Stan Wawrinka

How to Become a Sponsored Player

Probably the biggest myth in racquet sports is the myth of the sponsored player.

You’ve heard the whispers. “So-and-so is a sponsored player. He gets EVERYTHING for free.”

Not true. At least, probably not.

There are several levels of sponsorship all the way from the top pros competing at the highest levels all the way down to the local level where you can find sponsored club players.

The top players, the world class athletes with multi-million dollar sponsorship deals, get almost everything for free. “Almost” because there are limits, even at this level.

Local Sponsorships

Club players and up-and-coming juniors can also get sponsorship deals, but they are nowhere near as generous as the top pros. At the local level, instructors and pro shop employees get the best sponsorship deals because they work directly with consumers who are seeking recommendations regarding brands and products.

Players often see sponsorship deals as a reward for being good players. But the brands who sponsor these players have a different idea altogether. They are after sales. Brand sponsorship is seen as a way to increase sales. If sponsoring a player will result in more sales for the brand, they will consider a form of sponsorship. If the player is willing to work to increase sales, his/her sponsorship package will be more generous.

In most cases, sponsored players at the club level get discounts. For example, they may be permitted to purchase two racquets, a bag and a pair of shoes at 30% off once per season during the sponsorship window. A teaching pro, on the other hand, somebody who will be influencing the purchasing decisions of hundreds of students, may get the same deal but get a bigger discount.

Retail Sponsorships

Retail sponsorships are another common form of local sponsorship. In this form, a retail store like Racquet Network will get permission to offer sponsorships to a limited number of players for a limited period of time. For example, Brand A may offer Racquet Network three limited sponsorships at a discount of 50% for one year. How the retail store allocates these sponsorship packages is up to them.

Some stores will use it as a discount. They will take the stuff at a discount and just put it into inventory to sell to customers. Some will offer them to their staff. Some will use it to sponsor tournaments.

Our Sponsorship Policy

At Racquet Network, our policy is to pass all sponsorship deals along to community leaders. We don’t sponsor tournaments because we would rather sponsor the players who make our networks tick.

Therefore, all Volunteer Catalysts and all members who have achieve the rank of Superhero are eligible for major brand sponsorship for one full year. Sponsorships are awarded by lottery; they are not based on skill or ability.

Most importantly, though … all players in these two categories are eligible for sponsorship regardless of their abilities.

We don’t ask, how good is this player? We ask: how active is this player? The more active the player, the greater the chance that we will sponsor them.



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