SBJ/April 9-15, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Park Lane to help Dyrdek’s Street League raise capital

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Rob Dyrdek’s street skateboarding property, Street League, has hired the investment bank Park Lane to assist with raising capital.

Street League, which is entering its third year, is looking to raise capital in order to enhance the series in the future, said sources familiar with the organization’s effort. It’s unclear how Street League plans to enhance the series. The group recently visited with potential investors in New York.

Street League and Park Lane officials declined to comment. Park Lane has listed Street League as a consulting client on its website.

The third season of Street League opens May 18 in Kansas City. The street skate series will visit three more markets — Ontario, Calif., Glendale, Ariz., and Newark, N.J. — over the subsequent three months.

During an interview earlier this year, Dyrdek said that the action sports events landscape in the U.S. was cluttered, but he believes that Street League was in a strong position because it features the top street skaters, who are contractually committed to the series. He added that moving forward he is focused on building more awareness for the series through shoulder programming and doing licensing deals that boost revenue.

“At some point, there will be a tipping point, and people will be vested in seeing their favorite skater,” said Dyrdek, who started the series in 2010 with his own money.

Street League drew 15,000 spectators and garnered a 0.3 Nielsen rating and 413,000 viewers during tape-delayed coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 in 2010. Attendance increased to 48,000 in 2011, but the tour's ratings and viewership fell to a 0.2 Nielsen rating and 298,000 viewers.

Despite seeing a decrease in ratings and viewership after moving to live broadcasts, Dyrdek said during an interview earlier this year that he is committed to live broadcasts.

“The only way to be truly successful is to be live and draw an audience,” he said. “That will come with time.”

The series has tried to boost interest this year by developing a competition called The Selection where fans, judges and pros will pick six new skaters to join Street League.

Dyrdek created the series with support from two of his biggest sponsors, DC Shoes and Monster Energy. He was fresh off accumulating widespread fame for his MTV reality shows “Rob and Big” and “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” and wanted to design a league for street skaters who often skipped other competitions like the Dew Tour, Maloof Money Cup and the X Games. He developed an instant-scoring system for tricks that he hoped would make the sport more engaging for spectators and TV viewers.

“I want to prove that people will tune in and watch skateboarding,” Dyrdek said when he launched the series. “The Maloofs and Dew Tour, they’re not doing it. That’s my goal.”


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