SBD/January 19, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Going A Little Too Far? Extreme Sports Can Bring Risks For Sponsors

Extreme sports such as ice climbing and base jumping, a "one-time bit player on the scene ... has exploded in recent years, thanks in part to social media and TV coverage,” according to CBS' Jeff Glor. Sponsorships also have “helped these athletes reach new heights,” with base jumper Jeb Corliss having eight sponsors, including camera company GoPro. GoPro Owner Nick Woodman said, “What he does is really risky, but to him it’s actually not nearly as risky as you or I would think because he’s so good at it.” However, Glor noted Corliss and freeskier Sarah Burke have suffered serious injuries lately, while ice climber John Roberts recently died. PR consultant Joe Favorito said, “A lot of big brands -- rightly so -- don’t want to take that chance. You don’t want to see blood spattered all over a logo that you’ve invested billions and billions of dollars in.” Favorito said what “they’re trying to do is offset cost and take it to another level as a ‘professional athlete.’" Favorito: "People think when you’re associated with sponsors, that makes you a professional. Sometimes it makes you a little bit more risky.” After the taped report, base jumper J.T. Holmes appeared in-studio and said he was “really anti-regulating things” when asked if extreme sports should be regulated and have sponsors. Holmes: “What I’d like to see is more of an awareness for the fundamentals and the basics training” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 1/18).
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