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Getting a triathlon sponsorship can be a difficult process. The first and most difficult step is to build a resumé that showcases your talents, your race results, and your future racing goals. Most sponsors want to see that you are getting podium finishes or working toward them on a regular basis, so before seeking any sponsorship, you will need to train properly and take part in races regularly. For sponsors, product placement is most important, and the best place for their name to be placed is on the podium. Your triathlon sponsorship search will succeed or fail based on what you can offer the sponsor, not the other way around.
A race resumé is a powerful tool that will help you convince sponsors to invest in your cause, and it is a difficult document to build. You will need to participate in many triathlons and attempt to produce results in your category. This may take one year, or it may take ten, but the more positive race results you garner, the better your chances will be of gaining sponsorship. If you are racing for a specific cause, your results may matter less than the cause itself, but in most cases, you will need to convince the sponsors that their business name will get positive exposure at races.
Make a list of potential sponsors and take note of what industries they serve. Tailor your sponsorship letter to each company and note how your participation in triathlons will benefit the business. Consider both local and national — or even worldwide — companies, and be reasonable when considering what you expect from the sponsor. Write your letter with clear language, and outline what you can offer and what you expect in return. The more specific you are, the more likely a sponsor will be to offer triathlon sponsorship. The idea is to let the sponsor know what they will get in return for their investment. Think like a businessman, not just an athlete.
Some sponsors may give you a triathlon sponsorship that will cover your entry costs, while others may send you triathlon-specific equipment to use. Still others may simply give you a nominal amount of sponsorship money in return for advertising space on a jersey or hat. You will need to consider all of these situations as successes, and whatever you do, do not turn down sponsorship because they did not offer what you expected. This is an opportunity to develop a relationship with the sponsor and potentially build on the triathlon sponsorship in the future.
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