Sunday, December 28, 2008

Curling and the economy

I was asked on a radio show the other day how curling’s big events would be affected by the economic conditions of the day. To me, it’s a good news-bad news situation.
On one hand, both the Season of Champions and the Capital One Grand Slams have their title sponsors locked up for the next few years, at least through 2010. That’s good. So is the fact that there are solid television deals in place. The Season of Champions, exclusively on TSN is through 2016 (I believe), while the Slams on CBC have at least a couple more years. Again, that’s good.
Where these events, including the Trials next year, will get hammered is at the second and third tiers. The local sponsors who buy year by year, the folks who buy ticket packages such as corporate boxes, etc. They’re not locked into contracts and unless the offer is very attractive, they won’t buy. These are the sort of discretional dollars that get axed during the down times.
This line of thinking is also why the Asham World Curling Tour might be vulnerable as it depends largely on local sponsorship which doesn’t really offer much of the way in returns. Most cashspiel sponsors (not all though) put up the money not because they’re expecting notoriety or some kind of payoff, but because they’re a) curling fans or b) helping out the community. Again, that becomes tough to justify when the economy sucks.
Of course, it’s not so much a curling problem as a sports marketing problem.

No comments: