The Other Side of Sponsorship
By: Steve Masters –

It seems that most tournament fishermen are willing to stop just short of selling their souls to be sponsored. I was recently on a website that had several tournament fishermen listed and their sponsors. Some of these guys had eight or ten sponsors and have never left the ranks of the weekend tournament circuits. Out of curiosity and maybe a bit of envy I started looking at some of the pro staff sections of their sponsor’s websites. I stopped looking after three.

– Lake Mohave

The first “join our pro staff “page told me they would
love to have me be a part of their team. All I had to do was sell $500
worth of their products to receive a window sticker and a 50% discount.
I’d be watched over by a pro staff director and could be terminated if
I didn’t continue to prove my worth. The next one also had a hitch. To
climb aboard their team you only had to purchase a $200 starter pack
which was not even $200 worth of baits. It also included stickers,
fliers, and other promotional items that they expect you to buy from
them, then give away. The next was the same as above except a bit less
expensive at $150.

It amazes me that they have people
wanting sponsorship so badly that they would buy it. I’m not shy when
it comes to spending money on fishing but I would have to buy $400
worth of their bait just to break even, when all I would have to do is
work an extra day at my job and have more than 50% of what I would have
spent with them, but then I couldn’t tell turn everyone green with envy
at how successful I am at gaining sponsors.

If you fish
the top level tours you already know the ins and outs, but if like me
you rarely if ever compete out of your home state you’d be far better
of to seek sponsorship from local companies, preferably from someone
you already know, or even better forget the idea completely.
Sponsorship takes up a lot of time and even money. You may offer or be
asked to put fliers on windshields at a large tournament for example.
How many baits at a 50% discount would you have to buy to justify the
travel time, gas, and time it takes to put fliers on a couple of
hundred windshields?

Sponsors are looking at this also. If
they were to provide you with $1,000 in entry fees how many baits would
you have to personally be responsible for being sold would it take for
them to start showing a profit on their investment in you? For the vast
majority sponsorship is not feasible. Most of us would be far better of
to work on improving our skills instead of trying to impress other
anglers with our patches and stickers. I’m not saying all tackle
companies are like this or that no sponsorships should be considered. I
have one sponsor, and enjoy helping him out what I can. I’m just saying
don’t expect sponsor to smother you with discounts and entry fees just
because you are sporting their logo on your truck, boat, and shirt.
They will give you the stickers but expect to pay anywhere from $80 to
$150 for their tournament shirt. – Lake Mohave