Would the Sport Suffer If There Were No Cash Winnings?

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Wesley Tucker
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Would the Sport Suffer If There Were No Cash Winnings?

Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:43 am

What is the obsession with making sure three skaters out of sixty split $450?

Would it be easier on race organizers if all the money was budgeted toward making it a better event for every PAID participant instead of always thinking it's imperative to set aside a large portion of a small amount of money for a cash pot?

How many racers today would quit traveling if there were no chance to win enough to cover two nights in a motel room?

Why is it race promoters responsibility to create a pro class instead of manufacturers? If manufacturers want pros then shouldn't they pay their team?*

Is the sport really served well by having 30 or 40 open racers coming up with the bulk of the money so two or three racers can take it home?

Someone explain how the sport benefits after SIX YEARS of trying to develop a real pro class that it is now a better experience?

Does Slalom Skateboard racing benefit by having a "pro class" as opposed to a more equitable "A" and "B" racing system?

Is it really in the sport's best interest for the pro class to be so small that some guys race pro just so they know they'll qualify because the field is so small while open racers who are faster battle it out to qualify?

*I know. Slalom manufacturers are too small to support pros. But race organizers and race participants are different and they can afford it?
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Would the sport thrive and grow with big cash prizes?

Post by Pat Chewning » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:03 am

I turned the question around:

Instead of "Would the Sport Suffer If There Were No Cash Winnings?", I ask "Would the sport thrive and grow with big cash prizes?"

I think the answer is yes, it would be better. Bigger cash prizes probably mean more operating capital for the race organizer to:
A) Rent bigger and better venues.
B) Arrange for TV and other media
C) Hire scantily-clad young coneheads
D) Big screen display of times, replay of runs, interviews, etc.
---- ETC

What does this have to do with the rules though?

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:12 am

Because the ISSA maintains the World Ranking and its rules.

The World Ranking recognizes a PRO and OPEN class.

Is this mandatory?

AND

Your question requires race promoters ACQUIRING large amounts of cash to create the prizes.

My question means race promoters can cross off something on their long list of things to do.

Which of the two is more realistic and more workable?
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Post by Pat Chewning » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:21 am

Wesley Tucker wrote:
Your question requires race promoters ACQUIRING large amounts of cash to create the prizes.

My question means race promoters can cross off something on their long list of things to do.

Which of the two is more realistic and more workable?
My question ALLOWS race promoters to aquire large amounts of cash to put on bigger/better races.

Your question ALLOWS race promoters to ignore going after cash prizes.

The ISSA rules, and maintaining a PRO and AM class, allow race promoters either option. So I see no conflict.

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Post by Erik Basil » Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:04 am

Maybe you should combine this thread with the Very Similar but slightly different thread about "Swag at Races".
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:05 am

There is another aspect also.

With the current system race organizers have a choice:

Have declared pro qualifying and seperate open qualifying.

OR

Qualify everybody into "A", "B" and possible additonal brackets.

Eliminating "pro" racers makes everything more competitive. No more really fast open guys not racing other fast guys and really slow Pro guys getting into the brackets just because they are a pro and only seven others showed up.

It's a matter of consistency.

The catch phrase seems to be "making the racing as competitive as possible." So eliminating "set aside" pro racing means the brackets are more competitive and the racing is more equitable. EVERYONE who races is in the brackets by qualifying successfully.

The theory behind all pro and open categories is that a "pro" is paid to perform and thus can allocate many more hours a day to practice. This allows the pro to have an obvious advantage over the open performer who practices when a real job and obligations allow.

How many pro slalom skateboarders fit this description?
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Post by Jani Soderhall » Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:40 am

Erik Basil wrote:Maybe you should combine this thread with the Very Similar but slightly different thread about "Swag at Races".
No, these are really two different topics, let's not mix them.

/Jani

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:46 am

I think it is important to have Pro money. It's not enough what we have today, but it already having an effect. That is 100% sure. Just take Janis, you would not have seen him at the Worlds 2007 if it wasn't for the money he earned earlier this summer. It really made a difference for him. And he is now the Tight Slalom World Champion!

For me the motivation to keep the Pro money (and increase the amount if possible) is to make it possible for the Pro racers to go to more events. If there is no pro money, they'll choose to go to 2 or 3 events in a year. If they know they can earn some money on some or all of the events, they can make it to more of them. THAT is important for the sport.

As an organizer I also accept this view and I will increase the amount at the races where I can influence it to encourage more Pro racers (or at least more among the top guys) to come to these specific events.

(Don't even mention A and B groups to me. To me that's something I'd only encourage in really small local races).

/Jani

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Can't you have BOTH? (A/B groups, AND big cash prizes?)

Post by Pat Chewning » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:30 am

Assuming you can get sponsors or other sources of money for BIG CASH PRIZES, why couldn't you have PRO and AM's racing together in one OPEN group? -- A group that will go into the "A" and "B" brackets depending on qualifying times?


I don't see a conflict with:

RACERS declaring themselves PRO or AM
ORGANIZERS deciding to run an OPEN group with "A" "B" brackets.
ORGANIZERS seeking big cash prizes for the top finishers.

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Post by Ramón Königshausen » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:22 pm

This summer I didn't have to spend much on travelling because most journeys I could pay with the money I won. I don't think that I would have travelled to so many locations if I hadn't been winning any prize money.

At this point I'd like to thank all race organizers and their sponsors.
"Travelling broadens my mind!"

And talking about money, I think especially for Juniors there should be no, or only a small entry fee. It often scares them away from the first time to participate.

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Re: Can't you have BOTH? (A/B groups, AND big cash prizes

Post by Ramón Königshausen » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:27 pm

Pat Chewning wrote:Assuming you can get sponsors or other sources of money for BIG CASH PRIZES, why couldn't you have PRO and AM's racing together in one OPEN group? -- A group that will go into the "A" and "B" brackets depending on qualifying times?


I don't see a conflict with:

RACERS declaring themselves PRO or AM
ORGANIZERS deciding to run an OPEN group with "A" "B" brackets.
ORGANIZERS seeking big cash prizes for the top finishers.
That brings up the same old problem: Not everyone is able to do a "Pro Tight Slalom". I can't support that idea, sorry.

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Post by HUYNH BACH SAC Frédéric » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:31 pm

As an Am "racer", I agree for bigger cash prizes but NOT to increase the entry fees !!!

I am for A, B brackets...
Podium or pavement... but PAVEL !

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Post by Pierre Gravel » Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:48 pm

I posted something in "the Decline.." maybe it was not in the right topic but i totally agree with getting rid of pro/am classes until the sport can actually support pro racers.

There should be qualifications on a temporary course (maybe a mix of pro type course and am in the level of difficulty) and then separate the fastest racers in 2 groups. The course difficulty problem would be eliminated by having 2 different course for A and B racers after the qualifs.
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Post by Hans Koraeus » Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:28 am

Don't mix cash with Pro/Am. It's two different things on the slalom scene right now.

- Cash you can choose to have or not depending on the economy/sponsors you have for an event.

- Pro/Am is to be able to set up approriate courses for two different skill levels

- Pro and Am is today only a name for Group A (more skilled) and Group B (less skilled). It's not "PRO - You live on it". Just "PRO - more skilled racers".

- Today it's a free choice which group you want to enter. But once you are (among) the top guys in the Am for a year then the general opinion is to move up to the Pro Group. And once in the Pro group you normally don't move down to Am again.

- In the future when the Pro group becomes too big we will have some points to discuss.
1. Seperate events for PRO and Social (Am)
2. The need of a system to tell who is pro or not. I.e. who is allowed to enter the PRO events. This is normal in most sports. You just can't come to a pro event and say you want to enter. Even though there might be some way maybe to be able to qualify for the event the day before.
3. The pro group on a pro circuit might have a limited number of Pros who has first take on the places in the pro events. The rest (top ams) can qualify if any places are left over. Each year there is a qualification with the lower part of the Pros and the top part of the ams. Some Pros may drop out of the pro group. And some new ams might take their place to become Pro members.

But all this is too early yet. Maybe the day when slalom gets a big sponsor to support a pro circuit with big prize money. That's the day when we will be in the situation of who can enter those events beacuse they would mean a limited field for sure.

The idea with higher entry fee for Pros is that their sponsors pay their entry fees. I.e. Manufacturers/Sponsors pay the cash money. Half pro fee goes to the event organizers (same fee as the open group). The other half of the pro fee goes to the cash pot. That very well could be added with more money from event sponsors of course.

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Post by Erik Basil » Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:36 pm

I think that cash awards are very important to the public perception of slalom racing (as with all skateboard racing). Cash speaks volumes more than product, is more attractive to spectators and obviates issues with sponsored skaters winning gear they "can't use". Cash from the entry fees isn't enough: it has to come from sponsors of some kind.

The thing to remember is that most "sponsors" are small companies that have an easier time giving (for example) $100 Worth of gear than they do an actual $100, when that gear really costs them $50 and it gets into the hands of racers (even if that racer is "sponsored" or uses a different product and never rides the prize). So, understanding that, we have an issue to overcome: ensuring sponsors perceive a benefit to handing over cash instead of hardware they hope to see waived around.

Of course, coverage before and after events has a lot to do with "return on investment" for event sponsors, and ads in magazines cost money. Ads on skateboard websites and race reports cost only time and courtesy, but even those can be tough to take care of: someone has to have the discipline to concoct and present the promotion in advance. Then, if it's going to have some return, ie be viewed by people that aren't already fully aware of the product/company/support, you've got to find a place for that, too.

Somebody's going to figure out that I think one such place for that is Silverfish, and that's right: one of the primary reasons that site offers time, money and effort to promote events for others is that we know an audience outside "the core" is necessary for niche sports to grow. There are a few other sites --multidisciplinary sites-- that also attract internet viewers outside the core, and it's repeated exposure to both the existence and the professionally organized/sponsored events that generates new skaters at events, new customers and a return on investment for sponsors. This means advance promotion other than posts in forums, race reports after the events and visual media: photos and video presented somewhere outside of forums.

Our longstanding offer to promote events on the Silverfish Longboarding.com and with our "Fish Report page in Concrete Wave has been very effective for some, but may also be the topic for an excellent illustration of how far slalom (in this case) has to go: how many events go down in anonymity because of a reluctance to reach out to skaters that aren't "core" (or to be seen doing so), or an inability to get pre/post event coverage together? Outside of the hardcore slalom sponsors (who will toss down schwag on principle), what is the incentive for others to toss down cash? Charity?

Now, I fully realize that someone's ox is hereby gored. My point is that, if we want cash sponsors for slalom events, it's going to be up to the Event Promoters to demonstrate --in advance-- that such sponsorship will result in perceived ROI for the sponsors. Where we have been able to secure CASH sponsorship for events we help promote, it always requires this. Whether you find that magic mixture using free help from Silverfish is irrelevant: that' a mechanism, not a result. The issue is that it needs to be done somewhere, somehow before sponsors line up with checkbooks in hand. Well, sponsors other than those that happen to be the event promoter, too.

As for magazine coverage, that's hard to justify sometimes: is there editorial value to stories covering an event that hasn't happened yet? I think the answer is, generally, no. That's what ads are for, and those cost money. Some large speedboard events have paid for ads in advance, but I think that's pretty rare.

After the fact, race coverage is cool! But, it's harder to get written up well than you may think and isn't what a lot of people want to read about. Who here has written, or paid someone to write up, race coverage after an event? If you have, then you know what I'm talking about here. If you haven't, you either know why it was too hard for you, or maybe you never even thought about "finishing the event" for the benefit of the sponsors and racers. I know this for sure: each and every time Concrete Wave runs coverage of slalom races, certain advertisers scream "Foul!!" and adamantly maintain that the type of photos and reportage our sport is able to come up with is interesting to only a very few -- we need to be smart enough to see some truth in this, even if we disagree. (BTW, this occurs with coverage of speed events, too. Don't argue the situation, work it.)

I can list a few events in 2007 and 2008 where actual hard cash, other than that pulled from registration fees, came from sponsors and wound up on podiums or will do so. A few of those situations are due to hardcore fanatics that sponsor, but the others are due to the sponsors' perception that there will be a Return on Investment via coverage and PR. If we want more of that for slalom, I feel like it's up to us to make it happen.
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Post by Doug Kadzban » Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:56 pm

well, correct me if i'm wrong, but i don't really see that cash prizes would greatly effect slalom skating in the short run. the only people who are good enough to be winning cash prizes have probably been around enough to know that there's not much cash to go around the slalom world. now, long-term; if there is a consistent flow of cash prizes for more than a season or two, it might draw more people into competition for the sheer fact that they MIGHT make a buck or two.
i know a lot of people (myself included) don't have the expendable funds to go to race after race after race, and that cash prizes for making the podium would greatly help that. BUT this isn't always realistic for the sponsors...like basil said, it's often easier for sponsors to give away $100 worth of equipment than $100 in cash.
i DO think that cash prizes will be the norm in the future, but the sport of slalom has to keep growing first. but first, i think the slalom community has to try to go OUTSIDE of skateboarding to get more "popular" sponsors, i.e. redbull, mtn dew, etc.

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Post by Erik Basil » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:24 pm

In my experience dealing with "outside" sponsors, they're more impressed by events that have cash awards at them than product handouts. I totally dig the product handouts, and haven't suggested we do away with them (particularly at events with junior or entry-level classes). However, I continue to maintain that the events with the most PR value must have cash awards rather than just some swank gear to the winners.
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pro's mean professional...means getting paid.

Post by John Gilmour » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:19 am

Think of it this way. Professional purses are the scholarship fund for top racers that allow them to continue their slalom education.

You need to cover the cost of racing for the top guys. This ensures that they feel no ill affects financially of excessively touring. They also have something to show the wife that can make her stop complaining about racing all the time when he wins enough cash to take her out to dinner more.

I WISH I could say this was true for the husbands of women racers.. but we don't have enough "Women's Purses" in slalom. Instead we have Murses (Man purses)...lol...

Schwag is not enough to compensate a pro racer to continue to race- particularly if he gets free product anyhow...and the worse situation is the pro selling his prize at a contest to cover his travel. We can't have that.

I also think it is important that if a promoter wants to make sure he gets top racers to show up for his TV coverage of an event...and he wants to ensure he can get skills to be showcased that are mind blowing for his audience he can just offer prize money.
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Post by Vincent Berruchon » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:36 pm

John pointed good things here very well (as often ;) )

So it's also a good thing when not only 3 racers can have prize money. Overall ten first is not bad for example, event if the tenth just get his entry fees back.
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Re: pro's mean professional...means getting paid.

Post by Wesley Tucker » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:43 pm

John Gilmour wrote:You need to cover the cost of racing for the top guys. This ensures that they feel no ill affects financially of excessively touring. They also have something to show the wife that can make her stop complaining about racing all the time when he wins enough cash to take her out to dinner more.
And what makes them so special compared to the open guy paying his own way? And the fact there are many open racers faster than pros really makes this argument self serving and not serving the sport as a whole.
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Duh!

Post by Claude Regnier » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:04 pm

Tucker wrote: "And the fact there are many open racers faster than pros really makes this argument self serving and not serving the sport as a whole."

Yes, sometimes that happens. Are those Pro's getting any money for finish! Are the Ams?

When the Ams are ready they move up depending on personal surroundings and drive they may even do well initiially in the Pro division. Unless they are dedicated they likely will not fair very well for the first while.

For some reason Slalom racing is not just about speed. John nice to see you posting again. Hope your settled in, in your new digs.
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Post by Michael Stride » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:10 pm

Ok, ideal time to ask opinions.

the Cadwell race has two disciplines, GS and Dual.

We have a 300 Euro prize fund.

How best to distribute it?

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Racers Input!

Post by Claude Regnier » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:13 pm

Mike as it is your event it's your choice. Since your asking, I will suggest you ask the riders attending your event.

Maybe 1,2,3 split for each event this way more of them have a chance at the pot. Or you could tell them you are giving away any and buy me a ticket :)

Have fun, EH!
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Post by Michael Stride » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:28 pm

Mike as it is your event it's your choice.
yeah....you'd think.....grrrrrr

Funny what whining you hear about from people who cant/wont direct their comments to the ORGANISER

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Post by Pat Chewning » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:04 am

Michael Stride wrote:Ok, ideal time to ask opinions.

the Cadwell race has two disciplines, GS and Dual.

We have a 300 Euro prize fund.

How best to distribute it?
Since 300 Euro is not that much, I suggest 150 for the winner of the GS, 150 for the winner of the Dual.

If you start spreading the 150 down into places lower than 1st place, it becomes a pretty small token amount pretty quickly....

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Post by Vincent Berruchon » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:40 am

or make it on the overall results so the same racer won't get everything - I think it's more fair
but It's easier with bigger amount
anyway here are two possible distributions:
Overall
1st: 150 - or 200
2nd: 100 - or 75
3rd: 50 - or 25

Wesley Tucker wrote:
John Gilmour wrote:You need to cover the cost of racing for the top guys. This ensures that they feel no ill affects financially of excessively touring. They also have something to show the wife that can make her stop complaining about racing all the time when he wins enough cash to take her out to dinner more.
And what makes them so special compared to the open guy paying his own way? And the fact there are many open racers faster than pros really makes this argument self serving and not serving the sport as a whole.
Hum you seems to interpret what John said in a way "pay the trip for top guys to make them come and participate (the ones you'd choose before the contests)", why not but that's really something else
I think he was only speaking about prizes distributed regarding to the results, so no one can be sure to win the pot, it's still a big challenge and most racers knows they should not come for that only, it's only bonus
but the thing is that when you won money, you won't think too much for the next event about the fact that perhaps is not reasonable to go: you just go!
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hmm the posting box looks different today...

Post by John Gilmour » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:13 am

Odd... wonder if anyone else sees a change..

Anyhow... The money goes to the fastest Pros. If you are worried about slower pros just showing up to collect....

Then have it as an open.

The fastest racers get the money because you have to be fastest to win. It is not a fund to give people to go... taht would be an invitational where all travel expenses, fees, and lodging are comped... like Les Jeux Pereneens where over 45 skaters were comped for all expenses.
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Post by Michael Stride » Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:01 am

Thanks Vincent.

Its a difficult one. Yes the money is not massive, but its 300 Euros MORE than any other UK race I can remember! I'm extremely pleased that the money offered by Pavel has not been allocated to any other costs, such as ramps and timing.

The reason why I asked for guidance is because normally at our races the 'Pros' win schwag....and more often than not they pass that down the line to the first unsponsored racer.

The feeling is that the 'Pros' are getting subsidised with equipment in the normal course of events.

I am going to have a good think about this. Its not an easy one.

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Payout

Post by Neil Orta » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:16 pm

Being a downhill event organizer I have been faced with the situation of how to divide up the purse many times, to make things easier I came up with a formula to do the math:
0.3600=108.00
0.2200= 66.00
0.1440= 42.00
0.0960= 28.80
0.0480= 14.40
0.0360= 10.80
0.0240= 7.20
0.0240= 7.20
0.0240= 7.20
0.0240= 7.20

1.0000
This is what I use when I pay back to tenth place but you get the idea and can adjust the numbers for the number of riders you wish to distribute to, usually I have had larger amounts to work with so even the lower places are higher than shown. Although the lower riders may not get a $ amount that is substantial I have seen more often than not that when it comes time for the podium and I announce that "in 10th place receiving $XX is....." they are excited and it pumps the whole crowd of racers especially if you payout for several classes. This is all based on the mind set that you are spreading the money to the masses and sometimes when we are able to get good amount to give out even the lower guy appreciates his tank of gas to get home was earned, although at todays prices the pot would have to be like four times what I have shown:)

Just my two cents

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