SBJ/November 5-11, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

USSA wants fans looking into ‘Snow Globe,’ events on YouTube

The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association has partnered with YouTube to launch its own channel, where it will offer live event coverage and a weekly highlight and lifestyle show.

USSA will brand the channel USSA Network and upload six to 12 videos weekly to provide an hour of original content. It joins USA Wrestling, USA Gymnastics and other national governing bodies in striking a formal agreement with YouTube.

The deal allows USSA to protect 10 sponsorship categories. YouTube’s sales team will sell ads on USSA Network and split revenue evenly with the national governing body. YouTube won’t cover any of USSA’s production costs, which are estimated to be in the low six figures.

“We wanted to retain a little more freedom, and therefore got a higher revenue share and more promotional inventory,” said Michael Jaquet, USSA’s chief marketer. “Eventually, once we get this thing going and YouTube sees the value of it and sees us pumping away content and drawing fans, I believe they’ll be opportunistic from a production budget standpoint.”

The channel will debut Nov. 14. It will feature a weekly highlight and lifestyle show called “Snow Globe.” The show will offer a roundup of results and athlete interviews from the U.S. ski, snowboard, freeskiing, freestyle and other teams. It also will offer behind-the-scenes footage of athletes and address issues the ski industry and fans are talking about. It will be produced by Echo Entertainment.

“If our show becomes successful every Wednesday [when it airs], is there a reason to do another show every Monday or every Friday?” said Jaquet, who previously worked at CBS Sports Network. “With my cable background, I totally see the viability of us programming that YouTube channel with multiple shows that get our content out there.”

USSA also plans to air 10 events live on the channel. The biggest event will be the Super G competition broadcast on Dec. 1 from the Audi Birds of Prey. The live coverage of that event and others will feature announcers and a graphics package.

Powder, Snowboarder, Ski and other endemic magazines have agreed to embed a USSA Network YouTube player on their websites, which Jaquet hopes will drive traffic to the channel. In addition to finding the channel on those websites, people can search on YouTube.com or visit it directly at YouTube.com/ussanetwork.

“If we can get the hard-core fan to be psyched on what we’re doing, it will grow from there,” Jaquet said.

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