SBJ/Oct. 21-27, 2013/Media

Surfing group catches a wave of media deals for 26 events

Association of Surfing Professionals International signed its first media deals for all 26 of its major events with YouTube, ESPN and Facebook.

The deal with YouTube will see ASP launch its own channel and stream all 26 events live worldwide for the first time. ASP and YouTube work together on advertising and sponsorship sales, and they will share revenue from the channel. The live YouTube coverage will be complemented in the U.S. by TV coverage from ESPN, which signed a three-year deal to be the exclusive broadcaster of 26 recap shows following all of the ASP’s events.

YouTube will carry live coverage of ASP events.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Financial terms of the ESPN deal were not available.

To help drive viewers to both YouTube and ESPN, ASP signed a partnership with Facebook and Instagram, which will serve up videos, photos and other content to surfing fans. ASP has developed a digital service to notify fans when live coverage is available on its YouTube channel and when their favorite surfers are riding, and Facebook will help it deliver that information to them.

“We think we got the absolute best partners to launch our new global sports league,” said Michael Lynch, ASP chief marketing and revenue officer. “We felt they were the right partners to lead us forward into the future of surfing. For the fans, this is nirvana because they will see surfing go mainstream on linear television and have one global, digital home to go to for live surfing content.”

Production for both YouTube and ESPN will be provided by ASP, which has been building its own broadcast and production team to cover its events in 2014.

ASP is offering the first consolidated media rights package for all its events for the first time. In the past, surfing competitions sold media rights independently, but ZoSea Media, led by surfing agent Terry Hardy and ASP Chief Executive Paul Speaker, bought the tour last year and consolidated the rights into a single package covering all 26 of ASP’s major women’s, men’s and big wave events.

ASP is now selling TV rights in other key markets outside the U.S., including Australia, Brazil, France and Portugal. It hopes to be on TV in more than 100 countries worldwide before the start of the 2014 season, Lynch said.

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