14 May So you want to be sponsored? – Part 2 – by Ron Thomas
The elusive dream of every young action sports kid is….of course…. to be sponsored! Well my young, ambitious friends, brace yourselves because its not always what you think. This is a grown up perspective on the matter, but I too have been in your shoes. In my riding life I started with no sponsors at all then moved up through the ranks at my friend’s t-shirt company. From there I got flow from Albe’s BMX mail order and I rode for Levi’s and a few other companies along the way. Some of my best friends over the years have had pro level sponsorships from major companies that pay very well (of which I knew plenty of detail) and now I personally work with a number of sponsors on several different action sports related programs. So in short, I get what its about from many angles. Knowing a few basic, maybe surprising, things can really help you if a sponsor is what you want.
Sponsors don’t like brats. But you say ‘Ron, my friend is sponsored and everyone thinks he’s a turd’. Well, I didn’t say that brats don’t get sponsored. If you beg and beg for something then there is a good chance eventually someone will give you something just to shut you up. However when you act like a brat, that is to say when you act immature and annoy people that have the option to either help you out or not help you out, then chances are good that they will pass an opportunity on to someone else who doesn’t annoy them instead of hooking you up. I hire a lot of BMX riders and I pick and choose who gets a job and who doesn’t based on character all the time.
Talent is only one factor, and not even the most important one. I am pretty sure everyone I have ever met that is in a position to sponsor or hire action sports kids would agree. If someone is so undeniably talented that they deserve recognition no matter what they act like…then chances are they will get it to some degree. Bad news kids, I can count the number of people that are that talented on one hand…..and they are all happen to be pretty cool. When you act like a brat you stand in your own way. If you manage to get somewhere anyway then guess what…you’d have gotten a lot further if you conducted yourself better. When you beg for sponsorships or act like a childish brat you annoy the people that have the option to hook you up. When you are talented and respectful people notice and that is the HUGE step toward getting sponsored.