Value Added: Keeping Your Sponsors Happy

Getting a sponsor is something that many BJJ enthusiasts struggle with. We’ve written about how to find a sponsor previously. Today, we’re going to talk about keeping your sponsors.

As an early disclaimer, I’ll say that some sponsors end up just being crappy and will end up being a terrible partnership and one of you will drop the other. There are going to be instances where this is not your fault. This article is not meant to address that issue. This article is about making yourself valuable to a sponsor, and keeping a good relationship with them.


  1. Compete (and win)

Now, this is probably one of the more important ideas here. Most Jiu-Jitsu practitioners get sponsored because they are already competing and showing that they can win. If you were sponsored because you were an awesome competitor, make sure you stay that way.

That said, there are many individuals who are sponsored, but don’t compete at all (or don’t often win). Which brings us to…

  1. Write!
Big Guy BJJ Photo by JO Photography
Big Guy BJJ
Photo by JO Photography

Recently, BJJ Girl wrote an article about losing at the Jiu-Jitsu World League. Did her loss negatively impact her public image? Hell no. I, myself, lost at the Jiu-Jitsu World League and wrote about it.

Even if you only have a tiny, crappy blog that only a few people ever see, write anyways. When you write, you’re putting yourself out in the open for everyone to see and critique. It takes a certain level of confidence to do that. Sponsors respect that. Sometimes a sponsor may even ask you to write for their website (if you write well). Being a visible writer adds tremendous value to you as an athlete and attracts sponsors.

  1. Videos

Make some videos. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new white belt, find some way to make your videos and make them relevant. That doesn’t mean that you have to make a ton of instructional videos, especially if you aren’t very technically sound.

There are other ways, though. For example, you have the guys of Inner BJJ who make videos like this one, just to be funny:

Myself, I make videos for my fellow big guys out there, like this one:


It isn’t necessarily about being the best. It’s really about putting yourself out there. When you do, even if you don’t do that well, you are making yourself and your sponsors more visible (which is really what a sponsor wants).

  1. Do Interviews
Joel Blanton Photo by MP Sports Photography

This one is important. Find someone to interview you, even if it’s just your buddy who needs to interview someone for a school project. Even if you have to find a buddy to pretend to do an interview for you, do it. Get out there and talk to people about what you do.

My favorite interview I’ve had the pleasure of doing was this one with Joel Blanton. Who is Joel Blanton? Why, only a multiple-time IBJJF World and Pan Am champion. However, there were plenty of people who had never even heard of him before. An interview helps make someone more visible.

  1. Social Media

Post on social media about your sponsor. Yeah, you might think social media sucks. In a way, you’re right. However, social media is just another one of those ways to be seen. Twitter seems to have come and gone with much of the Jiu-Jitsu crowd. In fact, Twitter has more people tweeting than ever, but fewer people reading tweets than ever before as well.

Instagram seems to be the platform of choice among the Jiu-Jitsu community. So post often, and use hashtags that will draw attention to your sponsors and yourself.

  1. Get Photos Done

I mean, get a real professional to come take your pictures. I’ve seen some athletes who want to be sponsored, but have terrible photography work done for them. Don’t just call up your buddy who owns a camera. Go to a professional and spend the money. It will make you look more professional and is worth it.


Be visible. In order to be valuable to your sponsors, you have to get out there and be seen. No one ever became great by hiding in the shadows of anonymity. Will you receive criticism when you do? Yes. But it doesn’t mean much when people just randomly criticize you (especially on the internet). I like this quote by Theodore Roosevelt concerning that:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


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