Alpencross – Becoming a Sponsored Athlete
Turning a passion into a semi-professional endeavor
and getting to do it more often and also earning something while doing it.
PROJECT ADDITIONAL DESCRIPTION
I want to ride my road bike from Nice to Vienna. I want to do that because I love cycling and I love adventure and I love the Alps and I love the fact that it’s an incredible voyage. The cycling itself isn’t the real challenge though. I could buy the essential gear and start the trip tomorrow.
The main goal is to professionalize this trip, that I want to do anyway, and become a sponsored athlete. I plan on achieving that by creating value with my trip to get value back from sponsors. I have always loved sports and done it a lot, but I was never good or dedicated enough to be sponsored or professional. I also don’t really like to be competitive all the time which is a key essence of sport. BUT there is also a less competitive and more adventure-oriented area of sports, the one that interests me the most. I’ve seen that this kind of athletes exist also.
The circle of money and value in professional sport
To understand why professional athletes exist we need to understand the flux of money and value: Companies sponsor sport teams, events and individual athletes. With the money they put into the system we can build big stadiums, organize crazy events, and pay athletes to do their sport and become better, because they don’t have to work a day job. These events attract visitors and sport fans that will see the advertisements and then buy more stuff of the companies mentioned in the beginning and the cycle is complete.
If there wasn’t any money in the first place, there would be a couple of amateurs playing against each other on a village green. Their level wouldn’t be impressive at all because they have only a couple of hours per week to train and visitors wouldn’t watch because there’s no stadium. The more attention a sport team or an athlete can get, the more visible the advertisement will be, and the more companies will put money into it.
What can I do?
So, how can I become visible? I don’t have many Instagram followers and I’m not a known athlete.
I need to do something spectacular, that attracts at least some people. I wanted to cross the entire alpine mountain range by bike, this 1’700km trip felt spectacular enough to contact possible sponsors. With the visibility I will get I can grow my social media and then become even more valuable to sponsors for future projects. The more spectacular a project is, the more I like it and the more it will attract attention and the more sponsors will contribute. The more I work with sponsors the more visible I will also become.
On the lower part of the sketch you can see my plan, my route, my challenges with the difficult alpine weather and some essential gear that I need. On the upper part you’ll see what I can offer to companies and what they could give me. That this deal is worth it for companies the value I give to them must be at least equal or bigger than the value they give to me.
SMART goals acronym
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Achievable
- R = Relevant
- T = Time bound
Questions: What are some of the things you feel most passionate about in your personal life? How might you turn that passion into a long-term personal/professional project goal?
I’m very passionate about being outdoors, going on adventures, exploring the world. I also like challenges, difficult situations and the struggle that comes with adventures like this. I love training my body to be very fit. And last but not least I like seeing, that the hard work I put in, produced a progress. For these internal reasons I love outdoor sports like climbing, Alpinism, Ski touring and especially Cycling.
I would love to turn these passions from pure hobbies into something, that is more professional. I don’t want to only do that as my main professional career, but I would love to earn something or at least have access to equipment less expensive to be able to do more of these adventures. I also like the fact that, I could be someone who meets like-minded people by pursuing my passions and showing them to the world and maybe even inspire some people to go on adventures. With enough followers and sponsors it is possible to make a living.
Specific: For this project, I want to find good sponsors that help me achieve this trip. Then I want to overdeliver them with good content, so that they are very happy working with me and hopefully we stay in contact after the project and for future projects.
Measurable: I want to find 3 Sponsors, that support me with equipment/ money for this trip.
Achievable: I don’t expect huge gifts/ donations from sponsors but I want them to be a Partner an not just someone who liked the idea and donates something.
Relevant: To me personally this is a huge thing, I love these activities and I would love to be able to say to myself that I’m a sponsored athlete. This might sound stupid, but to me personally that’s a huge thing. In working with sponsors, I hope to be able to do more and more advanced adventures in the future.
Time bound: The Journey will start in the beginning of June 2023 and will take 2-3 weeks. Until then I need to have my deals done.
Project goals «what do I want?”
Project objective “how do I want it?” = criteria against which we measure the success of our project
- I want to create a special presentation of my project proposal to stand out from other people. I don’t just want to write standardized e-mails. That’s why I’m going to create a short introduction film of me presenting myself and my project.
- I will create Instagram stories and content for me personally but also for the brands that work with me. Besides just capturing snapshots on my mobile phone, I’ll want to bring along a small camera that I’ll use to take pictures in a higher quality. In addition I ask my brother to join us one day when we cruise through Switzerland to take professional pictures of us and the equipment, that I can send to the companies. Professional pictures can be used on their social media pages, website or wherever they want. With bringing him along I also boost his photography career and introduce him to brands.
- I try to find a partner who does the adventure with him, because I believe that two people together have a better time, push each other and support each other when necessary. It must be someone who has a similar level of fitness and is crazy enough to come along. If we are two persons, we’ll have less solitude and hopefully more to laugh. Side-effect: we can also create better pictures.
- Until the beginning of the project in June, I try to boost my Instagram account in an organic way to maximise my visibility and therefore my value to brands.
For the future I have many other projects in mind like crossing the alps in my mountain bike from north to south and riding to the Mediterranean sea. I want to do some crazy skiing adventures and Alpinism and much more.