Why we value our sponsors … and you should too

Just today a paddler asked me whether they had to support one of our festival sponsors by purchasing their product. It’s something that comes up on occasion, so I thought I’d take the time to formally answer the question.

With an event such as the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival, team registration fees cover about 25 percent of the overall event costs. Without sponsors, if we wanted to maintain the quality level of our event, registration fees would increase two to three-fold. For example, if you are an adult paddler, paying approximately $100 for three days of racing, without sponsors, you’d be paying $200 or more.

Sponsors feed and clothe our volunteers.

Sponsors paid for every one of our 24 dragon boats. As a matter of fact, sponsors have paid for all of the more than $700,000 worth of boats and equipment used for programs and races throughout the year. Sponsors paid for the excellent professional entertainers last year, the stage they played from, the screen they were projected on, and the truck used to pick up their drum kits and equipment. Our beautiful new boating centre docks were paid for by a generous $1 million dollar sponsor donation.

Sponsors pay for at-risk children to practice and compete and they cover most of the costs for teams of children and youth and for those with physical or mental differences, making dragon boat paddling one of the most inclusive sports in the world. Our mission is that regardless of financial resources, everyone is welcome on a dragon boat. Our sponsors make sure we meet our mandate.

Vancouver hosted the first dragon boat event outside of Asia more than 30 years ago, starting with only 16 teams. Our event has expanded to become what we are now: an international sport destination for visiting paddlers from around the world. We’re a world class, multicultural, professional sport and arts festival, as well as a year-round dragon boat presence on the waters of False Creek. Our paddlers travel to far-off destinations to compete on the world stage and they win! We are so proud of our paddlers, the volunteers who help them, and the sponsors who support them.

Whether you’re enjoying the ballet, visiting a museum or listening to a concert, there is a good chance that you only paid for about one-quarter of the seat you are sitting on. So, open up your next event program and pay attention to the ads and the list of sponsors.

Of course, you don’t have to support the companies that support us, but why wouldn’t you?


Ann Phelps
General Manager
Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society

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