Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stagnating Purses

One of the more remarkable things in competitive curling, to me, at least, is that the size of purses has been relatively stagnant even from those days so many moons ago when I used to curl for dollars.
With the exception of the Grand Slams, most of the “big” events on the World Curling Tour (oops, sorry, the Asham World Curling Tour) offer up an average purse somewhere between $30,000 to $50,000.
There are some exceptions such as the Cactus Pheasant at 70K, but if purses have grown, it hasn’t been at a rate consistent with the profile of the sport.
One of the main reasons, of course, is the difficulty in attracting sponsors. Curling sponsors are rare beasts, in spite of the fact that those that take a solid stance often report good results in getting support from curlers. Curlers are definitely loyal beasts.
Most curling sponsors get involved because the guy/gal controlling the dollars is a curling fan, not always because it makes good business sense. That’s not always the case, but it does seem to happen more often than not.
Why is that? Because in many cases, local bonspiels are run by volunteers who aren’t pros at selling sponsorships. It’s easier to hit up Bill at the Garage down the street than Fred at the Car Dealership because Bill is a curler. In many cases, Fred doesn’t even get a proposal.
It’s tough for local spiels to justify to a company such as Fred’s why it should put up $20,000. Is there a return on the investment? There can be, but trying to convince people of that is a difficult task if you're a curler talking to a non-curler.


Patrick said...

So my take on the problem you present is that the WCT would work with WCT event organizers to provide more "professional" marketing within the region and on a wider scope.

However, this would obviously cost money, would this come as a surcharge to participating teams?

coppercanuck said...

Patrick, there is already a surcharge on the players in each event. I agree that the WCT needs to give back to the events that have made the WCT what it is today. Making an event more professional is a start. Pick any aspect of the event ... sponsorship, format, media coverage or venue standards.

PattyMac said...

Prize money has not grown in 20 years. In fact in alot of cases it is less. Back in the 90's the Kelowna Cash Spiel wa $16,000 first prize..now you are hard pressed to find one over $10,000. Granted there are more spiels to play every week, but the prize money has not grown. In regars to Slams...There was the World Open back in the early 80's that had $25,000 first prize..in the 60's and 70's there were car spiels...now there is none of those. In other sports such as golf and tennis, there are playing for 50x the amount they were playing for 20 years ago. This tells me curling does have stagnant purses..and has not grown as much as the competitive curlers would like to think. Rick Folk just won $10,000 on the weekend..he won $10,000 for the same type of event in 1980...money was worth more then too....