Late deals take remaining snowboarding inventory
U.S. Snowboarding’s Grand Prix Series picked up four late sponsorship commitments, which allowed the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to sell out the series for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
Sprint upgraded its commitment to the series from associate partner to title sponsor. The organization also signed new deals with Red Bull, Destineer’s “Stoked: Big Air Edition” (a snowboarding video game), and The Century Council, an advocacy group that crusades against underage drinking. Collectively, the deals delivered a low-seven-figure increase to USSA’s bottom line and helped increase total Grand Prix revenue 10 percent from the 2008-09 season.
“Obviously, people were tight with their budgets most of last year, but it seemed like all of a sudden there was money freed up in the market,” said USSA chief marketer Ted Morris. “You’re seeing that across sports now.”
As title sponsor, Sprint receives advertising in NBC broadcasts and logo space on athlete bibs, the awards podium and the start structure.
Associate sponsors Red Bull, “Stoked: Big Air Edition” and The Century Council receive media and on-site exposure. Red Bull receives branded coolers at the start and finish of the halfpipe; 20-foot-tall, branded height meters alongside the halfpipe; and a branded rider lounge at the top of the pipe with couches, heat and live feeds of the events for athletes. Destineer’s “Stoked: Big Air Edition” receives kiosks on-site featuring the game, U.S. Snowboarding branding in the game, banners on the hill and integrated content in event telecasts. The Century Council is an official sponsor of the Park City, Utah, event and will feature snowboarders Gretchen Bleiler and Louie Vito in a public service announcement.
The timing of the deals reflect the added importance that the Grand Prix series carries during an Olympic year. This year, the three-stop series will determine who makes the 2010 snowboard halfpipe team for the Vancouver Olympics.
Shaun White, Vito, Kelly Clark and Bleiler lead the series on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively, after the first stop at Copper Mountain in Colorado, Dec. 11-12. The next stops are at Mammoth Mountain in California this Friday through Sunday, and Park City, Jan. 20-23.