Four years on from Vancouver when snowboarding killed in the ratings, we’re back at the discussion over what kind of power that success buys the sport. The Olympics earns eye watering sums of money for the TV rights of the games and based on the success of both slope and pipe, they’re now an essential part of the broadcast package.
With a little organisation, we can get the IOC to help reform the qualification series and maybe be represented by a body of our own making, rather than the FIS. Is it likely? Nope. The Sochi setup was considered dangerous by some athletes but they all still dropped in. And even quietly took a beat down from the organising committee and others for voicing concerns. That’s how powerful and organised we’re feeling.
Not to mention that the Olympics is Pop Idol for athletes – a medal there leads to success elsewhere. Sponsorships, TV guest spots, red carpet appearances and a morning show tour all come with a win and that name recognition brings even greater financial rewards for the rider. And I say none of this with any resentment for the riders – the competition is great, viewing it is awesome every four years and I love seeing the guys reach new levels of fame and success.
How to fix it? Maybe it’s time to think about how we organise in a slightly different way… Open to idea on this one.
It’s definitely worth reading Pat Bridges and Henning Andersen’s article over at Snowboarder.