, HIIT workouts, fitness marketing, and CrossFit!
Build An Authentic Audience
Brands ultimately want exposure and connection to their audience from fitness athletes.
That is to say; you should build an audience beyond the handful of fans you see at a race or fitness competition. Doing so helps increase your value to your prospective sponsors' eyes.
But, how do you become an athlete influencer? How can you gain more audience? Starting a blog is a great idea to build an audience.
Fitness fans love genuine, good research or experienced-based blog posts. They also love to learn something from a great fitness athlete like you.
Make sure that what you put on the blog is presented in a straightforward and engaging way.
Social networks are also a powerful tool for building your image. Use multiple channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok to your advantage.
Depending on your niche, you can create and share various types of content on these platforms.
- Fitness workout clips
- Diet and nutrition tips
- Fitness modeling videos
- At-home workout tips
- Commenting about up-to-date issues about modeling and fitness
Bring your followers and online friends values, and they will be ready to listen to what you share. Don't forget to use hashtags to push your content on top.
You may want to check out this video by Parker Walbeck on how to film your fitness videos:
Determine What Kind Of Sponsorship You Want
There are several types of sponsorship you could get. The more values you offer to the potential sponsors, the more you can choose on the table.
It is important to have an idea of what you can expect and build your goals around it:
You will normally receive goodies, services, or just discount offers in return for promoting their products.
This option is the basic form of sponsorship that new brands often give athletes to boost their exposure.
You'll get the same offers as one-off sponsorship, but it lasts for the long run as long as you keep promoting their products.
Besides long-term products and services, the brands also provide periodic payments.
This type of sponsorship depends greatly on the outcomes of the marketing campaign. Another name of it is affiliate sponsorship.
It resembles “commission” in the sense that you and your brands agree upon the percentage of the revenue or sales you'll get.
This option is the epitome of sponsorship that any fitness athlete yearns for. The sponsor will cover all the athletic expenses.
It includes competition entry fees, travel expense reimbursements, fitness equipment, and the like, on top of a salary.
In exchange, you should use your name and influence the brand's interest. It is often a long-term deal, and elite athletes or those with a strong online presence can nail it.
Reach Out For Potential Sponsors
Your proposal is another thing that can make or break the deal.
Your pitch should be straight-to-the-point and compelling. Approach businesses that sound potential to you with a well-thought-out proposal.
The next thing is to build rapport with the decision-makers. It's best to meet them in person or talk to them via phone. Emailing should be your last port of call as it is the least personal form of communication.
Most importantly, don't forget to follow up afterward. Most sponsorship seekers skip this step, and this mistake often costs them valuable opportunities.
Pro Tips About Fitness-Industry Sponsorship
What To Notice In A Sponsorship Contract?
Before signing any contract, it is important to thoroughly review the fine print to safeguard your interests. Don’t only focus on the benefits of athlete sponsorship; make sure you also check:
Sponsorship duration varies massively depending on you and the brands. It might be a year or several years.
Make sure it resonates with your fitness goals and does not intercept you from partnering with other brands (if you wish).
It is one of the most important considerations when entering into a sponsorship partnership. Check this to ensure you know the clauses and conditions when working with multiple brands.
What Kind Of Products You Will Be Promoting
You are the bridge between the audience and the brand. Your choice of promoted products (or services) should be in the interest of the two. Choose wisely.
For example, if your content is about being pro-vegan, and you are endorsing something made of leather, you're going to burn that bridge!
This requirement may vary. You might be asked to post content once a day on your social platforms.
Make sure that the proposed posting schedule is sustainable to your platforms. Is it worth what you're paid for?
Remember, you should not bombard your audience with too frequently promoting content. Otherwise, it'll backfire!
What You Are Allowed And Not Allowed To Post
Anything that ruins the image of the sponsors can cost you the sponsorship.
Thus, you want to be mindful of what you should and should not bring up in your social media posts. Also, avoid sensitive topics such as controversial issues or politics.
Do You Have To Win A Competition To Be Sponsored?
A company often does not place a premium on the athlete titles, but they can add more credibility for you.
Brands are more looking for marketable athletes with outstanding persona or large audience, or a combination of both.
As long as there is a crowd willing to trust your judgment about fitness products or supplements, you are a leg up on others seeking sponsorships.
What Companies To Contact For Individual Athlete Sponsorship?
Large companies often have brand ambassadors who represent their brands. Moreover, your requests often get drowned in tens if not hundreds of proposals.
But even if you're not of that Olympic level, there are still many brands willing to support individual fitness athletes:
- Red Bull
- Infinit Nutrition
- Professional's Choice
- State Farm
- Optimum Nutrition
- Red H Nutrition
How Much Do Sponsored Fitness Athletes Make?
Let's not sugar coat things: You're not likely to make a living out of sponsorships unless you're an elite athlete.
For those just starting, keep your expectations reasonable. Freebies like supplements, training gear, GoPro, or whatever in the shop are what companies give you in return.
If you get involved in affiliate marketing, you can enjoy an agreed rate of return.
But again, this is insubstantial. Top professional athletes are the only people who find sponsorship a more lucrative path. Reputed Gymshark athletes can rake in up to $100,000 annually from sponsorship deals.
Sponsorships are not exclusive to the elite group of athletes. Instead, they're open to every marketable one.
Let your persona shine, and foster your social media presence. You can increase the possibility of getting signed by several companies.
We hope this guide can show essential information on how to become a sponsored fitness athlete. Love what you're doing in your fitness journey and show it to the world through social media! Good luck!