At their annual congress held in Paris in December 2018 (right before the gala hosted to celebrate their 105th birthday, which we've blogged about extensively), updated their sponsorship rules, allowing for more advertising. These new rules are a fantastic opportunity for fencers to help finance their athletic dreams. You have 10 spaces for representing brands and if you are a top fencer or even an aspiring young fencer, new funding possibilities might now open up for you.
Our director Ben Paul gives you an overview over the new rules and shares his tips for athletes.
The new FIE rules: an opportunity to make your fencing dreams come true
by Ben Paul
The FIE new sponsorship rules are out and will be applied starting with the 2019/20 season. Time to familiarise yourself with the new rules and to think about raising your sponsorship game!
Advertising spaces for fencers: simplified rules 2019/2020 season
The full specifications about sponsorship in fencing, fixed in the FIE's publicity code, are to be found here (go to section p.12, 2 or watch out for the parts in blue to find the update), but to make your (fencing) life easier, we've broken the new rules down for you. You ready? Here you go:
If a federation or fencer sign a sponsorship contract with a commercial company, the logo of that sponsorship partner may be fixed to the following locations:
12 spaces are available but only a total of 10 are allowed.
Please note: Advertising on the Leg is now forbidden!
Funding your fencing dreams through sponsoring: a success story....
Even a small association with a few local companies can help increase your profile. Even if you find ten small sponsors in your local community each paying you £50 pounds a year that is still £500 towards you training. Think small and grow.
Just one example: A long long time ago a USA team had no sponsors, nor did the US fencing federation. The team started out by fining one local company that sold nice chocolate to sponsor them. They got some free chocolates and contacted other companies, they wrote about what they were trying to achieve and then gave a free box of chocolates thanking them for their time. From this they got additional sponsor and a sponsorship for free fencing equipment from myself (Leon Paul), because I love chocolate. From this Leon Paul ended up sponsoring the whole fencing federation for 10 years (we still sponsor some selected top fencers, like Alexander Massialas!) and now the US fencing association has multiple sponsorships and individual fencers are earning great money from private deals. It all started with a small local sponsorship and people with an advertising plan.
Leon Paul sponsored fencer Alex Massialas (Picture © Leon Paul)
A few tips for athletes
If you have sponsorship logos make sure you have access to your sponsorship contracts. I suggest emailing a copy to yourself so you have access to it on your mobile phone at events. Alternatively you could remove the private or sensitive information from your contact and print a copy to place in your fencing bag should it be required at weapon control.
If you have a contact through your federation they can supply you with a statement about the sponsorship. It is important that you honour your fencing federations sponsorship commitments as this is how the federations can generate income that can pay for a whole range of activities in your country. For example, your coaches' pay, flights, free equipment, grass roots fencing. The new rules mean that there is plenty of additional advertising space so you should have easily enough opportunity to find private sponsorship as well.
As a word of advise it is very bad practice to have two sponsorship deals from businesses that compete in the same business space. For example:
Federation sponsorship <-> Private sponsorship
BMW <-> Ford
Apple <-> Samsung
Red Bull <-> Monster
We suggest you use the following document, available for all three weapons and summarising the new rules at one glance, to try and maximise your advertising value on your fencing uniform.
Talk with official photographers at events and see if you can get nice images of yourself showing the sponsors logos. This will make it easier to renew sponsorship deals or find new sponsors. As always have a Instagram page, and a Facebook page. Even though Facebook is less important many business still use this platform so it is important to be represented on it even if you or people your age might not use it. Think of the sponsorship company as a customer and you a servicing that customers needs. What do they want and how can you get that for them. That's the best way to ensure a long lasting partnership... one that will help realise all your fencing dreams and which, with the new FIE sponsorship rules, might just have come a little closer.