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Any team that plays paintball knows how expensive this sport can become, hundreds of dollars can be spent on a tournament style marker, barrels, mask, packs, pods, paint, air, tanks, jerseys, the list goes on and on. How does a team make playing paintball affordable; the answer is sponsorship?

What is sponsorship and how do I go about getting sponsored, you may ask? Before I go into that, let me give you a little history about our team, Blitzkrieg.  We are currently being sponsored by Diablo.  We have been playing for 2 years now.  We just recently obtained our sponsorship.  Our team is a three-man team made up of 14 and 15 year olds.  I work, so I find it easier to upgrade my gun, although I havent been doing so lately.

Back to the issue at hand, what exactly is sponsorship? Sponsorship is entering into a mutually beneficial agreement with a company, where both parties get something they need or want. In most cases you either have to provide an advertising outlet for a company or do some kind of work. For example, most paintball related companies want their sponsored teams to wear their products, display banners at tournaments, and put their products on your website. A paintball field may want you to referee a tournament or work a couple of weekends. In both cases the sponsor is getting something for their generous donations of cash or products.

Now that you know what sponsorship is, how do you go about getting one? First and foremost a team has to ask themselves if they are sponsorship worthy. Would a company want to sponsor you? Does your team have a lot of tournament experience, how long has your team been together, does your team show sportsmanship, and how many tournaments do you plan to play in the upcoming year. These are all things most sponsors look at. Put yourself in the sponsor's shoes, would you want to invest time and money into a team that has not proved themselves or even played in a tournament; what does the sponsor get out of the deal? If you still think your team is sponsorship worthy, lets get started.

Most paintball-related sponsors have forms that you can fill out on their website, they ask many of the questions I have already covered. To set yourself apart from the crowd you will want to take the extra time and effort to put together a bound portfolio of your team. Have a section that list the teams experience and future plans, and a section for each player with photographs and a brief history. You may want to write a summary of what you could do for the sponsor and how your team would go about doing it. Always be polite and neat when putting together your team portfolio, and remember to be organized. For some of the non-paintball sponsors, it may be as simple as asking the owner or doing a little advertising for them.

Team Portfolio - Sections & Points to Remember
Give information about your team's experience and history.
Include your team's future plans and goals. Where does your team want to end up?
Include an individual section for each player with pictures and a brief background about each player.
Include a summary. Tell your prospective sponsor why sponsoring your team will benefit them. What can your team offer that others can't? What makes your team worthy of sponsorship?
Remember to make the portfolio neat, clean, and well organized. Include a cover page and use a bound portfolio. Make it look as professional as you can.
Submit your team for sponsorship, make sure you understand what contracts you are entering into and be sure you can live up to your end of all sponsorship agreements.

Now comes the hard part, the waiting. If you have not heard from the potential sponsor in three or four weeks you need to call them or send them an e-mail. Be courteous and polite and remind them who you are and who your team is, they go through hundreds of applications, so be patient. And like you've heard your parents say "don't put all your eggs in one basket", apply to three or four different places, all sponsors are not looking for exactly the same thing. If a particular company does not want to sponsor you, send them a thank you note and apply again later, ask them what your team could do to be considered next year. Hopefully you can pick up a few good sponsors and your "out of pocket" expenses will start to decrease.

A word of caution: most of these sponsorships are contracts, so if you or your team can not fulfill your part of the bargain, do not waste the sponsors time and money when they could be using it on another team. Read the contract carefully, have a team meeting to go over the details. Most sponsors like to be kept to date on the team's progress, so be prepared to send them updates and keep in touch with them.


Also try to set up a web site.  That way, you can get your name out.  It has worked for us.  List your web site in your portfolio.  Companies will look at it, and depending on how well your layout is and what you put into the site, they will be even more interested.  Remember that you should go out of your way if you really need a sponsor.  Now that some of your costs are decreased, your team can enjoy what paintball is all about, having fun and competing in one of the greatest spots on the planet!




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