We have just started getting into having sponsors at our gigs. We got a one show commitment from Fireball whiskey at the local Quaker Steak and Lube for bike night on a Wednesday night. We played this gig on January 9th...to a jam packed bar, parking lot etc.
This is the largest bike night in the southeast so I am told, the event was packed with over 1500 in attendance. We were offered $300 from the venue as an unknown, and we brought in another $200 in sponsorship cash as a trial run. We each also got shirts to wear, shot glasses and bracelets. There was a skimpily dressed girl in a firemans style getup passing out free samples.
The bar manager liked us a lot, they asked if we would come back at our normal rate $500...or $450 and a $50 tab. We of course said yes. The sponsor on the other hand is a tough cookie, the girl that managed the event is pretty low on the tree at corporate, with a title of Sales Ambassador. She has told us they operate on a limited budget...(who doesn't these days?) So we are not sure where we will end up with this sponsor.
We ran our own PA, the gig is from 6:30 to 10pm on Wednesday evenings. The owner of the venue emailed us today and said he loved having Fireball out, they sold a lot of their product and would have extra on hand if we can bring Fireball out every 2-3 months for an official Fireball night with our band name.
We talked this over in our private band Facebook group. Only one of us has had sponsorship in the past. It involved Banners, Flyers, shirts, shwag to give out a gigs, and the girls to come out to bigger events. It also included a monthly allowance which was used for gas, and whatever else we have as expenses.
We hope this relationship continues, but who knows, if it peters out we will try to find another sponsor or more than one.
For you cover band weekend warriors what kind of sponsorship's have you negotiated? Anyone have any ideas for other sponsors that might work besides liquor. Playing in bars and semi dives makes getting the liquor vendors to notice you....anything else we should put on our radar?
Good question. I do marketing in other contextsand have designed a few marketing campaigns. I also worked with an event planner on professional events to get sponsorships.
First you need to be able to articulate who your crowd is. Age, income category, maybe race, and their unique characteristics, as well as the number of people you tend to attract per evening.
If you can articulate who your following is, you can then identify who your sponsors should be. The should be companies who market their products and services to these companies. Tell them the number of people you will attract, and find ways of promoting them -- on your flyers, your website page etcetera. One band has a mailing list of 2500 people. Also, when bar owners low ball you, ask them to give you a letter of reference as part of the deal. Get letters of reference from the repeat bar owners too. Create a portfolio that details how happy they were with you as a professional band, preferably citing the numbers of people you brought in.
Make sure the sponsors don't compete with each other, and they don't compete with the bar owner!!!
That one sentence above should say:
"They should be companies who market their products and services to these PEOPLE."
This is something I've just starting thinking about looking into. How did you initiate the communication with Fireball? I'm curious about the process of finding sponsors. Fireball would actually be a pretty good one. We had a show where 1 table drank about $400 worth of the stuff.
I can say that Fireball or Sazerac Inc. operates on a limited budget...this is straight from corporate. They are not Jaegermeister and have only been selling their product in the US since 2007.
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