I am aware that there are many younger athletes that read this blog..... and many times I have resisted the temptation to launch into a frustrated rant about what sponsorship means and why MTB's situation may never get any better until the riders stop expecting handouts and instead start working to developing the sport, its profile, and therefore its meaning to the community.
Today, I stumbled across this piece from cyclingnews' James Huang.
I urge all aspiring athletes to read it with an open mind, and discuss it with others. Ask questions if you need to. It explains things quite well. Remember its not about you, its about what you can do for brand X
Over the years I have had this discussion with many, many people. Some get it. Others it seems to go in one ear and out the other - and they still expect handouts.
I've had some good branding success over the years with CabinRacing, Aunt Bettys Cycling, and Black Dirt Racing. What goes unseen is the untold hours behind the scenes: relationship building with sponsors/media/event organisers. Media releases. Debriefs. School visits. Community coaching. The list goes on.
My plea to our current and future athletes? Put in the hard yards on the sponsorship front. Stop expecting handouts. Be proud and passionate about your choices to pursue this hobby. Be an ambassador, and you can help change the professional opportunties in our sport.