West Marine, Gill and Sperry Top-Sider are this year's national sponsors of the JO Program. West Marine has supported the Junior Olympics since the program's inception. We will ask each host club to display sponsor banners and to invite the local West Marine store manager to join in the event.
Getting sponsorship for your event may be easier than you think. It’s as simple as knowing what you have to offer (The Opportunity) and finding local companies that share similar goals. We will work with you to insure that restrictions do not become roadblocks to seeking sponsorship for your event.Out of respect for our national partners, we ask that you not invite competing sponsors.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has jurisdiction over the term “Olympic” in the United States, by federal law. Since “Junior Olympics” includes the term, the USOC controls its use, as well. Only National Governing Bodies (US Sailing, in our sport) may conduct Junior Olympic programs, and all Junior Olympic programs must be licensed by the USOC.
In addition to the national sponsorship that they provide, you are encouraged to contact your local West Marine store manager and Gill dealerships to augment the national sponsorship. See Sample Sponsor Presentation for good ideas on how to do this. The only sponsor that is off limits is the USOC sponsor mentioned above.
US Sailing will continue to seek national-level sponsors, bringing the proceeds of these sponsorships to the program in general, and to local events as appropriate. Local organizing groups assume primary responsibility for local sponsorship.
The Key to Success
The key to success in getting and keeping sponsorship is to focus on identifying those companies, national or local, that are most compatible with the offerings of your event and the JO program. Develop specific plans as to how most effectively to contact them and, most importantly, what to discuss. The presentation to West Marine provides an excellent example.
Clearly, Junior Olympic Sailing offers the traditional sponsorship opportunities of poster identification, on-site banner identification, web site identification, and other visibility and participation at JO events.
In most cases, the opportunity represents more of a contribution than a true sponsorship. Contributions are not a bad thing! However, since the donor is receiving limited value in return, the contribution amount and longevity are often based on availability of funds, personal relationships, and the like, rather than budgeted business decisions with a quantifiable return on investment.
To move beyond contribution-type value (signage, logos on T-shirts, etc.), it is important to view the JO program in a broader context so that its greater value can be clearly seen and demonstrated to a broader sponsorship market. In this context, Junior Olympic Sailing can now be described as follows:
- 20+ major events located throughout the nation
- Multi-day events
- Involve from 100-700 active participants, ages 8-21
- Male and female mix
- Upscale family socioeconomic demographics
- Generally occur in or near major population centers
- Coordinated national program association and visibility
- Significant related adult involvement
- High local community visibility.
Viewed from this perspective, your Junior Olympic Festival becomes much more than a sailing event at the local yacht club where a sponsor can post a sign or present an award. A compelling case can now be made to national brands with local outlets which are interested in presenting their community spirit, enhancing their image, indirectly relating to the “Olympic” movement, leveraging a national sponsorship, and building business.
How US Sailing Can Help
We’re not only available to help, we look forward to helping you start early on a successful sponsorship program for your JO event. Once you’ve digested the info in this Sponsorship section (check out all the various pieces – you’ll find some good hands-on experience in “What One JO Event Did”) and had a brainstorming session with your Steering Committee, call and run your early sponsorship plan by Lee Parks, who has worked closely with organizers of previous JO events.