I know we’ve got some amazing players on here that are sponsored. Those of you who are, what are some tips or advice you could give to those of us who wish to one day be in your shoes? What makes someone desirable to a company? I’ve seen people with follower counts ranging from the 100’s to the 1000’s so it doesn’t seem too dependent on the size of your following. Obviously skill level is a big factor as well.
Sorry up-front that I am not sponsored in any way, shape, or form, but I have heard advice in-general in what companies look for in an endorser or ambassador of their product(s).
The main question they ask is "What will we get in-return?"
Successful athletes commonly get endorsed because fellow players, those companies’ market, make a connection between those athletes’ tools and their results. In-short, the more professionals use it, the more others will want to use it. It creates a sense of quality in their product.
However, being among the best isn’t the only way to get an endorsement. Professional teachers and coaches also get endorsed from time-to-time, since they know their products will be viewed in their sessions. This is why YouTubers commonly get advertisers and sponsors, because hundreds upon thousands of people are viewing their content (and with that, the company’s product) with every new release.
Also know that just because you are endorsed does not mean free gear, free publicity, or any special privileges along those lines. Companies will not endorse someone if they do not foresee a significant return coming their way as well. Maybe an endorsement means you get a discount, or just invited to an annual company event. Read any contract carefully, or have someone who understands legal documents help you.
Don’t forget this: An endorsement almost always locks you in with that company indefinitely. A company sponsoring an athlete only for that person to switch to another product does not look good on their end. If you accepted an endorsement by say, “Onix,” then you’d be committing to using their products only, so make sure that the brand(s) you accept are ones that you would want to use and represent too.
Oh yeah, and get in-touch with companies. Talk at a booth about a company’s product, ask them questions over the phone, get to know people high-up in the company when and if you can especially. Do not ask them about how they endorse people, however; they can see through that trick. By doing the right things, the company gets to know you, you get to learn about the company, and the company understands that you are interested in their product(s). Those grounds are essential to getting chosen to be endorsed.
So, if I had to give a piece of explicit advice, it’d be to make yourself known. Have an active pickleball social media page, maybe do a few tutorials or help teach at your local club, make it known to companies that you are interested in them, compete in tournaments or even just attend them. Do what it takes to get out there and put Talyn Dodson’s name out there.
Hope this was helpful…! If you have any specific questions, I’ll try to answer them as well.
In no way was I trying to only limit this to people who are currently sponsored so thank you for still commenting! This was extremely helpful and gives me a good direction to go!
I really appreciate the time you put in to type up this response
Start applying to the companies you desire to be sponsored by they will tell you what they are looking for. Each company is different and each sponsorship is different some give gear some let you sell paddles for a profit some pay for your tournaments most you will not get paid as an athlete. It all depends. Just do it and you’ll find out what they are wanting and can work towards it. Volunteering and spreading the love of pickleball & their brand is huge. You need to be able to promote them.
Thanks @atuttletuttle! I appreciate you responding! We’ve got to play together soon! On the same side of the net this time haha