The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Colbert and Olympic Sport

Stephen Colbert appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Yes. Seriously. I am not making this up--I'm not that good with Photoshop.

He's earned such a distinction by getting his Colbert Nation to cover a $300,000 shortfall in U.S. Speedskating's budget when their main sponsor blinked out of existence.
It could... be a new funding model for the USOC and its individual governing bodies. With the pool of corporate sponsorship getting shallower in the recession, niche sports are searching for new revenue streams. Instead of relying on handouts from mammoth companies, why not appeal directly to small but passionate fan bases? Says Rob Prazmark, the CEO of 21 Marketing and an expert in Olympic sponsorships, "When Colbert did this, all of us in the business went, Why didn't we think of that?"
Would I contribute some coin to help out USATF? I already do, as a member of the organization, and don't get much for my trouble. Of course, the same thing could be said about my "memberships" in public radio and my local museum of art. In those, it's understood that my relationship with the organizations are primarily, if not exclusively, as a source of funds.

If there were a specific fund-raising campaign I'd be more inclined to do something about it. Say, for example, to get lower-level IAAF events to come to the USA. Things like the World Juniors, the Continents Cup, the World Indoor or World Cross Country, or the like. Especially if the plan was to eventually build to a World Championships.


martin said...

I think the point of Prazmark's remark isn't that we appeal to track and field's fan base, but that we appeal to another passionate fan base. For instance, U.S. Speedskating wasn't making an appeal directly to their fan base, but to the passionate fan base of the Colbert Report. If USATF can link with another (non-track) fan base, they could reach a wider audience and hopefully generate some new donors.

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