Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?


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Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby batonless relay » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:29 am

I'm a Bolt fan and believe that he's the best thing in terms of PR that's ever happened to the sport; however, with the news of Samsung's announcement that they will not be renewing their title sponsorship with the Diamond league and the xfinity commercial I saw this past week, I have to wonder if he's so big that he's effectively sucked the oxygen and the money out of the sport. This isn't new; Tiger Woods did it in Golf but it wasn't as pronounced and associations/sponsorships with the game grew as opposed to unique associations with Tiger. Michael Phelps definitely outshined FINA and USA Swimming...but he fit the demographic.

The Xfinity commercial made me pause. Here we have a non-American, in an Olympic sport that is nearly irrelevant in terms of TV coverage in the USA, getting a MAJOR commercial, during the final 4, with a Philadelphia-based (USA) media behemoth and the sport gets squat? Where is the Comcast association with USATF? Where is the Comcast association with an American athlete? This, Comcast, is a company that owns majority ownership in Comcast-Spectator which owns the Philadephia flyers and the 76ers.

This is similar to what you saw in NASCAR a few years ago when everyone tried to get into NASCAR to sponsor Junior. But what's different is that all those companies activated marketing dollars at track and/or with advertising, etc. I don't see where Comcast will be coming to the IAAF World Championships hospitality tent. I don't see where they will be sending a contingent to Des Moines for hospitality, either.

The time for patches and logos on vests is now - but only for global companies. A rival sponsor seeing COMCAST or VIRGIN or GATORADE on Bolt's shirt on ESPN would be negligent not to put a patch on Tyson Gay's shirt and then actively activate the sponsorship with goodies and tchotchkes at track. Yes, the IAAF has to consider, Toyota, Seiko, TDK, Sinopec, VTB etc but those companies are only with the IAAF until the World Champs come to their respective countries and then they're gone - and they're all mostly Asian (VTB is Russian). But if I had to contrast the IAAF's partners with Usain's (Samsung, Gatorade, VISA, VIRGIN, Xfinty, Nissan, Puma, Soul [rival to Beats audio]), I would say Bolt has a stronger portfolio. I think Bolt is paid almost as much by Puma as USATF is paid by Nike.

New Xfinity commercial
http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7oRw/comcast-xfi ... nsane-bolt

**One other thing. Usually a sport takes a percentage of an athlete's sponsorship IF THAT ATHLETE is wearing their official uniform. Is either the IAAF or JAAAs getting a cut of his deal with Samsung? Because he's wearing a "Jamaica" uniform.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby eldanielfire » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:38 pm

The sponsorship issues with the Diamond league is in part due to other sponsors being more prominent at actual meets and therefore the Samsung not really getting any exposure return out of it.

It's not uncommon for athletes be virtually bigger than their sport and paid disgusting amounts, Michael Jordan was paid so much he can buy Basketball teams. What the extra exposure he brought did was ensure there was more people into Basketball raising their finances more overall. Tyson Gay in one interview said he was now paid more and given more exposure to be Bolt's rival than what he was getting after being World Champion. Every Diamond league still has sponsors, it's just Track has that unique position where the meets have their own big Sponsor (Aviva this, Virgin something, Adidas that), making the league sponsor almost redundant.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby batonless relay » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:13 pm

eldanielfire wrote:The sponsorship issues with the Diamond league is in part due to other sponsors being more prominent at actual meets and therefore the Samsung not really getting any exposure return out of it. not really true.

It's not uncommon for athletes be virtually bigger than their sport and paid disgusting amounts, Michael Jordan was paid so much he can buy Basketball teams. not at all trueWhat the extra exposure he brought did was ensure there was more people into Basketball raising their finances more overall. Tyson Gay in one interview said he was now paid more and given more exposure to be Bolt's rival than what he was getting after being World Champion. Every Diamond league still has sponsors, it's just Track has that unique position where the meets have their own big Sponsor (Aviva this, Virgin something, Adidas that), making the league sponsor almost redundant.

Track's position isn't "unique". It is a close association to NASCAR where the governing body is different from the track owner and different from the competitor. Each one of NASCAR's Sprint cup and Nationwide series races is sponsored and many competitor and team sponsors run counter to the race sponsorship. The Fords will still run at Sonoma for the Toyota race and Toyotas will still run at the end of the season for the Ford race. Jimmie Johnson isn't going to sit out the Irwin Tools 500 and Junior and Jeff Gordon, Pepsi athletes, aren't going to sit out the Coca-Cola 500. NAPA is still going to run at the Federated Auto Parts 400. UPS is the official NASCAR sponsor yet Fedex is sponsoring the race at Dover. I could go further but the point is Track is not "unique"; there are other sports that are dealing with similar overlaps in sponsorships. The IAAF just has to get a handle on it and sell the value proposition that it's better to be there than not be there. They can do that by seeing their rivals on Bolt's chest or Mo's chest.

These are not IAAF "limitations", these are opportunities. Samsung may not have pulled if HTC or motorola or LG were in the sport.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby Trackrunner » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:30 pm

I doubt it. The money would not have gone to other track athletes but to athletes in other sports. Walk the current crop of US track stars through Times Square and no one would recognize them. Not Sanya, not Tyson, not Allyson, not Carmelita. That I suppose is to Bolt's credit for injecting some personality into the sport. I just looked at his FB stats - he has 11+ million fans and counting. No track athlete is within breathing distance of that and only the biggest soccer and basketball stars draw larger numbers. Bolt is in the creme da la creme which is why he can command lucrative sponsorship deals.

Did not know Bolt had signed with Xfinity - not sure if it is a one off ad or something bigger.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby kamikaze7 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:27 am

Neither Bolt nor Tiger suck oxygen out of their respective sports. If anything they pump more oxygen into it. Track and field is a sport in trouble. The TV ratings for track at the last Olympics would have been even lower if not for Bolt. At the Olympics, Kobe, Lebron and other USA basketball players went to watch the 100m final mostly because of Bolt. He brought exposure to other athletes. If track is in trouble then Bolt is not the culprit.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby shivfan » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:28 pm

Well, Asafa Powell is very rich as a result of his various endorsements and appearance fees, so I don't think Bolt is sucking all the money up....

Shelly Ann Fraser and VCB are both very comfortable now too....
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby batonless relay » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:39 am

shivfan wrote:Well, Asafa Powell is very rich as a result of his various endorsements and appearance fees, so I don't think Bolt is sucking all the money up....

Shelly Ann Fraser and VCB are both very comfortable now too....

So let me get this straight: The sport CAN'T be losing public relations and sponsorship money to Bolt BECAUSE... Asafa is very rich. Oh let me not forget: Shelley Ann Fraser and VCB are comfortable, too. Then I guess that settles it. :roll:
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:13 am

And none of AP's financial stuff came before the OGs in 2008 because he depended on Bolt for the limelight?
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby ZELLGADISS » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:11 pm

It is very sure, since Bolt is in big level, track and field is in TV and media a lot of more that in the past.
Bolt is the best for track and field without doubt.

The problem is that the others athletes are very far of him, so they dont get attention...
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby Ned Ryerson » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:45 pm

kamikaze7 wrote:Neither Bolt nor Tiger suck oxygen out of their respective sports. If anything they pump more oxygen into it. Track and field is a sport in trouble. The TV ratings for track at the last Olympics would have been even lower if not for Bolt. At the Olympics, Kobe, Lebron and other USA basketball players went to watch the 100m final mostly because of Bolt. He brought exposure to other athletes. If track is in trouble then Bolt is not the culprit.


How many of Tiger's competitions pay him appearance money? Tiger gets money from sponsors that may or may not go to another golfer. But I believe he's competing for the same prize money as everyone else this weekend.

Speaking of that, there's $8 million on the line this weekend at The Masters, to be cut between 50 competitors. I think the World Championships has around $7 million in prize money for over 200 placers.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby 18.99s » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:46 pm

Appearance fees are sucking the money and air out of athletics. Bolt is just a symptom, not the cause.

Want to stop that sucking sound? Ban appearance fees, like what the PGA tour does. Put that cash into increasing the prize money.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby JRM » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:47 pm

18.99s wrote:Appearance fees are sucking the money and air out of athletics. Bolt is just a symptom, not the cause.

Want to stop that sucking sound? Ban appearance fees, like what the PGA tour does. Put that cash into increasing the prize money.


Exactly. That will get rid of the "joggers," and give the fans something genuinely exciting to watch.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby gh » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:57 am

kamikaze7 wrote:Neither Bolt nor Tiger suck oxygen out of their respective sports. If anything they pump more oxygen into it. Track and field is a sport in trouble. The TV ratings for track at the last Olympics would have been even lower if not for Bolt. At the Olympics, Kobe, Lebron and other USA basketball players went to watch the 100m final mostly because of Bolt. He brought exposure to other athletes. If track is in trouble then Bolt is not the culprit.


Comparisons between Bolt and Woods are bit of apples & oranges. With Tiger you get a guy who competes in twice as many events as Bolt does, and is always guaranteed to play in the 4 majors.

For track's "big 2" Bolt did run both Zürich and Brussels last year, but ran only Brussels in '11 and ran in neither in '10. That's not pumping oxygen into the sport.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby Ned Ryerson » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:12 pm

18.99s wrote:Appearance fees are sucking the money and air out of athletics. Bolt is just a symptom, not the cause.

Want to stop that sucking sound? Ban appearance fees, like what the PGA tour does. Put that cash into increasing the prize money.


Appearance fees are the reason you are going to watch an absolutely stacked field compete on Sunday in London.

But to address your points:

1. How could you possibly enforce it?

2. If the money that goes into appearance fees went to prize money, you're looking at what, $20,000 for first place at a Diamond League meet instead of $10,000? That's such a massive paycut for the likes of Bolt and those just below him, that he's better off skipping your league and sticking to non-sanctioned exhibitions (because unlike golf, people will pay to watch a man basically display his superhuman talent solo).

3. How do you guarantee who will come without guaranteeing them compensation? If there's no more appearance fees in our sport, I may plan on competing at the Boston Marathon, but may switch to London at the last minute if I feel I need the extra week. How is the event supposed to promote who will be competing if the major stars aren't financially tied to the event?

4. Even if you managed by some miracle to get six figures for first place, wouldn't your top stars insist that they face nill competition to assure that they're not leaving empty handed? What sense does it make to run against your top competitors for no guaranteed money, while a one-off exhibition like we saw in Rio last month will offer a huge sum for facing lackluster competition?

5. Events like the Masters probably attract top competition (though it is a combination of invitation and qualification) because first place is nearly $1.5 million and I think even last place gets a five figure payday. That's $8 million split between 50 competitors, while Diamond League meets have just inside $500,000 in prize money for 150-200 competitors.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:54 pm

Ned Ryerson wrote:5. Events like the Masters probably attract top competition (though it is a combination of invitation and qualification) because first place is nearly $1.5 million and I think even last place gets a five figure payday. That's $8 million split between 50 competitors, while Diamond League meets have just inside $500,000 in prize money for 150-200 competitors.



bambam would be the authority here, but the value of winning the Masters goes well beyond the winners purse; it may almost dwarf the winners purse over the lifetime of the athlete.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby Ned Ryerson » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:48 am

26mi235 wrote:
Ned Ryerson wrote:5. Events like the Masters probably attract top competition (though it is a combination of invitation and qualification) because first place is nearly $1.5 million and I think even last place gets a five figure payday. That's $8 million split between 50 competitors, while Diamond League meets have just inside $500,000 in prize money for 150-200 competitors.



bambam would be the authority here, but the value of winning the Masters goes well beyond the winners purse; it may almost dwarf the winners purse over the lifetime of the athlete.


I don't disagree. The point is there is such a financial incentive for winning that it's worth risking going home empty headed. Not unlike the Olympics in that respect.
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Re: Bolt sucking the money and air out of Athletics?

Postby eldanielfire » Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:31 am

On the front page a day or so ago was this good article explaining why if Bolt was paid less to stack the fields more it would actually mean less money for smaller competitors:

http://www.trackalerts.com/news/lead-st ... -athletics

A key point, just having Bolt to fill up a stadium is more likely to add paying people and frees up more cases for stronger other events. Most athletes don't get appearance fees, but performance money so if Bolt sells those seats by themselves so there is more money for everybody else at the end. Also the reduction in BIG head to heads mean there is more excitement for the Olympic and World championships final, more viewers and there more sponsor money takes an interest.
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