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Starting a new team..looking for some ideas and suggestions(7 posts)

Starting a new team..looking for some ideas and suggestionsBurtonSpeedy
Dec 29, 2002 2:42 PM
I have been a long time lurker around here, but figured this forum might have some ideas and suggestions for me. I am interested in starting a small cycling team: 4 to 5 guy's to race Cat 1/2 and 3 to 4 to race Cat 3/4 (a "feeder" team for the Cat 1/2 squad)

Any suggestions or ideas on securing sponsorship? This looks to be the toughest part. From my estimates, you need about $850 per team member to cover race fees and clothing. It would be nice to be able to cover hotel rooms/gas/equipment etc. But I am trying to be realistic with my goals for funding.

Besides Voler are there any other custom cycling clothing companies out there? My former team was with Voler, so I know all about that program.

thanks,

BurtonSpeedy
couple suggestionslonefrontranger
Dec 30, 2002 8:05 PM
I've always run things from the grassroots perspective, so I'm not the end all on sponsorship. Someone who's been successful at it from an elite perspective (perhaps Sherpa23) would be a better source for that info, BUT...

Something I've always been told by sponsors and other industry types is that men's semipro / 3/4 & elite teams are kind of a dime a dozen. You need to do something to distinguish yourself from the ruck, otherwise you'll merely get the usual offers like Trek regional sponsorships, and very little cash.

The thing that set us off from the crowd when I was managing / promoting was that I had both women and juniors, and junior women, and a junior women's national triathlon champ. That paved the way for all the $$ we did manage to get.

Other examples would be International Christian, Indianapolis Hand Center, et cetera. The point is that the sponsors pay these guys and gals to race to raise money and awareness for the cause.

Other than that, you are starting a tad late in the season. Most teams have all their groundwork laid in August, and proposals made and in the bag by October. That being said, get all the resume / background info from all your prospective members. Take that, distill it down, find all the most appealing and interesting factoids and list them along with your team's mission statement and 2003 goals on a one-page "impact sheet". This should be well designed and eye-catching, with not a lot of info but just enough appeal to make your prospective sponsors ask for more.

Along with the impact sheet, you'll want to write a more in-depth team resume. This is a multi-page document with photos of all the team members, their career highlights, individual goals, and what your team offers to prospective sponsors. At the end, you tell the sponsor what you are asking for, whether it's product, money, promotion time, whatever. Obviously the longer resume will have to be edited and targeted to each sponsor prospect.

Take a shotgun approach and send the impact sheet to anyone and everyone in your region you think might be interested. Send it to the local feed store, veterinarians, orthopedic surgeons, construction companies, car dealers and anyone else you can sell exposure to - a cycling sponsorship costs less than a cheap radio spot and gives more "air time", especially if you can promote events that you invite sponsors to come to. Think outside the box: these don't have to be bike races. Your typical office park crit is a spectator wasteland. One of the best and most popular events I ever saw a team use as a shameless sponsor free-for-all was the Dirt Divas MTB Camp / Clinic and festival. It was a weekend clinic a friend of mine put on for her MTB team, ostensibly for getting women into mountain biking. She wangled a couple of free PSAs into the paper and on the radio, and had a crapload of people come out over the weekend. Their sponsors ate it up.

Work any connections you might have, since knowing someone is always crucial. For example, Morris Trucking Company sponsors a race team in the Midwest because the owner's daughters are both into the sport and good racers in their own right.

Remember the parable of eating the elephant, one teaspoon at a time. Not every sponsor has to be a $5000 contributor. It may be easier to get 10 $500 contributions.

Once you win sponsors, brown nose them shamelessly. Send them updates, team press releases, and give them plenty of opportunity to toot their horn (or you toot it for them) at any major events you participate in and/or promote.

Voler is a good company, but for as small a team as you are talking about, their minimum order is very high. Clothing is the single most major expense you will have to deal with, and trying to outfit an 8-10 man team is awfully hard. I handle the clothing orders for my current team, which is 15 women, a
couple suggestionsBurtonSpeedy
Dec 31, 2002 10:44 AM
lonefrontranger,

Thanks for all the GREAT info and suggestions!

Your suggestion that getting other programs (women's, juniors...etc) on board is an interesting one. I am hesitant to go that route because of my previous experiences. My former team had a men's, women's, masters 35+, masters 45+, and junior program. The team was 25 people, but did not have the funding needed to support that many people. I would like to grow the team, but only if the money is there to support that growth. It is a difficult situation because you are saying that I will have difficulty raising the money with out those programs.

Voler is probably my first choice among the clothing companies. My former team was with them and I like their stuff. They have a 25 "bottom" minimum and a 25 "top" minimum. My plan is to outfit 6 people with 3 shorts, 3 jerseys, and 1 skinsuit. This will pretty much cover the minimum. Any other clothing team members want they will have to purchase themselves. How does this sound? How does your team do clothing? Along with Voler I am also looking at Verge, and Impsoprt (CustomCyclewear.com). Any experience with these outfits.

I agree that maximizing your connections is key. My "real" job is in the action sports industry so I am going to try and work that angle as much as possible. I have come up with a pretty extensive "hit list" of companies that we are going to go after in our area.

From talking to the team, people are not really looking for equipment. Most people have already purchased their gear and made that investment. What people are looking for are clothing, race reimbursements, energy food products, and equipment that wears out (tires, cassettes, chains, lube).

I will keep you posted on my progress.

BurtonSpeedy

P.s. Sherpa23 feel free to jump in on this topic :)
couple suggestionslonefrontranger
Dec 30, 2002 8:05 PM
I've always run things from the grassroots perspective, so I'm not the end all on sponsorship. Someone who's been successful at it from an elite perspective (perhaps Sherpa23) would be a better source for that info, BUT...

Something I've always been told by sponsors and other industry types is that men's semipro / 3/4 & elite teams are kind of a dime a dozen. You need to do something to distinguish yourself from the ruck, otherwise you'll merely get the usual offers like Trek regional sponsorships, and very little cash.

The thing that set us off from the crowd when I was managing / promoting was that I had both women and juniors, and junior women, and a junior women's national triathlon champ. That paved the way for all the $$ we did manage to get.

Other examples would be International Christian, Indianapolis Hand Center, et cetera. The point is that the sponsors pay these guys and gals to race to raise money and awareness for the cause.

Other than that, you are starting a tad late in the season. Most teams have all their groundwork laid in August, and proposals made and in the bag by October. That being said, get all the resume / background info from all your prospective members. Take that, distill it down, find all the most appealing and interesting factoids and list them along with your team's mission statement and 2003 goals on a one-page "impact sheet". This should be well designed and eye-catching, with not a lot of info but just enough appeal to make your prospective sponsors ask for more.

Along with the impact sheet, you'll want to write a more in-depth team resume. This is a multi-page document with photos of all the team members, their career highlights, individual goals, and what your team offers to prospective sponsors. At the end, you tell the sponsor what you are asking for, whether it's product, money, promotion time, whatever. Obviously the longer resume will have to be edited and targeted to each sponsor prospect.

Take a shotgun approach and send the impact sheet to anyone and everyone in your region you think might be interested. Send it to the local feed store, veterinarians, orthopedic surgeons, construction companies, car dealers and anyone else you can sell exposure to - a cycling sponsorship costs less than a cheap radio spot and gives more "air time", especially if you can promote events that you invite sponsors to come to. Think outside the box: these don't have to be bike races. Your typical office park crit is a spectator wasteland. One of the best and most popular events I ever saw a team use as a shameless sponsor free-for-all was the Dirt Divas MTB Camp / Clinic and festival. It was a weekend clinic a friend of mine put on for her MTB team, ostensibly for getting women into mountain biking. She wangled a couple of free PSAs into the paper and on the radio, and had a crapload of people come out over the weekend. Their sponsors ate it up.

Work any connections you might have, since knowing someone is always crucial. For example, Morris Trucking Company sponsors a race team in the Midwest because the owner's daughters are both into the sport and good racers in their own right.

Remember the parable of eating the elephant, one teaspoon at a time. Not every sponsor has to be a $5000 contributor. It may be easier to get 10 $500 contributions.

Once you win sponsors, brown nose them shamelessly. Send them updates, team press releases, and give them plenty of opportunity to toot their horn (or you toot it for them) at any major events you participate in and/or promote.

Voler is a good company, but for as small a team as you are talking about, their minimum order is very high. Clothing is the single most major expense you will have to deal with, and trying to outfit an 8-10 man team is awfully hard. I handle the clothing orders for my current team, which is 15 women, a
rats, truncated AND double post - hit the board lotto...lonefrontranger
Dec 30, 2002 8:07 PM
one of these days you'd think I'd figure out the character limit...

(cont'd)

Voler is a good company, but for as small a team as you are talking about, their minimum order is very high. Clothing is the single most major expense you will have to deal with, and trying to outfit an 8-10 man team is awfully hard. I handle the clothing orders for my current team, which is 15 women, and even we can't make the Voler minimums - each rider would have to buy well over $400 worth of clothing, and neither the team nor the riders can afford it. You might look at someone who runs lower minimums like Verge, which is who we use.

Good Luck!
good luck getting clothing before summerDougSloan
Dec 31, 2002 4:37 PM
One of my teams has not ordered yet, and they are being told April if the order is right now. Heck, the season is over half done by then here.

Doug
re: Starting a new team..looking for some ideas and suggestionsMR_GRUMPY
Dec 31, 2002 7:47 PM
I'm sorry to say, but it's a little too late to get sponsors and clothing for 2003 at this late date. You can't order the clothes until you get the sponsors and you have to have a good reason why people will give you money. Unless you have a "team" of elite national class riders, you had better think "small" this year. Stay local, and buy your own clothes. Rack up a string of local wins, and you might stand a chance of picking up some cash from "Ed's Carwash". Try to get 20-25 lesser riders into your club, so that you can order over the minimum on clothing in 2004.