SBJ/October 22 - 28, 2007/This Weeks News

Indie cred: Team-less Bode adds 3 sponsors

Since leaving the U.S. Ski Team on May 12, Bode Miller has collected three new sponsors that have collectively committed more than $1 million over the next three years.

Miller will still wear the U.S. ski suit,
so only helmet sponsor Superfund
will be seen in races.

New agreements with KJUS, a high-end skiwear company, World Championship Sports Network and Go Fast energy drink will help Miller offset roughly $300,000 in annual expenses he will now pay out of his own pocket for coaches, travel and lodging.

“The bottom line is he came out of May 12 ahead,” said CAA Sports agent Lowell Taub, who represents Miller. “We had a very productive summer.”

As an independent racer this season, Miller will attempt something no skier of his caliber has ever tried, and professional alpine racers around the world are watching his efforts. He has hired his own staff, which includes three coaches who formerly worked with the U.S. Ski Team. He also expects two young skiers to join his team and train with him.

“This is an individual sport and if Bode goes out there and does well on his own, there’s an opportunity that others may follow,” Taub said. “It’s a maverick movement, and time will tell if they can get to a factory model like F1 racing.”

Miller’s new sponsors said his status as an independent racer was a major factor in their decision to endorse him this season.

Bode Miller’s
sponsor portfolio
• Go Fast
• Head
• Nike
• Rico
• Sportskool
• Superfund
Source: CAA

“You’ll see a ton of attention around him being independent, especially if he performs as planned,” said Troy Widgery, founder of Go Fast. “We’ll definitely benefit from that.”

Though independent of the U.S. Ski Team, Miller will wear the team’s Spyder race suit in competition because he still competes under the umbrella of the U.S. sanctioning body. Only his helmet sponsor, Superfund, will get exposure on the slopes.

Critics argued that those rules would hurt his ability to add more sponsors, but Taub and Miller plan to work around them.

When Miller is outside official International Ski Federation areas, which include the course, podium and media corral, he will wear a “Team Bode” jacket designed by KJUS featuring patches from his sponsors — WCSN, Go Fast, Superfund and, an online social-networking community for skiers.

Miller also will conduct postrace interviews outside the media corral where he will be able to wear his KJUS suit featuring his new sponsors.

“As an independent racer,” Taub said, “Bode, more than any other FIS competitor, can provide value directly to his own partners that for other racers is controlled by their national governing bodies.”

The men’s World Cup season begins Oct. 28 with a giant slalom in Austria.

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