Sponsorship for athletes and artists has been around for over 2000 years: upper-class wealthy Greeks and Romans would sponsor Olympic athletes, gladiators, chariot races, sculptors for their personal statues, architects for their temples and castles, master gardeners for their grounds. When national companies and name-brands took over the markets in the 20th century, athletes and artists became tools by which products were promoted to the general public in exchange for financial subsidies, equipment or services. One of the earliest sponsorship to an athlete was made by Adidas who supplied spikes to sprinter Jesse Owens for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. By comparison, today’s elite athletes often earn more from their sponsorship revenues than from their sport: Tiger Woods earned $42 million from his (Nike & al.), LeBron James earned $52 million from his (Nike, Coca-Cola & al.) and tennis ace Roger Federer recently signed an agreement with Japanese clothing company Uniqlo for $300 million over ten years.
The revolution came with TV coverage of sporting events in the 1950s and has become international. Financial data shows that over $65 billion was spent in 2018, with North American companies being the largest spenders (1/3 of total). The use of social media as tools to reach potential customers using the incentives of their favorite athlete or artist brings those numbers to new heights by the day. Endorsements, even on a small scale, work for companies and small businesses of all sizes because they bring their brand to the public at large: fans tend to project the trust and appreciation they have in an athlete or an artist to the product they promote; companies get exposure and connections; it’s a win-win situation!
Participating in athletic events can be costly for an upcoming athlete like JOEY DESJARDINS, our local para-athlete, and meeting your performance goals becomes more difficult if you don’t have the budget: you miss out on opportunities to develop your abilities either by lack of optimum equipment, lack of training facilities or qualified staff, lack of travel and living funds; multiply those factors if you are married with children! Joey said that he was partly subsidised by CANADIAN HERITAGE, but still at the NextGen status: his official promotion as a Canadian Olympic para-athlete should change after his stellar performances in Tokyo, thus increasing his subsidies; and he also benefits on a smaller scale from the sponsorship and endorsements of many local enterprises and small businesses, social clubs and organisations: just check out all the decals on his van when he drives close by or on the attached photo. When asked if government subsidies were enough to make a decent living, he replied they were minimal for a single athlete, but significantly under minimum if you had a family to provide for. His wife Vanessa holds a full-time job and complements the family’s income needs. Maybe Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Roger Federer also had to deal with such situations when they decided to become professional athletes: we all do, whatever our field of specialty is: plumbing, teaching, writing, singing, farming; we all did, we gave it our best to reach the personal goal we had set and we eventually made it! Joey has already reached some of his goals, but, as the Olympic motto and creed says: CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS or FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER, those are Joey’s new goals on the road to Paris 2024.
Should this article and my colleague Noé’s article (in this same edition) inspire you, consider Joey’s photo besides his van showing available locations for more decals! But wait…: SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: this left front fender is now reserved for a new sponsor: LE RÉGIONAL! Thanks to our owner-editor Sylvain Roy for graciously agreeing to our suggestion. But wait again! The local senior singing quartet to which I belong, les/the Crooneux, pledge to offer all the revenues from ONE annual concert to Joey’s Paris Fund-Pot! But wait again! Who else is going to join the sponsor caravan and become the 3rd, 4th, 5th …? Joey is a well-connected guy (Facebook/Messenger/Instagram) and would be happy to discuss endorsement options with you. Let’s get this van covered up with decals! Get in touch!