Skateboarding sponsorship

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Professional skateboarder Mike Vallely riding a customised MIKE skateboard from then-sponsor Element Skateboards in 2006.

Skateboarding sponsorship is the commercial sponsorship of an individual or team of people who participate in skateboarding, competitions or public activities. Typically, the individual or team will receive cash payments, reduced-price or free merchandise or equipment from a sponsor in return for public and in-competition use of that sponsor's merchandise or equipment for promotional purposes and recipient testimonial or endorsement. Skateboarding sponsorship may also extend to the sponsorship of major competitions or venues (like specific skateparks) by larger distributors or manufacturers of skateboarding equipment and merchandise.[1]

Sponsors employ a variety of methods in an effort to "discover" potential sponsorship recipients including word of mouth, the solicitation of "sponsor-me" videos[2] and direct participation in public skateboarding events and competitions, as well as raising awareness through social media websites.[3]

Sponsorship types[edit]

There are four generally recognised classes of individual skateboarding sponsorship.[4]

Shop sponsorship[edit]

Shop sponsorship is sponsorship by a local retail company or small locally distributed merchandise manufacturer.[4] Skateboarders sponsored in this manner are generally not required to dedicate a particular amount of time to sponsor-related activities. In some cases, retailers may sponsor their own staff (who skateboard in their own time) as part of their employment agreements. Some simple sponsorship agreements may involve provision of discounted merchandise or equipment to well-known local skaters in return for a commitment to use that merchandise or equipment at public skate parks or local competitions.[5]

Flow sponsorship[edit]

Flow sponsorship is similar to shop sponsorship in that it generally involves the sponsorship of an individual by a small to medium commercial enterprise. However, flow sponsorship usually involves the provision of free merchandise (no cost to the sponsored individual) and a reciprocal time commitment to the sponsor's brand from the sponsored skater.[4] The total value of the sponsorship can sometimes be determined by the regularity with which the sponsored skater receives free merchandise.[1] By 2003, then-6-year-old Mitchie Brusco was committed to 9 such agreements.[6]

Amateur sponsorship[edit]

See also: amateur

Amateur sponsorship involves the provision of merchandise and equipment and, occasional, monetary payments to a skateboarder who has made specific time and effort commitments to the sponsor. This may involve short-term reciprocal arrangements related to specific events or competitions or longer-term commitments on a contractual basis.[4][1]

The sponsored skateboarder typically receives some personal promotion as a brand "team member" as well as skateboarding equipment and merchandise. The sponsored skateboarder may also receive monetary payments to cover living expenses (while competing "on behalf" of the sponsor) or travel expenses (when travelling to interstate or overseas competitions).

Professional sponsorship[edit]

Professional skateboarder Steve Caballero signing merchandise.
See also: professional

Professional sponsorship is sponsorship attached to a regular salary or substantial coverage of living expenses that allows the sponsored skater to practice and compete on a full-time basis without the need to secure additional employment. Sponsored skaters will often also receive merchandise (including additional merchandise for promotional uses) and equipment (including customized "pro model" equipment for use by that individual) as well as branded clothing and other merchandise that feature the sponsored skater's name or personal logo.

Professional skateboarders may also receive royalties for products sold by the sponsor company (or companies) that include the skater's name or logo.[6]

Professional skater Tony Hawk signed endorsement and sponsorship deals with a number of major brands worth up to US$15 million each, including deals with a number of non-skateboarding brands.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Marketing Communications by Ludi Koekemoer & Steve Bird (Juta and Company Ltd, 2004)
  2. ^ Submit a Sponsor Me Video (Emerica, 14 August 2009)
  3. ^ Advanced Skateboarding: From Kick Turns to Catching Air by Aaron S. Rosenberg (Rosen Publishing, 2002)
  4. ^ a b c d Skateboarding Sponsorship FAQ by (Board-Crazy, 17 August 2006)
  5. ^ Sponsored Life: The Ultimate Guide to Skateboarding Sponsorship by Matt Dawson (Luma Publications, 2008)
  6. ^ a b c Global Sport Sponsorship by John M. Amis & T. Bettina Cornwell (Berg Publishers, 2005)