BMC Commercial Partnerships update

Posted by Simon Lee on 18/01/2018
Striding Edge on Helvellyn in the Lake District. Photo: Alex Messenger

2018 could be an exciting year for BMC partnerships. Simon Lee, BMC commercial partnerships manager, takes a look at what’s planned.

Last year, the BMC entered into two new strategic partnerships. Cotswold Outdoor / Snow+Rock became our recommended retail partners and Montane became our recommended clothing and pack partner.

These types of partnership are common amongst national representative bodies and enable us to promote membership to a wider audience and provide much needed licencing income to support our broader work and operations.

A very exciting spin-off has been that Cotswold / Snow+Rock went on to become the headline partner for the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign. As well as supporting the campaign costs, this allows for the use of the store network and digital channels to mobilise the general public support for this important BMC campaign.

Whilst commercial partnering have been very positive initiatives for the BMC they have not been without criticism. In an ideal world the BMC would remain wholly impartial and not need to partner. However, in an environment of declining external funding, difficult choices have to be made. The financial benefits of commercial collaboration with reputable organisations allow us to maintain our broad range of work for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.

In 2018, we would like to establish two further long-term partnerships. Whilst we have partners in retail and clothing, many other business categories remain. Maybe you work for a mapping, climbing hardware, performance fabrics or outdoor technology company and see an opportunity to connect with our 85,500 members and beyond? Similarly we are also open for discussions of potential partnerships with appropriate organisations from outside the outdoor industry, so if you work at an organisation that might benefit from an association with the BMC then please get in touch.

A key area is looking at the sponsorship potential for competition climbing and national teams. The recently announced arrangements with the Oakwood Climbing Centre and the Quay Climbing Centre is a fantastic collaboration that wholly underwrites the GB Paraclimbing Team budget for the next three years, as well as providing dedicated centres for team training. Similarly, The Hub at Rock Over Climbing now provides a purpose-built elite bouldering wall in Manchester for the GB teams and Development Squad to train on, as well as providing financial support towards the team budget.   

These collaborations give an indication of what can be achieved, but we would like to do more to support the GB teams, young climbers and competitions. The constraint is funding. This work is already hugely reliant on the generosity and support of passionate volunteers and climbing centres as well as our team kit sponsor Berghaus. Sport England has historically provided the majority of funding so the future is uncertain despite the fantastic international success of our competitors and the excitement generated by climbing’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.  

One of our priorities for 2018 is to seek a major corporate sponsor to help us to develop a world-class competitions programme and assist our top competition climbers in realising their potential on the world stage. If you happen to be the Chief Executive of a FTSE100 company then get in touch! After all, climbing is a fast growing and visually exciting sport with a digitally-engaged youthful demographic.

However, the competition for such sponsors is fierce. Many established Olympic sports are facing challenging times so securing a major sponsor is by no means a given. In this endeavour the BMC will be partnering with sport sponsorship specialists to help us reach out to the corporate sector to hopefully secure the deal our sport deserves.

READ MORE:

Why the BMC needs Commercial Partnerships

Cotswold Outdoor,  Snow+Rock become BMC’s new recommended retailer partners

Montane becomes BMC’s new recommended clothing and pack partner

The Hub: new GB Climbing Team Bouldering Wall


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