Sport Business Leader, Sports Agent, Independent Freelance Sports Consultant, Influencer, Founder of Spencer Group Sports Strategies. CYSA Certified, Sports Admin, Sports Media Communications 20 Year Military Vet (US Army Retired)
As a sports agent and sports business strategist, I understand the concerns and questions you have. I would advise that you first need identify local teams in your market. Then the next task would be to answer the question of how can I pitch my product to a team or athlete? Once have found a team or athlete, let that team or athlete sample the product over a period for free. Please ensure you are able to explain what your product does for the athlete or team in laymen's terms. Don't make the pitch to the team or the athlete anymore stressful than it has to be. Their experience with the product tells a story in itself. Keep in mind Training Mask (https://www.trainingmask.com/) was an unknown product until people started asking what is that mask Marshawn Lynch is wearing on his face during his warm-ups. Under Armor used their network as former students at the University of Maryland to promote and popularize their original product.This maybe an easier task in a smaller market where there are not 4 or 5 professional teams. Teams in markets with only the NBA or MLB or let's say MLS are more likely to have a closer connection to the community, than let's New York, LA, or Chicago where there are 4 or 5 major sport Professional Teams and everyone is trying to get access to those guys. If you are in a large market I would look at MLS teams and their affiliates or MLB teams and their Minor league affiliates. If your product is more basketball or football centric don't be afraid to look at options abroad in Europe to pitch your product. The athlete will tell other athletes about the product. You have a basic narrative on #1 Why your product is innovative and worth the consumers time and money. #2 As I stated earlier the athlete or the team tells your brand story for you. #3 The athletes who utilize the product can also help improve or streamline your product before you go to the consumer with it, through their experience with your product.
Feel free to contact me, I would love to hear more about your product.
I work in the Sports Management world, and we have what I think are some of the same basic challenges that healthcare industry has. I say that because both industries have long standing practices and niches in our daily lives that either would either take an act of God to change because of the traditionalists or because of the requirements of the industry and the end customer will never change.
So I would challenge you to first and foremost specifically define the challenges in the industry. I would also make sure there's an understanding of the issues that are organic to the 40 year old and up to the senior citizen, the young customers who are looking for something that's on an app, convenient, customer service friendly, and what is identified as a challenge across the board.
Branding is obviously an easier sell to the younger generation. I might even make the argument they should be the early target of your branding scheme as they'll be No 1. accepting and receptive of something they've seen or social media or in a new app. They will then either pass the word on to the older relatives or be asked by their older relatives how did either get their meds or solve the paperwork and financial issues.
You would also have to be very engaged to political discourse and discussion on the subject of healthcare. The healthcare industry as whole as missed the boat on an opportunity to rebrand itself when it drug its feet on the Affordable Health Care Act. So now the opportunity must be to brand yourself as a part of the solution not as another cog in the mess.
As a Business owner myself, I would offer that the first step in this process should be some self reflection. Reflect on what your passions are, what makes you happy, what do you enjoy doing? You are going to step into an arena where for a considerable period it's going to be all on you or the select few who decide to partner and start this journey with you. I say that for a couple of reasons. Number one, is the fact that this will not be an easy process. There are too many challenges along the way for to not be a) passionate about your work b) enjoying the work you're doing. I would argue you that at 80 percent of entrepreneurs start in search of fulfillment that the mundane world can't offer.
Next after I've found what my passion is, I need to discover what's my niche in the industry. Where is my wheelhouse so I can get in and start on my small piece of industry. Here is now where obviously resources like finances, a space to work from, and customer/client base have to be then defined.
After that I would then begin a process to define and identify myself on digital and social media platforms. Everyone tends to take the easy way and Facebook, I personally use linkedin, twitter, and a blog on my own website. I also use platforms as such.
As an Agent myself I would never tell a lie about having all the answers. I would also say be willing and able to connect with, work with, and share ideas and support with others in the business. This has to be passion for you not just a money grab. Because you will get caught up in the money and screw others over who have trusted you. This business is very relational. You won't accomplish much without relationships. So I would also say to find the sports you are personally passionate about and get involved in those. Finally I would tell you that this is not an inexpensive business to get involved in, so ensure you prepare your finances properly. Once you've done that most sports that are internationally recognized are not that hard to register in as an agent. It is the US specific leagues and sports where you will need at a least bachelor degree to register in.
I am certified in Sports Administration. I would offer that you would in a perfect world want both sources of income. Depending what type of event you're putting on, I can speak from a sporting perspective that sponsors may try and hone in on a specific area with the idea of putting its name or brand out in the community. While investors are putting in money into your organization or event and that money is up to you on how and where it is used. Investors are the way to go if you need the resources and need to put them in a number of different areas. Sponsorship can be at very focused and you may end lose some control or latitude over the resource. So finally I would also advise that you have an upfront and if need frank and direct discussion with these potential revenue generators so both sides are clear how the revenue will be distributed and utilized.
I work in Sports Management so I would contend that if there is a specific role or department in an organization to contact it would be their Community Outreach Dept. If the company website does mention their presence in the community that would be the direction to. I would also look at the PR dept in the company. Finally I would also do my homework on the company leadership, whether its a board, consortium, a CEO or President. Research their philanthropy if they have done any at all and if not this may be your opening. I would also brush up on the companies current presence in the community as angle to possible get them involved in the community.
As an African-American myself I would tell you that demographics has always been an issue for business. If were honest with ourselves the focus of many retail operators still tends to be white America. Most retail companies don't even think about demographics until they have an issue of demographics slapping them in the face. This tends to lead to short-sighted and poorly thought-out solutions to appease for he moment. Which when critically dissected a little further generally exposes offensive actions to whatever demo you are trying to reach. I would advise that you address your needs and tailor them to ever demographic possible.
As a FIFA Intermediary myself, B/R is all over social media. Instagram, Twitter, Snap, you can log in with your Facebook account. So it's fair to argue to have an expansive platform. They like platforms in the same ilk like S/B Nation, have grown from the fringes of sports reporting through using its platform in a reciprocal manner in which they actual engage responders to their comments section.
What I think also must be understood is that they like S/B Nation have legitimized themselves by going after not only the freelance reporter but they are now a platform that can bring more established reporters.
I would also research The Athletic its a fairly new platform but they are bringing in well established writers. And one more point they giving their writers very defined pieces of their platform. In other words the has a very defined niche...……….i.e. the writer is there to cover soccer in Seattle, or one of the NFL teams in New York. These writers use twitter to promote themselves and their work but it's also an easy promo for platforms like B/R.
I am certified in Sports Admin with focus being on the High School Athletic Departments and also with National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) as Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA). I also spent 12 years in Europe (Germany to specific) as a member of the US Army. Seven of those 12 years were living in a local German community. I would advise that you understand and make sure you have a grasp of the demographics of the area. First and foremost to understand what the families or community is looking for. As I stated earlier, having lived in Europe you'll need to understand that the equipment/playing field needs generally tend to be totally different. In the US a full MGC is usually bought for a school, a middle class or above residential community, or a financially well off family in a well to do residential community. It is a sad but factual statement that many underserved communities of color either don't get equipment as such or the equipment is in a state of disrepair. Most MGC's are an amalgamation of a multi-purpose basketball court, tennis court, floor hockey rink, and five-a-side soccer cage. MGC's I will say are quite common on US military posts especially in Europe where American children may not otherwise have access to certain courts. I have seen price ranges from $20,000 to $50,000 Intermediate Schools (7th/8th Grade) through High School MGC's are Multi-Purpose Track and Field Stadiums, Multi-Purpose Football Stadium, or some are the cross-section of both where you are starting out at a bargain basement end of $80,000 and upwards. As far as installation goes most companies either offer or have some sort guidance on installation. These are quite expensive acquisitions so I would advise the professional route when it comes to installation.
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As an agent myself, I would first say that your girlfriend made a smart decision by turning them down if she doesn't feel informed enough or comfortable with the company offering sponsorship. Your name and reputation is now attached to that company once you sign. Secondly you are correct in the idea the sponsorship is a good revenue source. Sponsorship keeps most individual sports athlete financially afloat and in position to compete. I would say that you must educate yourself on the company offering sponsorship and also crunch the numbers on the compensation being offered. Is that enough to be able to sustain or at least help sustain you financially. One sponsor probably will not be enough. If you're going down that route I would honestly say depending on value I would look at three or more sponsors so as to be able to sustain yourself whether your winning competition money or not.