How to Get Sponsored

If your dream job involves making a living from the sport you love, then getting a sponsorship is going to play a crucial role as you embark on your journey to a career in sports.

Get Sponsored by Fuel Clothing

While my own road to sponsorship centres around kitesurfing, these tips are not just for kitesurfers, and can be applied to virtually any sport.

I should also mention that I am not claiming to be an expert in the field of getting sponsored. Instead, this is an account of my own experience in finding sponsorships, and of what worked and didn’t work for me.

My first encounter with sports sponsorship was when I was in high school. My best friend and I were one of the first girl snowboarders on the mountain (yes I’m that old) and she wanted to be in the Olympics when they decided to recognize snowboarding as a sport. She went down to the only snowboard shop in town and they worked on hooking her up. The sponsors got her the exposure she needed to start competing on a global scale and although she didn’t get into

Getting Sponsored by Oneill Eyewear - Image

Jessica Winkler for Oneill Eyewear

the Olympics she did capture 2nd in the world for women’s boardercross.

Getting Sponsored

Sponsorship is an important part of gaining exposure and progressing your career in a sport. When I first decided I wanted to start entering competitions and making a name for myself as a kitesurfer I started emailing companies like Red Bull, Monster and Roxy. Red Bull told me I needed to compete and place in order to be considered but Monster told me to register for a site called Hookit. They would only sponsor athletes who have profiles set up on this site.

Sponsorship Services

Hookit is a free service focused mainly on individual lifestyle sports, although anyone from any sport can sign up. The site is user friendly and full of potential sponsors. Athletes have the opportunity to showcase their talents via photo, video and competition results. It also allows you to register your riding spots and sessions. Once I had set up a full profile I began applying for sponsorships. The application process is simple and there are so many companies to choose from. I ended up getting 7 out of the 8 sponsorships I applied for which honestly really surprised me. The one company who denied my application allowed me to try again 6 months later to which I’m currently waiting a reply on my reapplication.

You can also set up a profile on SME. They recently redesigned their website to make it easier to use. They don’t have a section for kitesurfing yet but neither did Hookit 4 months ago. On SME you upload your best riding videos and you can win a sponsorship and $25K. Another website you can try is SponsorSpace. There are free basic level profiles you can set up to apply for sponsors. I like the site but out of 100 or so people, I’ve only seen 1 person who received a sponsorship so I’m not sure how effective it is. The other sure fire method is to ride hard and compete, sponsors will then approach you!

Get Sponsored by Fuel Clothing

My Fuel Clothing Sponsorship

Having sponsors really gave me the confidence to write articles, find photographers to film me and to promote myself as an influential kiteboarder. One of the hardest things when you go from casual riding to starting a career in sports is confidence in yourself. I’ve struggled with feeling like I’m not good enough to be sponsored and not wanting to embarrass myself when people expect too much from me. These feeling are normal, but what I’ve learned is that for me it is not about being the best rider or competing, but rather being able to encourage and influence others to achieve their goals with hard work and dedication. Competing in kitesurfing to be well known is no longer my goal. Instead I want to use my support from my sponsors to encourage other athletes to give it a try, and to show other girls that you don’t have to be the best to be admired.

Get Started Today

Taking the first step and creating my profile changed my life because it gave me the confidence to pursue my passion and believe in myself. If you are looking to pursue a similar path, try setting up your own profile on one or all of the above mentioned websites, or nominate yourself on inMotion Kitesurfing’s upcoming “Most Influential Girl Kitesurfer” competition. The top ten girls will be profiled on inMotion Kitesurfing and the winner will receive great sponsorship’s (see competition page for details).

Getting Sponsored - Jessica Winkler - Image

Jessica Winkler

It’s not easy to get recognition for all your hard work in the sports world, so take advantage of the opportunity to be profiled as a real athlete, not a bikini model. Leave a comment below if you want to be notified when the contest begins. Good luck ladies!

Feel free to share your own experiences finding sponsors in the comments, and if you have any questions please ask!

Written by

Jessica Winkler

Jessica Winkler's Sponsors

 

PS: If you enjoyed this article, help spread the word by clicking the “Like”, “Tweet”, “+1” buttons, or sharing it using the share icons below. Want to read more articles like this? Subscribe to iMK, and get our articles directly to your inbox or RSS reader.

Did you enjoy this article?

Share it with others
Sign up for our free updates
Your details are safe with us, and will never be sold, rented or given away!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Really interesting article!

  2. Juan Cruz says:

    Very interesting information. encouraged to take the sport more seriously and enjoy

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Pls keep me informed on your progress along the way. I love to hear people taking it to the next level. Cheers!

  3. Cristina Alanis says:

    Jessica,

    You are an inspiration and I want to follow my dreams just like you have done. It was an honor to meet you. I hope to see you soon.

    ~Cristina

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Awwwww thanks so much Cristina! I happy I met you too. Follow your heart it will always lead you to the right place. It’s not the easy road but worth every penny. I hope to meet up again one day soon as well. xo

  4. Soaring. I am into alternative energy. Your #kitesurfing story seems to have it. If I can only have some sort of piezo control or mini-hydro turbine connected to your engine, I could power up a city in San Juan del Sur. I will check it out #JessicaWinkler. Looking forward to seeing you and the #surfing dudes over at #NicaraguaLake. #Extremetourism is awesome!

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Well Kevin you have a unique way of appreciating my article! lol Thank you for taking the time to read it and support me!

  5. Dean Bottcher says:

    Thanks Jessica.

    The internet has made the process a lot simpler compared to back in the day where you would need to buy a suit, then go around with a file full of newspaper clippings and photos, beg for a meeting and then get an earful. Pictures and videos online pretty much some it up and being able to write a nice little, well edited story profiling oneself is always a good thing.

    Put yourself out there and they will find you.

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Ya i’m happy to be pursuing my career in an age where getting sponsored is reachable to the ‘common’ person. Anyone can achieve their dreams now!!

  6. hey Jess !great to hear from you and your adventures it was applesauce ridding and hanging out down in central America with you .im hoping to rejoin with you and our friends down south this winter for some sessions on lake Nicaragua …sweet place to live and kite ill hit you up towards january if all goes well best of times to you..

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Thanks Mongo…. update…..Progresso, Mexico…..talk to Jesus….already have a house on the water.
      Get off of work for the season earlier!! Jess ;)

  7. Great article Jessica! My experience from top sports is that it takes a lot of purposefulness to stand out from the “crowd”. Im impressed by your achievement and likes that you want to help out other athletes in succeeding!

    Good luck in the future!

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Thank you very much! I agree with you, the road of being an athlete is a determined one and it takes support from all sorts of people to stand out! My only wish is to help more women in this journey.

  8. Great article Jess (of course!). Just don’t forget us humble Brits who watched you take your first kite surfing lesson on Mancora beach when you’re super-famous :D ciao for now bella xx

    • Jessica Winkler says:

      Ohhhhhh Lisa, I will never forget my first kite lesson with my good friends watching and the hottest instructor ever! It’s amazing how far i’ve come….I never could have imagined. Love you guys !!

  9. Hi jessica! awesome article good inspiration! keep going!! take care Lulu

  10. Corinna says:

    Hi Jessica,

    very inspirational! Have forwarded the article to my son who is desperately looking to get sponsored for windsurfing!!

    You have inspired a kiteboarding mum to help her windsurfing son…;-)

    Thank you for putting it out there…

    C.x

  11. Hey Jessica-

    We follow you on Twitter and just saw this article. Great little write-up…and a great inspiration for riders to get out there and take that 1st step in the right direction to getting sponsored. Because it is possible…it’s not beyond anyone’s reach.

    About a year ago, we saw a need to help riders get that exposure and sponsorship…and we saw a big part of that can be through building an online presence…be it thru your own website or the slew of social networks. I personally think actively and effectively using Twitter and Facebook is a great start, and then feeding those streams of activity onto your own personal website, where you can write longer blog entries about your journey is the best scenario. And then, for the Monsters, set up on one other action sports networking site, like HootIt.com…why not, it probably takes only seconds to setup.

    For the audience that is reading and commenting on this article, I think we have put out some practical tips and ideas on how to get exposure. If you’re interested, please check ‘em out and let us know what you think.

    Jessica, we’ll be keeping an eye out for any more tips you can share in this area. In the meantime, we’ll get this one retweeted to our audience. Thanks!

    • Thank you very much for your meaningful and well thought out comment. I’m glad you feel the same way I do. In this day and age nothing is out of our reach. Social media is the key to gaining exposure and there are so many ways to achieve this. Work and determination will take us far in life :)

  12. Genochio says:

    just saw this link via linkedin. all i can say is…. WOW! way to go, Jessica! remember thinking you had something about you but this is fantastic. congratulations.

    (clearly WOW! is not all i can say…)

    • Thank you very much! It’s been a LONG time since i’ve seen you and well i’ve been busy…hahaha
      I appreciate your enthusiasm towards my work, it really helps me to keep going when people are so kind :)
      Hope you are doing well!
      Jess

  13. Thanks for helping our community with such a good article Jessica. I just share it to our facebook page.

    • Thank you very much for sharing my article I really appreciate it. I’m happy to hear that my experiences are helping others. I will be writing a follow up article on getting sponsored to explain the progress i’ve made and how others can keep perusing their dreams.

Speak Your Mind

*