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Support of an Athlete – Food for Thought

by on July 26, 2014

Since November 2013 where I wrote a piece, “Sponsorship in all the Wring Places” there has been little movement with the likes of Sanlam taking the Title Sponsorship of the Cape Town Marathon and Petro SA increasing their sponsorship of the Petro SA Marathon in Mossel Bay, which is great as this has allowed for these two races to make application for IAAF Gold and Bronze Label status for 2015. These will be the first two Labeled races in South Africa which is fantastic for the sport.

Having bigger race sponsors is great as this elevates these races into the International fold of distance running. This also attracts International Athletes to our shores to come and compete. There is Investec who are involved with a training and development project organized, managed and run by Elana Meyer. Fastway Couriers, Toyota SA and Adidas support some of my contracted athletes.

So there has been some improvement and “new blood” so to speak starting to support running in South Africa, but there are huge mountains to climb.

Its one thing to elevate the races which will encourage athletes to improve and to work harder to win these races, but there is still a huge gap with regards to supporting these athletes to be able to be in a position to train harder, better and more efficiently.

South African spectators are renowned for being hard task masters and expect our sportsmen to win every time they compete, and yes, I expect this too and yes we give our all every time we are competing. But as a person watching the event, take half a minute to sit back and think of what has it taken the athlete to get into that position to compete at that level. I can tell you athletics is not like F1 or SARU, or Kaizer Chiefs that you see, and I can assure you that 99% of the athletes are there from skimping and scraping every cent they have or don’t have, just to have the opportunity to be in the competition. Which is incredibly sad actually.

Here are some figures as an example and to be honest this isn’t really major money that is required in terms of support for an athlete to be able to be given basic living expenses to be able to train stress free in order for him / her to achieve great results. These are actual costs and are accurate.

This is based on 8 athletes training and staying: 1. Kenya and 2. South Africa

Question: How much do you think the following will cost you?
1. Housing Rental for 8 people for 12 Months
2. Basic Food athletes require for 8 people for 12 months
3. Water & Electricity – 12 months
4. Training support – 12 months
5. Housekeeper – 12 months

Answer: –
Kenya: ZAR120 000 per annum / +-USD11 400. (ZAR 10 000 PM or +-USD 950 PM)
South Africa: ZAR 185 000m per annum / +- USD17 620. (ZAR 15 416 PM or +-USD 1470 PM)

Excluded from this would be that of racing requirements and this could cost for the 8 athletes as maximum of ZAR100 000 PA. This more than takes care of Race entries, accommodations, and travel to races. +-USD 9 520 PA.

Food for thought :-

So all in all an average company could support 8 athletes full time per annum without this even effecting the bottom line on their annual earnings / profit margins, as these expenses for a company to a large extend can be Tax deductible, and any good tax practitioner will be able to offset these expenses under Business travel, Rentals, Social responsibility, donations etc etc. There are many ways to get tax breaks from “sponsorship” where companies would simply pay the tax over to the Revenue Services. So why do companies not look at using these type of funds to the greater good in helping someone else out.

Yes the taxman may not be that happy with this, but he makes the rules and one simply plays within the rules, and ultimately these funds a company pays out, stays in the revenue system and the Taxman will still get his portion anyway.
When a company does this, they gain by having various commercial rights and these can be anything from branding, naming rights etc and are able to sue the athletes in any marketing or like campaigns. Brand Exposure!!!!!!!

So whilst there are those starting to see the light in athletics, just know that it does not cost an arm and a leg to support athletes, and you don’t have to be the biggest company in the stock exchange to be involved in sponsoring or supporting athletes.

Lets say Company “X” is sponsoring an event as a naming rights sponsor, what I cant understand is why don’t their competitors sponsor a professional athlete and get some “competitive” advertising. Therefore wherever company “X” is using say the image of the athlete winning the race and company “Y” has logo branding on the athletes vest they will get the exposure and association from their competitor paying the big money where company “Y” paid a portion as they sponsor the athlete, and this does not contravene any competitive advertising laws.

In closing this piece, I say that companies in SA and their advertising agencies need to think out the box and look for opportunities as they are there and easily available.

Finally a big Up and well done to Sanlam and Petro SA for seeing the value in Athletics and getting involved. Awesome

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One Comment
  1. plustenner permalink

    well written Craig!

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