Stewart Pitt, co-founder of Allatus, Olympian (Canoe Slalom, Atlanta 1996) & World Masters Games Champion 2009 gives a personal perspective on athlete sponsorship and presents the newly formed “Team Allatus Unity®”
For the Athlete
High performance sport is an enormous industry in the UK. There are millions of people who have found structure and inspiration through sports, and continue to benefit society by helping to inspire and enable other people.
However these pathways are often financially challenging. Lottery grants are performance related and so until an athlete reaches that standard there is a huge reliance on personal funding. During my Olympic journey, which was pre-lottery funding, external support was a huge contributor to my success for several reasons:
- Support from external sources has a strong psychological advantage. It helps to create a feeling of validation and strength in being supported by an entity that has chosen, rather than being entitled or obligated, to help.
- Financial support takes away a source of potential anxiety for athletes. Equipment in canoe slalom is expensive and travel, accommodation and water access all add up to significant costs over the season.
- Being part of a journey that is not limited exclusively to sports is empowering for athletes. Feeling involved in a pathway that is separate to the daily ‘training grind’ opens up the feeling of opportunity and loyalty to a brand, and increases the sense of being a part of something bigger.
For the Sponsor
Being part of an athlete journey is a corporate decision that can benefit business significantly, for a reasonable cost. These benefits include:
- Adding a layer of social responsibility to the brand personality of any business.
- Sponsorship is often a stab in the dark; there is no reasonable way of measuring the influence of an athlete against sales. However, association with Olympic aspiration can, for a fairly small investment, allow businesses to buy into the dream of achieving big, and harness the power of inspiration within their teams. Social media also allows for this journey to be shared with a much wider audience.
- Develop pathways for athletes to enter into your business at a later date. Athletes are proven to be valuable employees when their time as a competitor comes to an end. Supporting an athlete from the beginning of their sporting journey is showing a willingness to invest in individuals who could one day be a valuable asset to the company.
- From a personal point of view it’s great to be able to give young athletes a helping hand in the sport that I have enjoyed for over 30 years.
Team Allatus Unity®
Team Allatus Unity® is an exciting group of canoe slalom athletes who are already making an impact, both nationally and internationally. This is as a result of many years of hard work and support from family, friends, clubs and coaches. We are hoping that support from Allatus might just help them shave off a few crucial tenths of a second.
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (Edinburgh): World Championships Under 23 Silver Medal. World Championship Gold Team Event.
Sophie Ogilvie (Stirling): U23 World Championship Finalist, C1 Senior team qualifier 2019
Jonny Dickson (Linlithgow): Exciting new prospect, qualifier for Team GB Junior World Championship team.
The process of Olympic team selection for Tokyo 2020 has already begun. Team GB is one of the best canoe slalom nations in the world, but only able to select one boat per class for Tokyo. This is a tough challenge. Bradley is up against reigning Olympic Champion Joe Clark whilst Sophie is up against European Champion Kim Woods and Mallory Franklin, Vice World Champion 2018 and World Champion 2017.
2019 is an exciting year of medal-winning opportunities for Team Allatus. We will keep you posted on the team’s performance through the season.