Last week we met a guy who represents (in South Europe) a very well-known world sports brand… call the brand X :).
While we didn’t aim to get an immediate sponsorship / partnership, our goal was to obtain a kind of targets where we can count on some attention from major junior tennis sponsors. And the answer was… (almost) “nowhere”, except really big wins like junior Grand Slams.
Till that time, Sashka should walk alone, with no hope to get a sponsorship (even a technical one, like rackets, strings etc.) from those companies which widely support young players on national and even regional levels. Below I will describe our negotiations with X-guy in several sentences.
Me: While being a Croatia National Champion U16, Sashka needs to prove her potential on the ITF Juniors level. We have some plans for the season. We would like to know where is the point we can start negotiating with sponsors like you? Top-200 ITF Juniors? Won Grade 2 / Grade 1 tournament? National Team Matches?
Currently almost all girls Sashka plays on ITF Juniors tournaments had a kind of sponsorship, like racquets, strings, garments etc. Even the girls who played national tournaments only without any international experience or ranking, have support packages from tennis or “multi-sport” brands…
X-guy: Sorry, but this is not Oleksandra’s case. Unfortunately, her chances to get a local sponsorship are close to zero, whatever she won.
X-guy: Nothing personal, but this is a business issue. We sponsor players to promote our brand among local customers. Nobody here thinks Sashka is local. She is not a Croat, even despite she plays under Croatian flag. The flag means nothing in this case, only what people really think mean. May be, a branch from Ukraine would want to support her – but I doubt on it.
As for Croatia, you know that you are – and probably will always be – an “alien” here. So for local offices of world brands, or pure local brands, it is not a smart move to support her… waste of money.
And, for sure, we – here at local offices – do not care big on issues like refugees… It might be (might be not) a story for bigger country like Germany or Sweden with millions of refugees and immigrants. But here in Croatia we do not have a lot of refugees. Those we have do not play tennis at all.
Me: So what to do?
X-guy: I think, your only chance is to attract an attention of the head office. To do this, you need really a BIG WIN, like Grand Slam or Grade A. I am afraid, smaller opportunities are closed for your player, because there is no commercial sense to support & promote her. She is marketless.
So Sashka is a marketless player. At least, we have a bitter true now… or not?
We want to appeal that.
To prove Sashka is NOT marketless & non-marketable,
to show there are people who follow her successes (and fails as well), who care about her,
she needs to have 2,323 Twitter followers by the end of this week.
Not millions like that guy with chicken nuggets, not even 10k. Just 2,323 (now she has 428) – that’s it.
It is easy to support her in this challenge: follow her on Twitter and ask your friends to do the same!
Let’s go, #TeamSashka! Ajmo!