10 October, 2012 10 October, 2012

The World Tour Shake-Up: Breaking Down The Door 2.0

Late last week and without much fanfare the ASP announced their term sheet deal  with media company ZoSea. While the 2012 ASP World Tour will still be run to its conclusion in the short term by the ASP, when the deal gets finalised before December 17, ZoSea media will receive majority control over the ASP World Tour.

Here’s where things get more interesting – ZoSea media is co-founded by Terry Hardy, who is Kelly Slater’s manager and backer of 2009’s Rebel Tour which never got off the ground. Adding to this is the newly created position that will be instated in 2014, that of ‘Commissioner of the ASP’, which according to reports will most likely be “filled by an ex-professional surfer in good standing with both the surfers and the industry.” This all-important person will oversee all technical aspects of the sport: judging, event locations, structures, schedules and so on.

Sound like the ideal position for KSlater to fill when he wins another world title and chooses to hang up his leash?

Either way the world tour is in for a shakeup and things are going to get interesting. Hardy knows his way around the corporate web (he’s managed to get the Dalai Lama to attend one of his gigs), and a surfer like Slater looking out for the surfer’s interests may usher in a whole new era in professional surfing. Breaking Down The Door 2.0 in a sense.

Although further details are still relatively unknown (the term sheet deal was reportedly reached without a solid business plan), the finalised plan will be completed before the proposed date when the takeover deal is to be signed.

Here are a few more details that have been reported about the deal:
• ZoSea personnel will make up the majority of the new ASP board, and there will be an equal number of surfer and event reps also on this board.
• The 2014 season will see a ‘Commissioner of the ASP’ instated. This all-important person will oversee all technical aspects of the sport: judging, event locations, structures, schedules, etc. The Commissioner will be voted upon by the surfers.
• A Special Committee, made up of the Commissioner, ASP Surfer Board Member and ASP Brand Member will be formed to handle directional issues for the sport.
• All qualifying events (Prime and Star) currently scheduled for 2013 will remain in tact unless altered by this Special Committee.
• Good news for the Dream Tour surfers is that prize money will be increased come the start of the 2014 season to a minimum US$500,000 for men’s events (up from $425,000). The big winners, though, will be the women, with a minimum prize-money increase from $110,00 to $250,000.
• A pension fund for world tour surfers will be instated for the first time in the history of professional surfing. This will offer professional surfers who choose to dedicate a large portion of their lives to chasing world titles the financial security they were never afforded before (Emslie would have cashed a big cheque).
• Current event sponsors have been given first right of refusal for their existing events. Only if they drop out will these events be offered up to other sponsors.
• The 2013 tour is not looking likely to change noticeably, but there are a couple of new events reportedly under negotiation and a couple more potential drop-offs.

* photo is fictional. Although Kelly and the Dalai Lama have met before at a benefit gig organised by Terry Hardy.

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