The health and fitness industries are some of the greatest examples of people going out and doing what they love. In addition to being able to do what you love for work, being able to monetize on your accomplishments can be even more awarding. But the industry is not just about the prizes and competitions, the world of supplements and other health and nutrition products is an integral part to the fitness industry and provides a unique incentive to competitors and trainers.
Sponsorship is an essential way that athletes are able to monetize on their product. An athlete’s “product” is often considered their bodies and talents. When talking about sponsorship in the realm of sports and fitness, these companies are looking for the ideal person who can represent their brand and take their products or services to the next level. Whether it is because of the unique look that an athlete has, or because of the massive social media following that the individual has, sponsorship helps a product or service identify with their consumer base.
Having the look and having the talent that catch the eye of a sponsor is something that needs to be mastered in your field of specialty. However, once the lawyers come in and bring out the contracts, that’s where your hard work and skills have less of an impact and your leverage and negotiation skills come into play.
A sponsorship agreement can be divided into many different sections and it is important that you understand what each section means when you are presented with a sponsorship agreement.
Let’s face it, while you may love the product or service of the sponsor, just being a part of their organization may not be enough to sway you into signing a contract. Sponsorship agreements are somewhat unique when it comes to contracts in that the compensation is not always just the usual straight money deal. Certainly it can be, but often times it is a blend of money, products, and recognition. It is important before entering into a sponsorship agreement that you be able to identify what is important to you and what you expect to get out of the sponsorship relationship. This all depends on you as a person and where you are in your career. An athlete just starting out may have a hard time deciding whether the fame or fortune is more important in the beginning of their career. Whatever kind of compensation you choose, be sure that you make it clear to the sponsor what it is that you are looking for.
Conflicts in sponsorship agreements occur more often than one may imagine. One of the reasons for this is because many of these companies are “vertically integrated” and because they may not just provide one kind of product. Instead, they provide a multitude of products and may also be the manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and resaler of the product. When a sponsor has their hand in so many industries, the chances of you running into a conflict increases. It is essential that you keep track of who your sponsors are and what your limitations are as far as conflicts. In most cases, the contracts will very clearly outline for you what kind of products or services you are prohibited from being affiliated with, but for the contracts that don’t spell it out so clearly, it is important to be aware of what your sponsor does before entering into another sponsorship agreement.
Morals clauses work to help prevent tarnishment or damage to a company’s brand or image. The validity and enforceability of morals clause is an entire issue in and of itself. Courts have battled with this time and time again, and whether this provision will be enforceable should be further down the road in your thoughts than what are in the these clauses.
Put the enforceability aside, it’s reasonable to understand why a pre-workout manufacturer doesn’t want a convicted murderer or a thief to be the face of their company. But there are some morals clauses that go too far in attempting to limit your speech and private actions. The basis to most of these clauses is that you cannot get in trouble by the law for certain things and it cannot come out in public that you partake in certain activities (for certain sponsors, drug and alcohol tests are mandatory and may come unannounced).
OK, so you’ve been sponsored! That’s great, but what do you have to do? Each sponsor requires something unique from the individuals that they sponsor. Some require that you post a certain amount of content on your social media pages, others require that you appear at certain events and ceremonies, while others require that you wear branded clothing of theirs when you are at certain events or even when you are out in public for a certain amount of time. It is important to understand what your duties are and what you need to do to make sure that you are not in breach of your contract.
There are many other provisions which go into these contracts and it is important that you are aware of the impact that each of these provisions have on your sponsorship relationship.
To learn more about sponsorship agreements or to obtain assistance in reviewing or negotiating an a sponsorship agreement, contact Biletsky Law.