Yep, Holimonter posted it a couple of days ago. Interesting points by Primoz. I would love to know what the fee is to be a USST pool sponsor, as a ski company. I don't think that it's as steep as with the European powers, nor are the expectations as high in terms of what they need to deliver. Head joined the USST pool last year, or two years ago? I think the only USST skiers on the skis were Bode and Lalive. Maybe one other. I don't think that the USST expects any equipment deals beyond the support for the skiers in the team system skiing on their skis. It's not like, in this country, if you are in the pool, you need to make product and deals available throughout the country at the junior levels. At least that has never been my understanding. I think it's more like paying the fee to get the endorsement and some residual press from the skis....and to ensure in terms of the contractual deal that the company provides what's expected. And the USST adds the fee to the revenue side of their books.
If anybody knows the details, I'd be very interested. I have always heard, for example, that Stockli isn't part of more national pools because it doesn't work financially. Too expensive. Now, then again, they don't make a ton of skis, despite making great ones. So they are in the Swiss pool, maybe one other small European country's, but that's it.
Participation for the suppliers in the USST pool is not a huge investment.( in relative terms to the overall marketing budget) For some of the companies, the parent in Eurpoe will pay the fee, for some the fee is paid by the subsidiary or the distributers. It is a small hurdle that is asked of the suppliers by product category. The fee has to be large enough to force the participating supplier into doing something with the investment, like signing athletes, providing the best possible material for perfomance that the company builds, in some cases providing services, or contributing over and above the pool fees for multimark service, and hopefully providing advertising and promotion dollars for the athletes that were signed. The fee has too be large enough to get the marginal companies to think twice about simply paying the fee and then advertising that their products are performant by association with the USST logo. The idea being that the pool only wants companies that are willing to provide the best products and service to get winning results. The big expense in pool participation are the costs associated with designing, building and testing the product, the fixed money and victory shedules paid out to athletes, and the service costs related to building a winning team. Then there is the marketing and promotion dollars spent to tell the world that your products are performant.
Primoz is correct about how the costs differ with the European teams. Their business climate is very different then ours. Most of the powerful Euro pools, wield a bit more influence with the suppliers.The above the table fees for the pool and the athlete contracts look similar to those in the North American pools, however there are under the table agreements reached between the suppliers and the pools that reek of political manuvering. So yes the cost of doing business with the strong European pools is way more expensive then doing business with the CST or USST.
IMHO on the subject of Rossignol reducing its up front fees to the athletes;
First of all I applaud them for their honesty and communication early in the spring to their athletes. Thus allowing the athletes time to test and negotiate the best deal they can find in an Olympic year. Keep in mind that they did not boot anyone off the program, they just informed the athletes that they could not honor their contracts as they were written, based on survival of the brand. And that was just for the up front money, they kept the victory schedules intact.
Secondly they are in deep shit and have to get healthy financially to survive. All the other brands that participate in ski racing are in the exact position that Rossi is. They however are not talking publically about what they must do to survive, therefore it will only come out when the public can start to see the cracks. ( wait till next year!!!! )
Third, there was only one possibility for Lindsay and that would be with a privately held company, like Head, that does not have to answer to stock holders. In this economy the best any of the big race companies could do, would be to run the price up for someone else because any marketing guy that works for a publically held ski company would be looking for a new job if they tried to sign an athlete of Vonns stature and globes won. The ski industry is getting creamed in this global meltdown, besides Lindsay who for sure was worth every dollar that she was getting from Rossi, there were no other athletes that could garner a bigger pay check by switching at this time. IMO if any other athlete switched suppliers in an Olympic year, they did it because either their ego was bruised or the ego of their agent was bruised.
More than likely, because Bode has not committed to either this years WC or racing at Whistler, Head has made the choice to siphon off some of the funds slated for Bode to fund Lindsay. If Bode decides to ski the WC or Olympics he takes the chance that his up front fees from Head may no longer be available. ( my crazy .02 on this one)
On a similar note, with Tim Petrick now at the helm of Rossi world wide, they stand better than average odds in recovery. Not because Tim Petrick is Tim Petrick, but because he is fiscally conservative and that is exactly what Rossi needs right now. He will put Rossi on a very strict regimen of diet and exercise to trim the fat. FWIW.