The State of Motorsports Sponsorships 2023

Marketing, Sponsorship 101

I just came back from the 2022 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show and it was epic. I love going to trade shows year after year and being totally immersed in the racing world for a few days. One of my key takeaways from the week was that the state of motorsports sponsorships is very healthy after Covid. The booths and halls were filled with people networking and getting new products and equipment for 2023. I talked to lots of people from across the industry and they all only had good, encouraging things to say.

Here are my top five takeaways from PRI and the state of motorsports sponsorships in 2023;

Don’t “Sell” to Your Race Fans

Race fans do not want to be sold to. You don’t need to act like a sleazy salesman to promote their products like people would 20 years ago. Those kinds of negging tactics is really off putting—I’m sure you already know this from seeing ads that are too scuzzy. 

The reason we don’t like this style of advertising anymore is that we have so much information available to us on the internet. We can look up the benefits and know all of the specs before ever going to a store to purchase something. 

Here’s a tip: Instead of trying to pitch the product, focus on explaining the benefits. Instead of simply talking about the product, talk about the outcome it provides for the customer.

The Large Corporate Company Era is Over

Think M&Ms leaving NASCAR after 32 years. Huge companies sponsoring cars has been a stalwart theme for decades, and the state of motorsports sponsorships now shows that that trend is shifting. I learned in the PRI educational seminar that this is primarily due to the current financial crisis. These companies are switching their marketing tactics away from simple awareness marketing. Now more than ever we see blank cars or cars that have a new livery every race. 

Connections Over Exposure

Instead of offering exposure to large companies, see what assets and connections you have that can help them out. Only small, start-up businesses need exposure, but they don’t have the big budgets so they can only offer you free products and services in exchange for the exposure. You’ll need to determine what you’ll accept as payment and also what you’ll offer, based on their unique needs.

Curiosity Is Your Best Marketing Tool in 2023

You need to learn more about helping your ideal sponsors’ unique business, and the only way you can do that is by asking discovery questions. The best time to do this is before you ever mention to them that you are looking for sponsorships. Set up a time to connect that’s just about exploring their needs and focusing on the connection rather than the sale.

Neutral Zone

When you go into discovery with a potential sponsor, you want to stay neutral. You don’t want to oversell and be too excited. You want the conversation to feel natural and refreshing for them. Ask what their struggles are, what campaigns are they working on for next year, and let them do most of the talking. You don’t need to try to “sell” to them right this moment; as we said in point 3, connections are key. This reduces sales resistance and opens up a deeper conversation.

Do you need more help getting a sponsor? I will be helping host the 2023 Motorsports Sponsorship Summit on Zoom again; January 7th 12-3pm ET. We will cover: why brands sponsor and how they calculate ROI with Alex Striler, activating at events to increase brand value with Matt Martelli (CEO of The Mint 400) and Kevin Miller (CEO of USAC), creating decks that attract and writing proposals that sell with myself and Tony Yorkman (formerly K&N), finding tire and wheel sponsors, and more!

Register before midnight December 21, 2022 and save $70 off!! ($147 regular price)

There is a lot of untouched territory when it comes to motorsports sponsorships. There are certain series and teams that get it and have started to open the door. I believe there is a lot we can learn from those that are excelling!

 And now more than ever, it’s not about the actual race car or your results. Sure, endemic brands want you to talk about how their product helped you land on the podium or get in the winner’s circle, but it’s easy for a racer to get sponsors if they are not burning rubber and speed. 

You can do this by simply expanding your network, getting connections that could help out another business, and making sure you’re the benefiting middle-man.

You absolutely want to be at this virtual 2023 Motorsports Sponsorship Summit on January 7th! We’ll see you there >>> Register Here and save on early bird tickets!

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