Other sports generate money for events through ticket sales and tv coverage (which are supported through sponsors). Ticket sales doesn't seem like a possibility, but TV coverage is already gaining some ground and
will probably be more and more likely as time goes on.
But, as I mentioned previously, in these other main stream sports still have big headlining sponsors, and its becoming more or more present. The NBA is in talks about having sponsored Jersey's in the near future.
What is the downside of having lead sponsors of the events as long as there is a non partisan ASP clearly defines structure and rules?
cackedinri & Micah, you both bring up really interesting points I want to add to... but it's going to have to wait until tomorrow. I just stopped working to eat quickly, then it's back to dealing with crazy Californian workaholics (no offense zaGaffer) who can never seem to remember it's 3 hours later here for me.....
QUOTE=cackedinri;140867]erock, Even if the ASP disappeared wouldn't there just be another organization with a different name that was still supported by the sponsors? Without sponsors nobody even knows who these guys are unless you've known them your whole life. Sponsors have to be involved with the amount of money at stake. Even big sports orgs. like the NFL/MLB are still not really that independent and run by sponsors, they just happen to be huge national TV stations who pay money to make more money. my question is, is it possible without sponsors?[/QUOTE]
I think the underlying difference is that the ASP was essentially a product of the sponsors as a marketing vehicle that brings the surfers under it's umbrella as a commodity. In other words, it was not started as a grass-roots surfer-based organization, it was started for the sponsors--quite the opposite of NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. Yes, all the other pro spots leagues have had incredible amounts of help from sponsors, but they have pretty much been in the back seat as far as writing the rules for the sport. This has created room for questions as to who is actually running the show, where their allegiances lie and to what degree the athletes even have any influence in the organization.
Enter the ISA, which was set up completely differently and modeled more around team-based competition in an attempt to make the outcomes a mix of objective and subjective criteria--the ASP and most other competition systems are based solely on subjective criteria. Also, ISA surfers surf for a team. Sure, sponsors are still involved in every aspect from sponsoring the ISA itself, sponsoring the events and the surfers' individual sponsorships--BUT their overall influence pretty much ends there because the ISA was set up to be based for surfers and by surfers.
So, I don't think pro surfing would survive if you took sponsors completely out of the picture but I do think it would (evidenced by ISA) if they had to take a different position than they currently have.
Micah brings up a good point in this same line of thought--charging for tickets will probably always be out of the question, but pro surfing is making a lot of progress in developing an international TV following and it will probably continue to grow. This will probably bring in an entirely different group of sponsors in addition to the current handful of "core" companies, which I think is a really good thing as far as pro surfing goes (bringing more masses of weekend warriors and summer pros to your lineup is a completely different argument). The more diversity in sponsorship you can get in pro surfing, the better chance it has to thrive and survive.
I also think the current "members-only" club has caused a lot of the problems in the ASP that have gotten it to the state it's in now. Look what happens when just two companies hit financially hard times--J-Bay get's downgraded to a 6-star (WTF), no Search contest, Cold Water Classic up to WCT status (WTF), Lady's Tour completely gutted, not even any freaking Hawaii events, so much for another NYC contest, on and on. You will get more and better events if you can spread the risk of sponsorship out a little more--especially in light of how much it costs to put on a good webcast.
I think it's going to get pretty interesting over the next couple years, especially since Australia's economy is currently tanking.
Disclaimer: I am speaking in terms of PRO surfing, not surfing in general. I surf because I love it, not because a pro tour exists.
I think having the quarter finals, semi finals, finals on mainstream TV is very legit.
If the ASP wants to make strides, I think that should be the goal.
The tricky part is that would be like 4-5 hours of air time, which is a ton of time to take up in comparison to a 3 hour baseball or football game.