Sportsworld Media Group plc – the sports TV production, sponsorship and event marketing company – today announces plans to acquire the exclusive marketing and media rights for the Association of Surf Professionals (ASP) – the governing body of the sport – for the next five years.
A guarantee of US$12.75m over the lifetime of the contract has been given by Sportsworld to secure these rights. Surfing is the largest free sport in the world, with an estimated 10 million participants globally, and the acquisition of these media rights is therefore a significant addition to Sportsworld’s portfolio of sporting events.
Sportsworld will re-launch professional surfing as a globally competitive sport and will produce and distribute all TV programming for the ASP’s World Championship Tour. Sportsworld will also provide dedicated marketing representation for the Tour in all the main surfing markets – Australia, the US, Europe and Latin America. The agreement includes a major commitment to the development of the ASP website, asplive.com, in which Sportsworld will acquire a 20% stake.
Currently, the World Championship Tour is televised on an ad-hoc basis and broadcasting and sponsorship revenues are event-specific and very limited. By presenting the highly televisual World Championship Tour as a clear entity, Sportsworld expects to increase both revenue streams significantly through improved television production and wider distribution of surfing programming. Sportsworld currently distributes to 180 broadcasters in 110 territories, including Channel 4, Sky, CBS, Channel 7, Eurosport and Canal +.
The ASP, created in 1976, represents the leading names in surfing and runs the undisputed elite tour of the sport, the World Championship Tour, comprising 12 international events at the world’s most inspiring wave locations, at destinations including Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia and South Africa.
The Tour already attracts sponsorship from leading youth brands, including Vans, Quiksilver, O’Neill, Billabong and Ripcurl. Through increased promotion and televising of these events, Sportsworld aims to attract additional sponsorship and global media recognition for this previously under-exploited sport.
Winning the ASP contract reinforces Sportsworld’s position in the freesports market. Sportsworld has accumulated marketing and media rights to many of the world’s most prestigious freesports events and organisations, including the Professional Windsurfers Association and The Arctic Challenge snowboarding event, and holds the marketing and media rights to the youngest Olympic sport, Triathlon.
Today, the Group currently manages over 50 world-class freesports events and offers combined media and sponsorship packages to brands seeking to position themselves in these fast-growing sports which attract the valuable 18-30 age group – one of the most valuable marketing demographics. The ASP deal will bring the total number of events managed by Sportsworld to over 60.
Commenting on the contract win, Sportsworld’s Chief Executive, Geoff Brown said: ‘This proposed exclusive media and marketing partnership with the ASP will be our largest contract win to date. The addition of surfing, the original freesport, to our portfolio is consistent with our strategy of expanding further in the freesports market – an area which is increasingly attractive to viewers, broadcasters and advertisers alike.
‘The combination of unbelievable locations and the best surfing in the world will produce a TV product highly valuable to broadcasters targeting the 18-30 demographic.
‘The ASP is the governing body of professional surfing. We will bring both marketing know-how and most importantly television production and distribution resources to the sport, which in turn will attract significant viewing figures, and broadcasting and sponsorship revenues.
‘The purchase of these surfing rights will make us the leading media owner and promoter of freesports in the world. The ASP contract will be a significant move in terms of our organic growth.’
Wayne Bartholomew, President of the ASP, said: ‘Sportsworld is unlike other companies. They understand surfing and their TV production combined with their distribution network will take surfing to a new dimension.’
Bernhard Ritzer, Sponsorship Manager, O’Neill Europe, said: ‘You should never underestimate how much the popularity of major surf brands depends on the sport being showcased well. We believe that combining ASP with Sportsworld will benefit the industry as a whole.’
For Further Information Please Contact:
Chief Executive Sportsworld Media Group plc
Tel: 020 7240 9626
Director SSM Freesports
Tel: 020 8785 0851