Marketing itself as “A revolutionary new crowd funding platform for professional sports people, teams, and clubs”, ‘Pledge Sports’ could be the future for Irish atheletes with big aspirations.
The system is relatively simple. Budding sports people filling out a biography, outlining their plan, their goals, and how and why you should support them, and depending on the amount of money you contribute, the athlete will promise “rewards” as an incentive.
Take as an example triathlete Kevin Thornton, who plans to race around the world throughout 2014, and with costs averaging around €600 per race, hopes to raise €4,000 in order to compete internationally.
Rewards for your support range from €10, a shout out on twitter, €100, a private training session for up to 2 people, all the way up to €1,000, your company logo on his clothing and a photo call, with many other denominations and associated rewards in between.
You can keep track of each athlete’s progress towards their goal on their homepage – at the time of writing Kevin has amassed 34.5% of his stated goal of €4,000 – and also the number of days you have left to contribute. Click here to contribute
A large focus is placed on promotion through friends, family and social media. “Getting the message out there” is central to the ‘Pledge Sports’ system. Utilising social media in this way possibly points to the future for ambitious sports people who would be otherwise unable to raise the funds needed to compete at an elite level.
Although in it’s infancy, the system appears relatively successful thus far. Many athletes have already received thousands of euro worth of donations. One of the most popular campaigns is that of Irish tennis player James Cluskey, who is nearly halfway towards his goal of €10,000, having received €4,345 so far. He plans to compete in Wimbledon 2014, but the costs needed just to survive week in, week out on tour are such that even €10,000 is unlikely to cover everything. James is one example of an athlete who would find it nearly impossible to fund their dream alone.
‘Pledge Sports’ is paving the way for online fundraising campaigns, a new market that has only recently become a possibility, and in the growing world of social media, it’s hard not to see ‘Pledge’ and other organisations like it continuing to expand, opening more avenues for professional sports people in Ireland and possibly fulfilling dreams that would otherwise have remained out of reach.