Well, I’ve really done it now. Breaking with historical Racing Union practices I’ve gone and actively sought out sponsorship as a bicycle racer (I use that term “bicycle racer” lightly of course and really I should say as a blogger who races bikes). Well, ok so not really but I’ve joined the GamJams.net Ambassadors Peloton and can’t wait to see where it takes us. The group is surprisingly large; I’m not sure I realized how many other racers in the area had blogs, currently the group stands at 22 members. Not too shabby if you ask me.
In all reality this is more of a grassroots “sponsorship” idea then what is typical and is actually a really great idea. In creating the group Mike May of GamJams.net is looking to bring the big name cycling companies and sponsors to the local racing community where their products are most often being bought and used. When I questioned my teams acceptance of me joining the group Mike responded with a great explanation of the program as can be seen below.
We're a bunch of racers who make our own media. We ought to be rewarded for it.
There's an altruistic angle to it also. The other part of the program is what sponsors must couple with the offers to the Ambassadors. In addition to the promotion they make available to all of you, they're also required to run a promotion for all GamJams.net readers. So they won't just be running ads, they'll be offering something of value to the entire regional racing community. Maybe it's not a huge value - a free water bottle with purchase of a 60-serving canister of some recovery drink, for example. Or a free bike fit through a regional fit pro with the purchase of a new frame. Or a 10% discount to the masses instead of the 60% or whatever they give you. Something that shows they're supporting racing at the local level, not just sponsoring high-profile riders. I'm not letting them just make an offer to you - they have to make an offer to everyone, blog or no blog.
I'm hoping that this translates what the Ambassadors are doing into value for everyone around, which is very different than the current model for sponsored riders, which benefits the rider and the sponsor, often at the expense of the rest of the market (ie, we pay extra markup to cover marketing and advertising expenses). I'm hoping to create some sort of symbiotic ecosphere here, where the economics of sponsorship actually improve with scale, not diminish.
Maybe if you position it like that to your comrades, they won't razz you so much for supporting a capitalist model.
So, there you have it. The GamJams.net Ambassadors Peloton.
I’ll be updating the blog with links to my fellow Ambassadors as well as some cool banners for GamJams.net. Be sure to check back soon for the changes.