Table of Contents
- 1. Manage Your Expectations and Grind
- 2. You Must Showcase Your Worth
- 3. Be a Good Competitor
- 4. Identify Your Desired Sponsor
- 5. To Whom BJJ Brands Want To Sponsor?
- 6. Approach Emerging Brands
- 7. Build a Considerable Social Media Presence
- 8. Hire a Social Media Manager
- 9. Approach Professionally
- 10. Put In Whatever It takes
- 11. What Do BJJ Athletes Get in Sponsorship Deals?
- 12. Silver Lining
Sponsorship by a leading business, organization, or brand is a part of becoming a star or public figure. So in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, all the top fighters are sponsored by some brands. It is a hallmark for most players to attract a good sponsor and step into the leading star-studded lifestyle of BJJ. Sports activities are emotions oriented and offer a gust of happy chemicals to people at the win or loss because they are emotionally attached to this martial art and with their favorite players. But the most important question in the high flight of building a star career always remains the same. How to get sponsors in BJJ?
1. Manage Your Expectations and Grind
Let's take a saturated gulp of the process before starting the journey of securing a sponsor in BJJ, why it is necessary, and what comes with sponsorship. It is always a desirable idea to get paid for doing what you love to do. It is a lucrative equation because sponsored athletes receive high-quality free BJJ gear, they get free media time, and magazine covers are adorned with photos with tons of cool advertisement opportunities.
In some cases, athletes get paid international trips to participate in competitions. The list of benefits goes on but trying to earn that prestigious and attractive spot is not easy if not impossible. It is just like grabbing any big opportunity and rising above the average majority by doing more than your competitors. There is tough competition for gaining that spot and if you want to secure that place you need to make sure that there is no stone left unturned while laying the groundwork for your journey of becoming a successful sponsored BJJ fighter. Below are a few essential factors to consider if you want to secure a sponsor or two.
2. You Must Showcase Your Worth
Brands want to sponsor those personalities and athletes who they think might represent the values and motto of their brand in the best-visible way possible. Their purpose is clear and crystal, “to attract more customers or admirers”. You are going to be a prestigious facade of their whole business model. To gain what you want, you have to socially carry and present yourself in such a manner that brands will also get what they want.
Do you have a noticeable presence in the BJJ community? Do you fight regularly in high-level competitions? Do you often win? Have you built your presence on Social Media? If yes, do you keep your online community updated? These are some of the things that every brand will critically evaluate as their ROI before investing in your career. Let's find out the answers to these questions in a way that you will get to know the roadmap to score a decent sponsorship.
3. Be a Good Competitor
There are indeed some athletes and personalities that brands want to affiliate their names with. Some are not even black belts. Yes, you just have to win some big tournaments and show a consistent success rate, it does matter but in the digital world, viewership and followers do matter a lot.
4. Identify Your Desired Sponsor
After building a successful career in BJJ and participating in big tournaments, it all came down to making a potential impression on a targeted sponsor. You can do this if you know the business and the motto of its brand. They know very well who is just peeping casually, looking to find a hunch with “please sponsor me” and it will add nothing more than another name to the list of lost chances. Instead, prepare yourself, and do some research about the brand, apart from what they sell, what are their core values? How do their values sync with yours? Are they?
This process will not only help you to evaluate and draft a successful personalized message but also give you some idea of whether you are a good fit for representing their brand or not.
5. To Whom do BJJ Brands Want To Sponsor?
Brands are desperately looking for representatives who can sell their products and have a huge viewership and fanbase. Above all they want the sponsored person to align with the motto of their brand and be a great spokesperson. If it gets attention, it will sell. Your popularity will do the negotiation for you.
If you have over 1 Million followers on Tik Tok, brands will be hitting you up for meetings and with proposals because they see your fanbase and viewership as their potential customers. It also matters that you must have an organic and active audience. If the majority of your audience consists of hardcore Jiu Jitsu lovers, fans, and practitioners, that is even better.
When approaching the brands, do highlight the stats of your social media platforms including audience engagement rate, views, likes, and growth trajectory apart from your professional record. They are interested in knowing your audience reach and engagement levels.
6. Approach Emerging Brands
Let's be honest, and manage your expectations in a healthy and productive way. You are not going to get sponsorship for mainstream brands if you are a blue belt. But, if you have built your presence on social media and captured an audience then your best shot is to target local, new and upcoming brands. This can become a mutually beneficial thing for both ends.
When starting your journey take one step at a time. Let's say you have 2000 followers on Tik Tok, brands can give you a rash guard and advertise their products to hundreds of people. In the longer run, it can be beneficial in many forms and ways. They can let you stay with elite champions for a day or let you meet with one of the pioneer BJJ fighters.
When starting on a basic level, don't think about gifted Gis and international tours, grab whatever is coming and continue to grow, keep an eye on the bigger picture. Expand and participate in international competitions.
7. Build a Considerable Social Media Presence
This is one of the most crucial elements in your successful sponsorship deals. How many people are under the influence of your career success and personality? Are you active on most trending social media platforms? Does your content engage an organic audience, viewers, and fan base? Do you keep them updated about your progress, and achievements, and engage them on a personal level via sharing your life on digital platforms? Do they consider themselves as your online family? How much time do you spend on social media? Fans and the online audience would love to engage with those personalities who keep them updated on all the important matters, wins, and occasions. In this way, they become under your influence if you make them a part of your happy moments. Brands are only interested in the magnitude of your fan base and by sponsoring you, they want to sell their name and products to your fans
8. Hire a Social Media Manager
We cannot make everybody happy. But there is a catch, when it comes to social media it's your job to make everybody happy. Because your social media presence will be judged by the millions and if it can secure you millions of followers then it can break your image too. Hire a professional social media manager. Keep the audience updated regularly. Learn how to look perfect in a photo and try to get familiar with the trends and ways related to an online digital presence. The goal is to keep the audience engaged, happy, updated, and connect with them on a personal level, whenever you get the chance. Participate in podcasts, collaborate with influencers, and conduct live Q/As on your Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook channels.
9. Approach Professionally
Nothing makes a brand more disappointed than reading a message of a Jiu-Jitsu player asking for sponsorship with misspelled words and an emoji in the end. A sponsorship is a contract between you and the brand which thinks you can represent their whole business as a face.
It is a highly professional relationship in which you are going to represent brands in exchange for gear, services, time, or money. Make sure that your approach message is well written, error-free, and sent directly to the social media of the company or via email. In a nutshell DYOR. (Do Your Own Research)
10. Put In Whatever It takes
You can only showcase something if you know how to show it off in a proper manner and on relevant platforms. Timings and platforms are very crucial elements when it comes to building a social media presence. Participate in as many competitions as you can. Train as hard as you can, as often as it suits you, and appear in public more than you usually do. Work on your communication skills, the brain is always better with brawn. Make friends, participate in gatherings, and try to leave a pleasant impression.
Make people believe via your dealings and communications that you are easy to work with and a mature athlete. This is the most valuable investment in your future.
If there is a super fight and someone wants a fighter on short notice, you should be the one they are going to call. It doesn't matter whether you win all the time or not, as long as you put on an entertaining fight, you are valuable to the organizers.
11. What Do BJJ Athletes Get in Sponsorship Deals?
Only a few big names secure a lucrative amount in BJJ sponsorships. Like Gordon, Ryan was believed to be paid $4500 monthly by Hypnotika and Keenan Cornelius was allegedly believed to be receiving $4000 from Hyperfly. You must have the following of millions of people, an engaging social media presence, and impressive content adorned with wins and big names to attract potential sponsors.
If you are a novice fighter and have some wins and a moderate social media presence then you can surely attract a moderate BJJ sponsorship. You should manage your expectations because you are likely getting free gear, some deals, an affiliate link, and in some cases you can get your training expenses covered. So, it would be an amazing start for you.
12. Silver Lining
Nobody knows about sportsmanship more than a sportsman itself. Securing a sponsorship in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not everybody’s cup of tea. Regardless of difficulties, if you let your success and personality do you're talking with consistent wins and growth, you can get more than what you want.
There is no shortcut to success and above all, if it will be easy then everybody would be doing it. It is meant to be difficult and sure it will be. Because a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. Wrestle with the harsh factors and rise above the average. Persistence, dedication, hard training, and an elegant social media presence can get you where you want to go in a short span of time.