New book Sponsorship For Athletes sets agenda; features Singapore athletes who sealed own deals

Singapore bowler Remy Ong with the book, Sponsorship for Athletes.
Singapore bowler Remy Ong with the book, Sponsorship for Athletes.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS INSTITUTE/ FACEBOOK
Australian athlete sponsorship expert Vickie Saunders (left), who authored the book Sponsorship for Athletes, and swimmer Tao Li.
Australian athlete sponsorship expert Vickie Saunders (left), who authored the book Sponsorship for Athletes, and swimmer Tao Li.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS INSTITUTE
The crowd at the launch of the book, Sponsorship for Athletes, on April 27, 2016.
The crowd at the launch of the book, Sponsorship for Athletes, on April 27, 2016.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS INSTITUTE/ FACEBOOK
Group photo of athletes, members of the Singapore Sports Institute and consulting company Deloitte at the book launch, on April 27, 2016.
Group photo of athletes, members of the Singapore Sports Institute and consulting company Deloitte at the book launch, on April 27, 2016.PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS INSTITUTE/ FACEBOOK

The conventional method by which local athletes receive funding is through their respective national sports associations - unless they have a Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship).

But the Singapore Sports Institute (SSI) is encouraging athletes to take the initiative to find sponsors by themselves. A new book launched yesterday by the institute will provide pointers on how to do so.

Entitled Sponsorship For Athletes, the book is funded by consulting company Deloitte and authored by Australian athlete sponsorship expert Vickie Saunders.

The book cites examples of local athletes who successfully sealed sponsorship deals by themselves, including swimmer Tao Li, bowler Remy Ong, para swimmer Theresa Goh, sprinter Calvin Kang and golfer Koh Sock Hwee.

Kang, 26, said he had to put in the legwork to seek partnership opportunities through "knocking on doors and sometimes by (using) referrals", which would eventually fund his training.

For instance, he aims to attend a training camp in Europe in June, which would cost about $6,000. He said: "The pool of money (from the NSAs) is shared among many athletes. So sometimes if we want to go for a training camp on our own, we've got to go out to find (sponsors). This allows us to go for smaller competitions and overseas training."

With the growth of social media, crowdfunding - raising money by online donations - is also becoming more popular among athletes.

For example, Olympic-bound rower Saiyidah Aisyah had to turn to crowdfunding to meet her daily expenses while she was based in Sydney.

But Saunders feels that this is only a short-term solution, saying: "Crowdfunding works once or twice; people are not going to donate forever. (Athletes need) to get a sustainable source of income."

For athletes who are pursuing further studies, another option was also launched yesterday. The SIM Global Education/University of Stirling is offering a new sports scholarship for two local athletes to pursue a sports studies and marketing degree.

Said SSI chief Bob Gambardella: "The two initiatives that we are launching today represent our commitment in helping our athletes achieve excellence in both sports and life."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'New book sets the agenda for athletes in search of sponsors'. Print Edition | Subscribe