If you or your child is a top-ranked player, tennis can become a very expensive sport, as you quickly tear through shoes, clothes, rackets and strings. Whether you're a pro or an amateur, gaining sponsorship helps alleviate some of the expenses associated with the life of a tournament player. Partial sponsorships provide products at a discount or less-than-wholesale rate, while full sponsorships provide all your tennis needs for free. Many companies have sponsor programs in place to promote their brand through professional representation and promotional opportunities, so they are happy to sponsor promising players.
Determine the type of equipment you want to have sponsored. Sponsorships can include shoes, clothing and practice equipment from companies like Nike, Adidas, Yonex, Fila and many others. Racket companies like Prince, Wilson, Head and Yonex provide rackets, strings, grips and carry bags to promising athletes. You will probably want to accept equipment you feel confident competing with, but changing products may be worth it if you get them for free or at a preferred discount.
Compete and win as many tournaments as possible. Tennis product manufacturers will find you and present you with a sponsorship if you are proven to be a consistent champion in your age division. All manufacturers look at sponsorships as a promotional opportunity and on-court advertising, so it is in their best interest to sponsor only the best. Amateur players with a top ranking in their respected age division can expect to receive a partial or percentage discount from sponsors or if they are very dominant, a full sponsorship. Professional players usually receive a full sponsorship and in some cases also receive payments from the sponsors to use their equipment in tournaments. Most professional players have agents who will seek sponsorship opportunities. If you are not highly ranked, however, you will usually gain at least a percentage discount.
Show a winning attitude. The sponsored player reflects the image of the company, so it is important to be well behaved and show the attitude of a good sportsman. Achieving dominance in your age division and holding a top state or national ranking will almost guarantee either a full or partial sponsorship.
Make a tennis resume that includes your age group rankings and highlights of tournament wins: Be sure to include all national events, as these are the qualifications most companies require.
Make contact with manufacturers and corporations. The most important step is to present or sell yourself to the company by letting them know why you deserve to be represented. Each major manufacturer has a tennis department that deals with managing their respective athletes. Make a prioritized list of the companies you want to contact and call the general customer service number for the tennis department in your region. Ask the operator to transfer you to the person in charge of tennis sponsorships. Introduce yourself, or your child, and explain the reason you feel that sponsorship makes sense.