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Off-Road Racing Sponsorship 101. Part 1: Understand your value

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Let’s face it. Everybody thinks they are special and deserve sponsorship for some reason or another. This psychological phenomena is called Illusory Superiority. It’s not reality. Nobody owes you anything to go racing, you are not special, and especially if you are not good in a class that gets no coverage. Start with the idea that you need to build value. You will have to invest tons of your own time and money to attract sponsorship. It’s not impossible; you just need to be clear about the path you need to take to build your value. The idea behind this article series is to help the teams who are serious and want to seek sponsorship in order to elevate their team and the sport of off-road racing. I have been involved in bringing a lot of sponsors to off-road racing and have seen it done right and wrong. The goal for everybody should be to bring sponsors into our culture and make sure they get a return and have a good time. If we simply do that the sport will grow and thrive.

Part 1. Understand your value

First you must understand your value. If you are a fourth place Class 10 Car team you do not have a lot of value. You might get lucky and find some sponsors who want to give you products and marketing support, but that’s about all you are worth. The last thing you want to do is approach potential sponsors with asks that are out of line. It turns them off and makes you look self centered. Your value is measured by a combination of your race results, social media and online reach, marketability, age, and personality. The tricky thing is that different sponsors are looking for different things, however they are all looking for drivers and teams who win and present themselves well. Wait until you have value to talk about such as a championship or a significant win and then go to sponsors well organized.

The great thing about off-road culture is that there are no governing bodies telling you what you can’t do. Rather if you can activate on a sponsorship of an off-road team correctly you can get a ton of value back without being restricted, but you have to do the work.

It doesn’t matter whether you race a UTV, Trophy Truck or a Baja Bug, you can get sponsored! Getting sponsors for your off-road racing program requires time and effort, but it’s not impossible to find a company to sponsor your race car. Check back weekly, we’ll be sharing sponsorship best practices from veteran off-road racers and industry experts.

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Matt Martelli

Founder of Mad Media, a multidisciplinary creative and marketing firm and CEO of Off-Road Racer, UTV Underground, The Mint 400, The California 300, and Dirt Co. Matt is one of the biggest influences in Off-Road Racing today.