Nothing recedes like success…
According to a WSL insider who spoke with BeachGrit on condition of anonymity, there are some big shakeups on the way.
It’s long been an open secret that the new tour is operating heavily in the red, and the non-endemic sponsor dollars that ZoSea has been courting are proving increasingly gun shy when it comes time to sign on the dotted line.
According to our source, WSL brass have been “in talks with a global sportswear company,” the ultimate goal (from ZoSea’s perspective) being their name on all events.
While our source declined to name a specific brand, available information indicates an Oregon-based footwear manufacturer that has repeatedly dipped its toes into the surf market before eventually retreating to more lucrative shores.
Most unfortunately for Speaker et al., concerns regarding reportedly lackluster numbers from the Gold Coast webcast, exacerbated by growing doubt that ZoSea can properly administrate and monetize the tour, have thrown the proverbial monkey wrench into ongoing negotiations.
“The GC event looked really bad, and there’s been pressure to move more events into the mainland US. They want to dump Fiji in favor of the US Open as a late addition this year and add another event in CA for 2016… [It] will most likely be an existing QS event to save money using existing infrastructure.”
This should come as no real surprise. The Fiji contest has long been a logistical nightmare and the remote nature of the break makes it impossible to recoup expenses with on the ground advertising and permitting.
“There’s a large contingent who feel quality of surf should be a secondary concern, compared to getting people to events. These guys come from mainstream media and don’t understand how bad it looks. In their minds it’s all about attendance numbers.”
Unfortunately, that’s not all. In response, all surf brands will pull out of their existing events, using various loopholes to escape contractual commitments.
Details are vague, but our source believes it is likely that Quiksilver will exercise a “mismanagement” provision in their contract, employing the Gold Coast event as a pretense in order to withdraw from the tour without penalty.
This marks the second time in two years that bad news for Quiksilver has been released on April 1st , no doubt lending doubt to its veracity. But, as with Slater abandoning ship in 2014, it is, sadly, deadly serious.
You can expect to see any mention of surf brands be quickly and quietly scrubbed from the WSL’s website, with litigation to follow.