Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Catch yourself a sponsorship deal (written for Athletics Weekly 06/07).

The arduous, daunting and even embarrassing task of searching for sponsorship is now a thing of the past thanks to a website set up by sports promotions and consultancy agency, Catch Sport, Writes Nicola Bamford.

Promising athletes of all ages and from all sports can now complete specifically designed forms which highlight their sporting profiles and sponsorship criteria, in order to attract the funding of potential organisations in their area.

Managing Director, Karim Bashir; a former international fencer reveals, “By focussing on athlete funding, my goal is to establish, build and maintain the UK’s largest online database of elite athlete profiles. My aim is remove the financial burden that hampers the UK’s most promising young athletes as well as those who already have an established reputation in their sport.”

The focus of the initiative is to provide an online communication tool to bring sports people and their funders closer together, by enabling athletes to post their online profiles and funding needs for free. In turn, sponsors will be able to complete the sponsorship criteria pages and use Catch Sport services to identify the athletes who fit their requirements.

Sponsors will be able to subscribe to use Catch Sport services for a fixed annual contract fee of £495.00. Each organisation will be able to add their contact details, complete the sponsorship criteria pages and search for athletes on an anonymous basis, who match their requests.
In order to encourage long term and multi-athlete funding, discounts will be offered for longer term contracts and when more than one athlete is sponsored by a single organisation. Catch Sport will match individuals or groups of athletes corresponding to each organisation's needs, with tailored and innovative packages put together for each interested party.

“I know from my own experiences as an international fencer that most sports funding is provided on an ad-hoc basis. Whilst this funding is valuable and useful it is not conducive to producing successful international athletes for years to come,” explains Bashir.

Taking a long term view to athlete funding Catch Sport will target:-
- promising junior athletes for performance related long-term sponsorship contracts;
- established senior athletes for “major championship” related medium-term sponsorship contracts;
- UK selected (or equivalent) junior and senior athletes for “major event” related short-term sponsorship contracts and
- junior and senior athlete funding grants (one-off payments).

Once registered, an athlete’s information will remain confidential and secure, courtesy of the ‘blind search’ facility on the website. So if a sponsor was looking for “athletics” and/or “London” and/or “under 23”, an athlete matching this criterion will be automatically matched to them.

Urging athletes to take this valuable opportunity and to regularly update their profile, Bashir adds, “Sport in the UK needs long term investment so that we are able to compete for medals at major events in the future.”To register your profile or search for an athlete, log onto for further information and see if you can catch yourself a sponsorship deal.

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