Kingfish teams will need to open new doors when obtaining sponsor dollars for the 2010 SKA Kingfish season.
“Our major sponsor is experiencing difficult times and had no other choice but to drop our team from their promotional department for the 2010 SKA kingfish season,” Yulee, Florida’s Kenny Crawford said. AT&T, The Real Yellow Pages has been such a great sponsor of our Crawfish kingfish team for so many years. However a change in advertising has really hurt their business so they had no other choice but to make several cuts in their 2010 budget.”
Kenny Crawford’s kingfish team has been no exception for sponsorship cuts for many of the SKA kingfish teams. A huge decline in boat sales and, for that matter, anything that is related with the fishing industry has suffered hard times for the past few years. Unnecessary fish closures have also crippled the economy for not only fishing related businesses, but entire coastal communities as well.
But recreational and competitive fishing will survive. It may take time, but I believe some of the best people in this country are outdoorsmen, fishermen, campers, hunters, etc. and they will prevail.
While a lot of competitive king mackerel fishermen are searching for new ways to land sponsor dollars, Kenny Crawford and team Crawfish have a somewhat unique approach.
Kenny went to the race track!
“This past month I bought a ticket to the Daytona 500 with one thing in mind and it wasn’t racing. I came to the race and wrote down in my note pad every sponsor that was showcased on each and every race car. I figured if they had the money to sponsor a race car, they would have the money to sponsor our SKA kingfish team.”
Actually there are a several companies that are doing quite well during these economic times and are willing to sponsor kingfish teams that will obtain the right visibility. I recently took out a threesome of backwater fishermen for Lance Corp. Apparently Lance is still selling plenty of excellent eating crackers and doing quite well.
With a new format for the Southern Kingfish Association Pro Tour unfolding this year, competitive kingfish teams will have the option of competing in just the mandatory tournaments on a limited budget, or fishing more of the events to gather more points and a have a better chance to win the coveted SKA Angler of the Year title.
“We wish to be very competitive this year,” Kenny Crawford said. “With this in mind and fishing more SKA tournaments, it will require from thirty- to forty-thousand sponsor dollars. Hopefully we will win money during the 2010 SKA tournament season, but you just can’t count on winning. There are a lot of excellent SKA kingfish teams that compete each year for kingfish tournament dollars.”
“My first goal is to put together a generic letter, which will be tailored for each prospective sponsor. Pictures of our team, boat, equipment, tournament results and magazine articles will be put together in a portfolio and sent to each sponsor. While each sponsor is different, I will customize each folio to fit their needs. However, the key to attracting sponsor dollars is being very specific as to what you and your fishing team can do for their company. How many eyeballs can you turn with the visibility of your boat being towed to an SKA event, placing high in a kingfish tournament, and hopefully resulting in TV and magazine exposure.”
One factor that has surfaced during the 2010 competitive fishing season, many of the boat and motor manufacturers are cutting way back in sponsoring fishing teams. Many of the B.A.S.S. pros are keeping their same boat and motor that they had last year and kingfish teams are doing the same.
First of all it has been very difficult for professional fishermen to sell their old boat and motors in order to have a new completely outfitted tournament boat delivered to their doorstep. I know last year it took me some four months to sell my Triton TX-20 rigged with a Mercury 250-XS outboard. I eventually sold the boat to a Louisiana fisherman that enjoyed both freshwater bass fishing and chasing reds in the Louisiana salt marshes.
In order to sell you last year’s boat many professional fishermen also had to cut the selling price of the boat so far down that they lost a lot more money than they would have if the economy was stable.
With this said it seems more reasonable to keep that competitive fishing boat that is just a year old and fish with it one more year. Keeping your fingers crossed that the economy will come back and in a year’s time you will be able to recover your money that you have invested in your boat with a future sale.
Competitive fishermen will also benefit from not having to fully outfit a new boat as well. Keeping in mind, a lot of marine electronic companies and other fishing related manufacturers are not offering any real deals, except for a handful of fishermen. The only fishermen that are receiving these good deals (free is an excellent deal) are fishermen who have TV shows, or the top money winners in their tournament trail. If we all had the same deals that B.A.S.S. pro Kevin Van Dam has, we would all be wealthy fishermen!
On the kingfish side, Jacksonville’s Dave Workman has done quite well in promoting his Strike Zone kingfish team and his sponsors. I was also quite astonished why AT&T, The Real Yellow Pages discontinued sponsoring Kenny Crawford’s SKA kingfish team. I know that they are experiencing very difficult times, but team Crawfish is a consistent SKA winner and highly visible kingfish team. While I believe this was a financial decision, I still believe team Crawfish’s exposure was way more worth their sponsor dollars.
Finally, a digital camera can be a very important tool while telling sponsors your fishing team success story both during a tournament and while recreational fishing. Make sure the photo is also of a freshly caught kingfish, not the half-frozen version!
Have the camera ready and take pictures as soon as the kingfish is landed and with sponsor products clearly in the background. If the kingfish is bleeding, first stick a small rag into the hole to stop the bleeding, and then wash it down with a bucket of saltwater. A wet kingfish will also look as though it was just landed and more importantly, makes for a better fishing picture.
Also shoot different angles with your camera and ask that the fisherman remove his or her sunglasses and tips his fishing hat back for a better photo. A photo with a shaded face does not give the angler any justice. Finally, even though you have bright sunlight, use the flash to completely eliminate any shadows!
After the tournament is over, e-mail your sponsors and local boat dealer the digital photos, which include your day of fishing with their products. Both will more than likely use these photos to help sell their products and when it comes time for your team’s sponsorship, sponsors can now justify their sponsor decisions!
Finally, avoid calling sponsors directly. Take time to build a good working relationship with your local marine dealer and take plenty of digital photos of your team’s fishing success. SKA teams will need to work harder today to gain a variety of sponsorship levels. However success can be yours when taking the proper steps towards becoming a sponsored SKA kingfish team. There are still plenty of sponsors out there that are willing to sponsor your SKA kingfish team!
Angler magazine, April 2010
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