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Beach Grit

Opinion: The WSL Needs A Video Game

Jake M Tellkamp

by Jake M Tellkamp

How the WSL could make four billion dollars! Or thereabouts.

Earlier this week, Chas Smith reported that the WSL’s CEO, Paul Speaker, believes the organisation will make $10 million on the sales of contest jerseys. His infatuation with pantomiming the jewelled business model of the NFL could indeed be the spigot to great fortunes.
But are contest jerseys the most lucrative branding? What the WSL and its fans needs, and I believe will actually pay for, is a video game. 
Imagine World Surf League 2016, a more realistic sequel to the lethargic fun that Kelly Slater Pro Surfer and Transworld Surf brought to our living rooms.

Pick a world tour rookie, I call Conner Coffin, and surf through man-on-man heats around the world. Rack up points to unlock boards, waves, and surfers higher on the ratings. Surf companies will pay for product placement and banners on this digital tour. 
A video game will also bring unimagined rewards to the average surfer. Let me explain.
It’s no surprise that the WSL is aiding in the popularity of our sport. In Brazil alone, there are five million surfers and that numbers continues to balloon with each crowned champion.
Eventually, we are going to reach a tipping point where crowded lineups kill the fun of surf dead forever. A video game will counterbalance that. If well made, a game with realistic graphics and a dopamine loop that portrays some sense of progress, will inject money into the WSL and give the users a synthetic sensation of surfing. Gamers are going to get their high and pass on an afternoon glass off. Think about it. 
“Hey kid, you don’t really want to paddle out into the violent abyss of a crowded beachbreak. Lounge out on the couch. Stick a controller’s spike into your vein and get your fix”.
While the kid who could’ve been Filipe commands the digital version through roters-and-a-half in Peniche, I and the rest of truly devoted can surf in harmony. 
Numbers show that sporting video games do well.
In the United states, 13 percent of video games purchased fall under the genre. The NFL has made four billion dollars off the sale of its video game franchise and I’m surprised the WSL hasn’t followed suit.
While Medina and Mick  jerseys are going to be viewed as an absolute necessity by your very fashion forward audience, I think the pot smoking lazies would thank you with their mom’s money more so if you gave them the opportunity.
 Give the nerds what they need! 
(Note: This is Jake Tellkamp’s return to BeachGrit after a foray into the mainstream surf mag world. His previous story, also advising the WSL what to do, can be read here.)