Manager, Athlete High Performance Logistics
Sponsorships are agreements between the sponsor and the athlete only - U.S. Figure Skating is not involved in this agreement. The only time the athlete should question his or her eligibility is if the sponsor asks you to participate in an event that is not sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating. If this
occurs, the athlete can still accept the sponsorship if he or she completes a form called the Eligible Skater's Compensation Agreement (ESCA). Once this is completed, submitted and approved by the executive director, the athlete's eligibility will be protected. Find out more about the Eligible Skater's Compensation Agreement.
for a list of FAQs.
The most important question sponsors ask is, "Can I get tax benefits from this?" It depends on whether this is a business or a personal sponsor. If the sponsor is a private person wanting to assist the athlete with his or her expenses, the answer is no. If the sponsor is a business wanting to sponsor the athlete, the answer is yes, it can receive tax benefits. Tell the potential sponsor to talk to its accountants to find out the best way for it to handle the sponsorship. One option for a business to get tax benefits from a sponsorship is to use the athlete as an advertisement, since advertising can be a tax write-off for a business. Examples of how to do this is having the athlete carry a duffle bag with the business logo on it, or the athlete can wear a warm-up suit with the logo on it. These are just ideas; the best suggestion is to have the business check with its accountants regarding the specific laws and regulations.
Another question is, "Can the sponsor donate to the Memorial Fund and earmark it for a specific athlete to receive the tax benefits from the Memorial Fund's nonprofit status?" The answer is no - you can not donate to a nonprofit organization and earmark it for a specific person. The business
can donate to the Memorial Fund, but the money will be put into a general account and distributed to many U.S. Figure Skating athletes. The same applies when donating to a club with nonprofit status; you can donate to the club but not to a specific athlete. The money will go into the club's general account and be allocated according to the requests of the club's Board of Directors.
How does the athlete accept the sponsor's money? The athlete may have a "skating account" that the sponsor can write checks to, or it can simply make the check payable to the athlete. Again, this is a decision for the athlete and sponsor.
The sponsorship packet tailored specifically to synchronized skating is available for download here