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Where have all the sponsors gone?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ski Racing has an article which asks a valid question....

Where have all the head sponsors gone? 

 

 

With top tier racers struggling to find sponsors (and keep sponsors), what does this say about the industry? 

 

Some may say that the Freeski World Tour has a bigger share of the market, while others may say FIS has made it difficult for manufacturers to stay with the racing program.  

 

I'd like to know what your thoughts are on this topic. 

post #2 of 24

I know less than nothing about how the ski industry works, so take my opinion with the bushel of salt it deserves, but I have a theory. In the 1980s, a lot of the kids I raced with had sponsors. I think it was more important to the ski companies to get their brands on competitors because at the time pretty much the only "expert" skis available were racing skis. If you wanted to sell skis to good skiers, you had to show that your racing skis were good quality.

 

Now only racers ride racing skis. The expert market is split up between powder skis, all-mountain skis, parks skis, what-have-you. Seeing a racer shred an icy course on an ultra-narrow SL racing ski isn't going to convince anyone that you know how to build powder skis. So what does it say about the ski industry? I guess that manufacturers don't sell many racing skis and so don't give a crap about racing. If I'm right, this doesn't bode well for the future of racing. Without sponsor support, many ski racing parents will probably switch their kids to polo or yacht racing to save some money.

post #3 of 24
Bear in mind the head sponsor has not normally been an equipment supplier. l
post #4 of 24
Where's the $$$ for the athletes? With the racers by and large. I'm guessing the top racers are making 3-4x the dough that the most well known free ride folks are. I'm sure there are a handful of freeride big mountain types who do well (Chris Davenport? Rahlves?) but I think I'd rather have Mikaela's current and future earnings if being shown the money is what it's all about. Or Axel's. Or Ted's. Or Marcel's. Or Bode's....
post #5 of 24

This is all I could find on short notice. 

 

Marcel Hirscher Net Worth

 

Bode Miller Net Worth

 

Lindsey Vonn Net Worth

 

Shaun White Net worth !!!

 

 

 

Looking at these stark contrasts (Shaun White annual earning being almost equal to the other 3's net worth, and his Net Worth dwarfing their combined earnings), I guess if you are an advertiser looking to associate your product with the snow sports industry, you're considering a far broader range of options than once existed, and WC alpine racing has steadily diminished (at Home and abroad) as other branches have grown.  Companies aren't inclined to over saturate a field, so, there is only so much 'snow-sport culture market segment' advertising money to go around.

 

Also, as in other sports (mountain biking being the most specific), consumers (and that's what matters) no longer revere racing driven production they once did, for a multitude of reasons, both good and bad.

 

Finally, FIS-WC racing suffers from the same problem many of these entirely sponsor driven sports (with no large 'paid viewing' fans-as in a large paid-seating arena/ stadium driven sport): The earnings are outrageously Top-Heavy.  This is true in Motorcross (the biggest money version of these sports) through all manner of competitive skiing.  Top 5-10 so vastly out-earn everyone else (as the sponsor money is ALL of the money), that it is hard to generate enough star power across the whole spectrum of competitors.  You're better off getting Mikaela to wear your logo than putting your logo on the whole event.   

 

And one wonders, how much dollar in dollar out return is there in investing in WC racing sponsorship.  Back to Hirscher, he's been the best technical skier on the Planet for a few seasons now…How's atomic doing, and does he actually sell more skis for them than Bentchetler (whose name alone actually sells skis, literally)?

 

Just some thoughts.  I think the whole 2008 global economic Shake-down has pushed corporations to think more deeply (and undoubtedly more big statistically) about where best to put promotional funds to generate the best returns (a lot of sports have seen a real diminishing of corporate money). If there is a decline in WC sponsorship (and don't know that there is), it's roots lay in the new reality.

 

Markjop: Last Season Tina Maze and Marcel Hirscher were the Top earners (in competitive winnings, with MAZE setting and all time record) each earning roughly $500,000.  There's just not that much money in the sport to begin with.   For Comparison, Here's a list of Top winnings leaders in Golf for 2014 (a season that's not entirely over I might add) Golf Leaders  

post #6 of 24
No doubt. Wasn't comparing skiing to anything else, particularly major pro sports (soccer, football, baseball, hockey, basketball). Maybe it's time for soccer players or even pro teams to sponsor skiers. smile.gif You could get Bode with Patriots helmet. Or Eric Guay in a Canadiens GS suit. smile.gif

(No love in particular for either team mentioned... Just going by geography. )
post #7 of 24

Wow, Lindsey Vonn is worth only (only...) three million?  I would have guessed that there was another zero on that number...  i.e., thirty million dollar range.

 

Maybe I think she's more noteworthy / famous / whatever because I see skiing news more than John Q. Public does.

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

Wow, Lindsey Vonn is worth only (only...) three million?  I would have guessed that there was another zero on that number...  i.e., thirty million dollar range.

Maybe I think she's more noteworthy / famous / whatever because I see skiing news more than John Q. Public does.

Then again, it depends on the article you read.
http://www.tsmplug.com/richlist/lindsey-vonn-net-worth/
http://www.sportrichlist.com/athletes/lindsey-vonn-net-worth/
post #9 of 24
Huh... Didn't know L.V. Snowboarder too. Cool! smile.gif
post #10 of 24
It's the internet. Lots of info out there, much of it useless. It's not like sports stars have to issue public financial statements. Between people making stuff up and agents and public relations people, who knows what could be true? She might not even know, based on her IRS trouble a few years back.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
 

This is all I could find on short notice. 

 

Marcel Hirscher Net Worth

 

Bode Miller Net Worth

 

Lindsey Vonn Net Worth

 

Shaun White Net worth !!!

 

 

 

Looking at these stark contrasts (Shaun White annual earning being almost equal to the other 3's net worth, and his Net Worth dwarfing their combined earnings), I guess if you are an advertiser looking to associate your product with the snow sports industry, you're considering a far broader range of options than once existed, and WC alpine racing has steadily diminished (at Home and abroad) as other branches have grown.  Companies aren't inclined to over saturate a field, so, there is only so much 'snow-sport culture market segment' advertising money to go around.

 

Also, as in other sports (mountain biking being the most specific), consumers (and that's what matters) no longer revere racing driven production they once did, for a multitude of reasons, both good and bad.

 

Finally, FIS-WC racing suffers from the same problem many of these entirely sponsor driven sports (with no large 'paid viewing' fans-as in a large paid-seating arena/ stadium driven sport): The earnings are outrageously Top-Heavy.  This is true in Motorcross (the biggest money version of these sports) through all manner of competitive skiing.  Top 5-10 so vastly out-earn everyone else (as the sponsor money is ALL of the money), that it is hard to generate enough star power across the whole spectrum of competitors.  You're better off getting Mikaela to wear your logo than putting your logo on the whole event.   

 

And one wonders, how much dollar in dollar out return is there in investing in WC racing sponsorship.  Back to Hirscher, he's been the best technical skier on the Planet for a few seasons now…How's atomic doing, and does he actually sell more skis for them than Bentchetler (whose name alone actually sells skis, literally)?

 

Just some thoughts.  I think the whole 2008 global economic Shake-down has pushed corporations to think more deeply (and undoubtedly more big statistically) about where best to put promotional funds to generate the best returns (a lot of sports have seen a real diminishing of corporate money). If there is a decline in WC sponsorship (and don't know that there is), it's roots lay in the new reality.

 

Markjop: Last Season Tina Maze and Marcel Hirscher were the Top earners (in competitive winnings, with MAZE setting and all time record) each earning roughly $500,000.  There's just not that much money in the sport to begin with.   For Comparison, Here's a list of Top winnings leaders in Golf for 2014 (a season that's not entirely over I might add) Golf Leaders  

Good thoughts here.  I was actually thinking along the same lines. 

 

If you're a sponsor, won't you look at the bigger picture/longevity of the sponsor dollars?  

Atomic is strong in many fields, including Alpine Raceing, but its paid off for them with the likes of Daron Rahlves who continues to be an incredible ambassador for the sport on many level, including the Banzai tour, big movie appearances, hiking major peaks (and much more)  How many times does a sponsor invest in an alpine athlete and see a long range benefit like Daron? 

post #12 of 24
Chris Davenport is now a co-owner or on the board of Kastle, isn't he? Seems a pretty savy business guy. Self life is short in sponsorships... I was just wondering what happened to Hugo Harrison the other day.


http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/hugo-harrisson-andmdash-from-freeski-superstar-to-happy-muni-worker/Content?oid=2543455
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Chris Davenport is now a co-owner or on the board of Kastle, isn't he? Seems a pretty savy business guy. Self life is short in sponsorships... I was just wondering what happened to Hugo Harrison the other day.

Yes, he's another one that has proven to be a good investment.

Speaking of which, look at this.

http://freeskier.com/videos/red-bull-media-house-releases-trailer-for-epic-series-the-faces-of-dav

 

 

Two big names at Atomic right now, - Michelle Parker and Mikaela Shiffrin. 

Two different applications and two different worlds in the ski industry.   Mikaela is not the normal Alpine Racer.  I think she has some longevity and will expand her skiing prowess as the industry demands it.  

 

 Michelle Parker is a proven long term investment and an incredible ambassador 

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

Wow, Lindsey Vonn is worth only (only...) three million?  I would have guessed that there was another zero on that number...  i.e., thirty million dollar range.

 

Maybe I think she's more noteworthy / famous / whatever because I see skiing news more than John Q. Public does.

 

It's bad info.  She's worth WAY more than that.  Sponsorships for watch companies, etc. - those pay very very well.

post #15 of 24
Just not to skiers JayT smile.gif Thing is, skiing is marginal sport about which noone really cares, except for Austrians smile.gif And that's why money these guys and girls get is more like lunch money for some soccer player.
post #16 of 24

Good to see you back around Primoz!

post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by primoz View Post

Just not to skiers JayT smile.gif Thing is, skiing is marginal sport about which noone really cares, except for Austrians smile.gif And that's why money these guys and girls get is more like lunch money for some soccer player.

 

Yes, but they do pay Olympians well.  She's been in a ton of ads over the past several years.  I guarantee you she's worth more than three million.

post #18 of 24

Snow sports in general are a niche activity. There is only so much money to go around, and the atheles themselves have a limited earning power and limited broad market appeal.

 

I found this on Wikipedia showing the career earnings of some MLB players and it says a lot about where the money is in sports (and as much as I love snowsports, you would be better off having your kids get really good at baseball:

 

Name Team(s) Position Years Earnings Ref
Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
New York Yankees
SS, 3B 1994– $353,416,252 [16]
Derek Jeter New York Yankees SS 1995– $253,159,364 [40]
Manny Ramirez Cleveland Indians
Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago White Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
LF 1993– $206,827,769 [41]
Barry Bonds Pittsburgh Pirates
San Francisco Giants
LF 1986–2007 $188,245,322 [42]
Randy Johnson Montreal Expos
Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros
Arizona Diamondbacks
New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants
SP 1988–2009 $175,550,019 [43]
Mariano Rivera New York Yankees RP 1995–2013 $169,441,825 [44]
Chipper Jones Atlanta Braves 3B 1993–2012 $168,552,133 [45]
Gary Sheffield Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres
Florida Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves
New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers
New York Mets
RF 1988–2009 $168,008,550 [46]
Todd Helton Colorado Rockies 1B 1998–2013 $161,490,000 [47]
Carlos Beltrán Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros
New York Mets
San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
CF, RF 1998- $160,952,782  

 

This is money just from their baseball contracts. When you add in outside endorsement money, God only knows what they are really making per year!

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

 

Yes, but they do pay Olympians well.  She's been in a ton of ads over the past several years.  I guarantee you she's worth more than three million.

There's about 4 different sets all putting her at 3 million.  Yeah it seems low, but I remember last year talking about her to all of my wive's friends (and my wife) no one knew who she was.  In fact 'Tiger Wood's Girlfriend' was the key phrase for them to even take interest. All sponsorships aren' equal, I guarantee you her Rolex money is not equivalent to Federer's Rolex money.

 

ACTUALLY: Here's one that makes her richer and focused on Endorsement money: http://www.tsmplug.com/richlist/lindsey-vonn-net-worth/

 

 

As for snowsports money in general and sponsorship, I just read that NIKE is pulling all of their snowsports focused advertising (which, was mostly 'action sport and Xgame focused).  Still, it hearkens to the tightening of slushy corporate money in these niche sports and how much more pointedly focused they are becoming.


Edited by Liam - 9/26/14 at 5:26am
post #20 of 24
Yeah, posted that in post 8. I'm sure that her $3 mill a year earnings got copied to other articles as net worth. Doesn't matter, they are all guessing.
post #21 of 24

The money in sports centers around TV contracts.  When you have "Monday Night Skiing" on TV, expect to see athlete contracts and sponsorships to match. The bigger money in X-games type events vs. World Cup is directly tied to the TV contracts.  The TV contracts are tied to the competitive nature of the sports. Direct man to man competition sell either individually or in teams.  It's why there is more money in cage fighting than skiing.  Look at ESPN.com.  "Mixed Martial Arts" ranks above Olympic Sports of which skiing is minor subset of the weaker sibling of Winter Olympics vs. Summer Olympics.

 

Skiing basic of individual timed runs means little TV coverage and little money.

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
One sponsor who gets a ton of mileage with their athletes is RedBull.   But then, they optimize it with Red Bull TV.  See the example of the Faces of Dav in my earlier post.   Chris Davenport is someone who has immersed himself in every aspect of the sport to ensure his longevity. 
 
Quote:
 Stay tuned for the release of the first full-length episode, "The Engineer" on October 9th. 

http://bit.ly/facesofdav1

 

post #23 of 24

My read of this issue, from the link provided by TC, is the Swiss racers problem is limited to headgear or hat to wear from a sponsor. The article states that individual racers headgear logo cannot compete with official sponsors who contribute to the Swiss National Ski Team, limiting an individual skiers final selection. Not sure if an individual skier can wear headgear that is not a financial supporter of the Swiss Ski Team. The fee for head gear starts at $250k for a major player, so, it's easy to see why it's an issue when your sponsor disappears. Appears to be the "supply and demand" principle adversely impacting the Swiss skiers, but, as the national team foots the bill, the limitations for sponsorship are understandable.

 

Personally, I find it distasteful that Red Bull throws so much money into hat sponsorship....I just don't believe in the energy drinks, but, marketing rules in the competitive environment.

post #24 of 24

Still reeling over Jeep pulling out of X-Games and Dew Tour stuff a couple years ago.  It just seems that the slice of the pie that goes to promotional things is getting thinner and thinner everywhere.

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