Friday, January 25, 2008

On Getting Sponsored

I recently heard about a triathlete who is selling his bike. Of course, this happens all the time for various reasons but this particular athlete received his bike with top notch accessories (he's selling it for $5500) just a year ago as one of 3 amateur athletes selected for a coveted Team RaceAthlete sponsorship, which is very similar to the newly announced Team EVOTRI sponsorship.

In exchange for all the goodies (bike, personal coaching, wetsuits and other stuff), each athlete was asked to share their journey to Ironman Wisconsin to inspire and motivate others in the community. Travel costs to various events and meet-ups, personal time and the cost of other necessities for training/racing were NOT compensated for but can be assumed to have been substantial, more than the net worth of the goodies they got, although some would perhaps say they would have spent nearly as much on their own anyway. But in exchange, they were able to fulfill a lifelong dream and give back to the community by sharing their passion. Priceless.

Why am I writing about this?

Because I passed on the word about Team EVOTRI's sponsorship on my blog below and in some emails touting it as a great opportunity, which I think it is. But in some email communications with the athlete who's selling his bike (I didn't understand why he was doing so and had seen some online discussions about giving equipment to next year's team if sponsors did not stay on), I found out he didn't fully realize what he was getting into. He was willing and able to give the time and effort but was shocked at the out-of-pocket costs in addition. To quote part of what he said to me:

Would I take back the experience!? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.
Would I do it again knowing what I know now? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.

And come to find out, he's been very upfront about all of this on the TriScoop forum. I just didn't know because I don't visit there often.

I want to make sure that anyone who heard about the new sponsorship via me knows what *may* be involved. Similar to the ones I received for my 21 Run Salute campaign, substantial family and financial commitments could be required, far beyond simply training/racing hard and sharing your journey and inspiring others. Like sweepstakes prizes, free goods you receive and can keep via sponsorships are generally considered income and hence taxable (ref. IRS Other Income Rules). Some sponsors provide extra cash to cover that and some don't (I'm not sure about the Team EVOTRI sponsors). The athlete who's selling his bike says he's allowed to do what he wants with the equipment he received after fulfilling his sponsorship obligations, but that's not always the case. My husband bought a bike from All3Sports that was used before by Team All3Sports so it appears they were not allowed to keep their bikes.

Knowing fully well what I was getting into, here are my answers regarding my previous sponsorships:

Would I take back the experience!? NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from applying for Team EVOTRI to cut down my competition or anything :-) Just want everyone to ask questions and find out all you can before applying for or accepting ANY sponsorships. In fact, I have a question in right now about whether the BMC bike for the EVOTRI team would even come in a small enough size to fit me and if not, whether I could still be eligible to participate either riding another BMC bike model that fit or riding my old bike. We'll see ...


akshaye said...

The expenses are always there! But the experience is what counts.

Petraruns said...

Thank you SO for sponsoring me! No further tie-in required.. But seriously, this is very interesting. Seems a lot is hidden. Keep your eyes open honey..

ShirleyPerly said...

AK: I think so too.

Petra: You are welcome. You just need to run strong for the rhinos!

Susan said...

Very informative! Thank you.

lizzie lee said...

I am surely not applying (hehe)

I am back and catching up.

Iron Eric said...

So much going on. Lots of stuff to do, people to see and places to go.

Wil said...

Shirley I can assure you the costs of participating as a sponsored athlete last year with raceAthlete DID NOT outweigh, or even come remotely close to the net worth of the gear, coaching, etc. we received.

I went to 100% of the team events that relative required travel (which was optional). I paid for my travel expenses and race entry fees, and I'd have paid more than half of that anyway as it was associated with IMWI.

Never at any time were we promised free travel or lodging or race expenses. However, our sponsors did pay for our lodging when we went to Temecula, which was awesome. All personal expenses were clarified to everyone before agreeing to be on the team. Nothing at all was, or is hidden and the mandatory team events for Team Evotri are outlined in the press release, as they were for raceAthlete.

I hope you and others do consider coming out for the team, it's an amazing experience with an amazing group of people. I can understand how many seem to be finding this all too good to be true, but the fact of the matter is it's real, and it could be you having these kinds of fantastic opportunities this year! :)