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Finding the Right Sponsors for Your Motorsport Team 

by | November 13, 2023

Why you can trust Sponsorship Collective

  • The Sponsorship Collective has worked with over 1000 clients from every property type all over North America and Europe, working with properties at the $50,000 level to multi-million dollar campaigns, events and multi-year naming rights deals
  • We have published over 300 YouTube videos, written over 500,000 words on the topic and published dozens of research reports covering every topic in the world of sponsorship
  • All of our coaches and consultants have real world experience in sponsorship sales

Before you dive in, if you are interested in motorsport sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for motorsport” series:

Motorsport sponsorship remains a prominent way to grow your brand. However, in your quest for a sponsor, you must be discerning in the types of partnerships you agree to for the sake of reputation management and growth. How do you find the right sponsor for your motorsport team?

Here are some pointers for motorsport teams seeking sponsorship:

  • Prospect based on your attendees
  • Research your prospects
  • Create valuable incentives
  • Put together compelling audience data
  • Find a contact 
  • Reach out for discovery 
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up

These integral steps detail the early phases of sponsorship and will help you navigate so your motorsport team can grow through the funds and promotions of a sponsor.

8 Strategies for Finding Your Next Motorsport Sponsor

1. Prospect Based on Your Attendees

Successful sponsorship starts with prospecting.

Many sponsorship seekers don’t understand the nuances of prospecting. They conflate it by picking a sponsor like Red Bull or another big brand known in the motorsport world. Then they reach out to Red Bull and never hear anything back.

Can you imagine how many sponsorship requests Red Bull gets every single day? They couldn’t respond to you, even if they wanted to.

Now, maybe a sponsor like Red Bull is right for your motorsport team, but the only way you’ll know is by reviewing your audience.

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Your audience determines your sponsorship prospects, not a potential sponsor’s perceived monetary value or brand popularity.

Your audience is your attendees and television viewers if your races air on TV. You must send them a feedback survey if you know nothing about their brand preferences. 

Don’t make all the questions about you, but learn about your audience and their preferences, interests, opinions, and beliefs. You need more than psychographic data, so include questions centered around geographics and demographics. 

What brands keep coming up again and again when you review your audience data? Jot them down.

Many sponsorship seekers have to limit their prospects based on alignment with what they do to keep their event targeted. For example, a food expo host would consider other food and beverage brands, cookware companies, and food refrigeration brands as sponsors.

However, as a motorsport team, the sky is the limit. You don’t need to stick to automotive brands. Your sponsor can be nearly any type of brand under the sun. If it doesn’t violate any rules (like an alcohol brand might), you can work with them. 

This enables you to generate a huge prospect list, as you don’t have to disqualify as many of the brands your audience mentions using and loving. You could easily build a list of 100 or so prospects. 

If your list is smaller, here’s what I recommend. Beyond the brands your audience mentions directly, look into the companies that advertise to the audiences of those brands, then the companies that should. You can even go deeper by researching three to five competitors of every brand on your list.

2. Research Your Prospects

A brand doesn’t go on your prospect list without some due diligence first. At least, they shouldn’t. 

You must research every prospect before confirming whether it’s wise for you to work together. Check their website, comb their social media pages, and gloss over press releases.

What are you looking for? Red flags. For example, a brand recently been embroiled in controversy is not a good match for your motorsport team right this moment. You risk getting your reputation needlessly wrecked.

It’s tough to pass up a brand if they’re otherwise perfect, so set them aside and come back later after the controversy has died down and see how you feel then. 

You can sometimes learn more about a brand’s sponsorship availability through research. That’s something else to pay attention to. Sometimes, you find a brand that would be a great fit for your motorsport team, but they have already spent all their sponsorship budget for the year or have no openings.

Again, set them aside and come back to them later.

3. Create Valuable Incentives

Sponsors want ROI. At the end of the day, they’re marketers, and any marketer wants assurance that what they funnel their money into will pay back dividends. 

How will your sponsorship property do that? Through assets and activations. 

Logos are the most obvious asset in motorsport sponsorship, but just because they’re what you think of first doesn’t mean they’re the best.

Slapping a logo on a team uniform or race vehicle should be a part of your deal but not the starring feature. After all, the ROI on a logo is not high. Logos drive name recognition/value and are moderately beneficial for branding. That’s about it. 

Go deeper. Can your motorsport team offer naming rights to a venue or race? Maybe your team naming rights are up for grabs. Naming rights are great examples of five, six, or even seven-figure sponsorship.

Perhaps your sponsor can host a contest or giveaway before or during the intermission of the race or offer something your audience needs during a long day out, like a phone-charging station or refreshments. 

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You can’t guess at assets and activations. You must learn what the sponsor needs and use your audience data to determine their challenges, needs, and interests, then find solutions that target both.

4. Put Together Compelling Audience Data

Do you remember all that audience data you generated that you used to prospect for motorsport sponsors? That data isn’t all for you. Your prospects want to see it too.

You have a target audience you wish to attract to your races, and a sponsor has their own target audience. They want to know how well your attendees and TV viewers fit into that target market.

You can make it easier for them to learn that information by presenting highly detailed audience data. Challenge basic demographics, breaking them down as finely as possible.

For example, you likely segment your audience by the traditional criteria, like 18-to-25-year-olds, 26-to-35-year-olds, 36-to-45-year-olds, 46-to-55-year-olds, and 55+. 

However, how many of your audience members are 23 or 42 years old? Extrude age data by year. 

You can break down any demographics or geographics in the same fashion, such as by location, industry, occupation, income, marital status, and number of children.

Is it time-consuming? Yes. Is it fast work? No. 

However, it’s worth it. You can then turn around and tell your prospective sponsor that 11 percent of your audience is 26 years old and earns $70,000 a year or that 34 percent of your biggest race attendees work in personal finance.

5. Find a Mutual Contact Within the Company

By now, you’ve found the perfect sponsor for your motorsport team. You’ve meticulously compiled your audience data and are ready to make contact. 

Who do you reach out to?

I tell my clients to find a contact within the sponsor company if possible. 

Having a common thread, so to speak, warms up a sponsor and might increase their likelihood of responding to you. That can help you get your foot in the door to knock their socks off with your awesome audience data and custom sponsorship package.

As a racer or motorsport race organizer/team owner, you probably have a mile-long digital Rolodex. Comb through your contacts, reaching out to see if anyone has an “in” at the sponsor company. Check around in your office and among your staff.

If no one on your contact list knows anyone, ask if they can reach out to their own contacts. 

However, don’t spend a tremendous amount of time trying to play seven degrees of you and the sponsor. Having a mutual contact is advantageous but by no means a must.

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to find something that isn’t there. Move on to the next phase of sponsorship.

6. Reach Out for the Discovery Session

That phase is contacting the sponsor. You can use whatever method you’re most comfortable with, such as email, direct message on social media, or phone. All have their pros and cons. 

Emailing is efficient, but without software or tools, you don’t know if your message was delivered, open, and read. Social media platforms might put your DMs in a separate folder if the sponsor company doesn’t follow you, and when you call, you risk getting the front desk unless you have the number for a direct line. 

No matter which communication method you favor, you must reach out with one intention. It’s not to ask for money or promotions upfront. It’s not to be buddies. 

It’s to request a discovery session. 

Let me rewind a moment. The discovery session is the first meeting between you and the sponsor, where you learn all about them. I know, I know, you already researched them to get to this point, but I mean learn all about them.

There is so much you need to know that you can’t find online. For example, what services does the sponsor need most right now? What are their challenges in connecting with their audience? What methods have they tried lately, and why have they fallen short?

These are the kinds of questions you must ask at the discovery session. The answers will help you create custom activations and assets that increase a sponsor’s ROI.


No, this isn’t a typo. I meant to put BAMFAM. 

Okay, so what in the world does it stand for? BAMFAM is short for book a meeting from a meeting, one of my favorite sponsorship mantras. 

Some sponsorship seekers assume they’ll get another chance to schedule a meeting after they get back to their offices and the sponsor to theirs. However, in my experience, that sometimes happens and sometimes doesn’t.

Sponsorship isn’t the only thing you do as part of a racing organization. It’s not even the primary thing you do. Other tasks can take priority, which leaves sponsorship on the backburner.

I only refer to them as sponsor companies to paint a picture. In reality, a company has a sponsorship division and does myriad other tasks. Once more, sponsorship can end up on the backburner. 

BAMFAM prevents this unfortunate reality. When you schedule your next meeting while still sitting in front of the sponsor, you both prioritize it in that moment. That will keep the sponsorship ball rolling and ensure you can continue negotiating until you strike a deal.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up

However, even if you follow the BAMFAM rule, you might find yourself in the unenviable position of waiting to hear from your prospective sponsor. 

You shot them an email with some great ideas, and it’s been crickets ever since. Maybe you called them, left them a voicemail, and haven’t heard anything in days.

Is this the end? It’s hard to say. 

Sponsors frequently ghost potential partners because it’s a quick means of avoiding conflict. It’s easier to say nothing at all than say no. 

However, you shouldn’t necessarily jump to conclusions. Try reaching out several times before you call it quits. 

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Don’t bombard your sponsor but reach out to them every other day or so for about a week. Don’t only call or email them but use both methods of communication if you can. 

For example, call them if you sent an email on Monday, but it’s a week later, and your sponsor hasn’t gotten back to you.

Then, if another two days pass and you don’t hear anything, send a follow-up email. You can call after that, and then send another email.

However, if more than a week has come and gone, you’ve made continuous attempts to reach out, and the sponsor hasn’t bothered to get back to you, it’s time to pack it in and call it a day. 

Sponsors change their minds all the time. You might never know why, but that’s okay. Don’t linger too long on what didn’t happen. Instead, move on to the next prospect on your list. 

Bottom Line

Finding the right sponsor for your motorsport team requires strong, segmented audience data and discovery. You must know what your sponsor needs to create exciting activations that bring the thrill of racing to life. 

Are you ready to get your motorsport sponsorship endeavors revved up? Book a call with me to see what my services through the Sponsorship Collective can do for you!