Olympics BMX Faces A Uphill Climb
RE: Olympics BMX Faces Uphill Climb
Commentary Quote by Gene`s BMX
Gene`s BMX News ( Commentary Quote ) -- 11/07/2006
The BMX racers do show "LACK" of support for BMX racing
being in the 2008 Olympics and with that, I have to say- Ounch!
Since June 29th 2003 when the IOC committee announced that BMX
was added to the 2008 Olympic line up I have not seen to much of a
input from bmx racers on the web or in hard print BMX magz`s.
It realy makes one wonder what the deal is with BMX racing even being
inlisted into the Olympics with no official sources on to what is and what
is not. As it is, seems everyone is jumpping hoops to try and understand
whats is going on and how it works.
Yes, a few blurb PR`s here and there, on a few post boards on how cool
it will be and so on but vary little input from the bmx racers them selfs.
As you surf bmx web sites on the web you do not see much support as
in bmx racing web sites flying the Olympic logo to show the support
and being proud that the BMX racing is in the Olympics in 2008.
Yes, the bmxers are happy that BMX racing landed in to the Olympics but
they do not show to much support of it. Take a surf on the web and look
for your selfs, there is lack of support on bmx racing web sites as no one
says or logos much of anything about bmx racing in the 2008 Olympics.
As for 2008 being a one time event for BMX racing being in the Olympics,
Don`t look down at the ground for to long my friends as it looks like the
British BMX Racers are getting it all inline for the 2012 London Olympics
as they have most of it mapped out already and are already training some
of there young bmx racers for the 2012 event. So I would say 2008 is just
the start of it all.
Is BMX Freestyle the next to join in the Olympic program? The freestyle
movement in BMX is relatively new with the financially thriving X Games
and Dew Action Sports Tour events hosting the athletes of action sports.
I do see the BMX Freestyle movement onto the road to the Olympic glory
maybe in the 2012 Olympic event but as a mix and will see the both, BMX
Race and BMX Freestyle there.
I do wish the BMX Freestyle had more of a orgaization to it like the
BMX racing sanctions ABA, NBL, and UCI do to back the freestylers
in events so new people could join in to all the fun that freestyle offers.
That is just my guess but the movement of it happing that way is of a high.
- It would be cool to see the both in 2012.
BMX racing in the USA has alot of problems in it. Over the last 2 years
Iv seen a hand full of people out there trying to get rich over night by
trying to make BMX racing look like it is something big time, launching
pay as you go, pay BMX racing web sites with photos, videos and feeds.
I see this as the biggest down fall for the BMX racing community world wide
and on the world wide web. The sport of bmx does target to the mass of youth.
Hows a kid under age 18 to get a credit card to surf a web site that targets to
them in the first place?
Pay BMX web sites, It draws a line to witch BMXers have money and to witch BMXers
do not have money and making the internet's BMXing community divide apart with some
hate to each other with bad views to others that look in to what the sport of BMX racing is.
With pay BMX web sites - It is a Rich Kid -Vs.- Poor Kid.
Pay BMX racing web sites scares people away from the sport.
There is alot and I meen alot of people out there that can
not aford $10 here and $10 there just to look at a web site.
Locking out the youth from its own target youth web sites
with pay$ BMX racing web sites just is not wright and is a
big down fall for the sport of BMX racing in all.
That is just one of the big problems with in BMX racing.
The other problem is the divide apart of the BMX sport.
"BMX Racing -Vs.- BMX Freestyle".
Somewhere along the line BMX racers and the BMX freestylers
but heads with each other, may it be in the higher ends or the
lower ends or in the middles of the sport of BMX. Both need to
get over there pety differentes and learn to work with each other.
I support both BMX racing and BMX freestyle
I look at both of them as a all in one BMX sport.
I would like to see BMX Racing and BMX Freestyle
both side by side in the Olympics..............................
Olympics BMX Faces Uphill Climb
Sports Business Journal -- 11/07/2006
Olympics newcomer BMX faces an uphill climb.
In a dark theater in Colorado Springs, visitors to
the U.S. Olympic Committee are being treated to
a four-minute video promoting the 2008 Olympics.
Against a crescendo of traditional Chinese music a
narrator promotes a new event debuting at the Beijing
Games — BMX cycling. As he speaks, a BMX rider
flies across the screen, high above a vert ramp.
There’s only one problem: BMX racing is the one making
its debut in Beijing, not BMX freestyle. It’s the equivalent
of making “h-o-r-s-e” representative of the game of basketball.
The USOC recognizes the error and says it plans to fix
it in the future. But the image highlights the confusion around
one of the most anticipated and arguably most misunderstood
additions to the 2008 Olympics — a confusion created by
placing an under-the-radar, counterculture sport within the
Olympic movement, and fed by longtime infighting among
BMX’s own traditional governing bodies.
The racing version of BMX features riders pedaling across
dirt tracks and over hills to a finish line, not stunt performers
swirling through the air and doing tricks, as the freestyle rider
does in the video. Similar to snowboarding’s inclusion in the
Winter Olympics, BMX was included in the 2008 Olympic
program to appeal to a younger audience — and, no doubt,
the sponsors and TV networks looking to reach that audience.
Most recreational BMX participants are between ages 7 and 19.
But just how big of a splash BMX will make in 2008 will largely
be determined by its ability to educate people aboutthe sport
and its differences from its more mainstream, flashier cousin.
“When you say BMX, people think freestyle,” said
Kevin O’Brien, marketing and communications director
at the National Bicycle League, a BMX race organizer.
“You have to explain it’s racing, and they wonder:
How can it be so exciting if I’ve never heard of it before?”
BMX’s ability to change that over the next two years, and in turn attract
sponsors and viewers, will be determined by its three domestic organizers
USA Cycling, the NBL and the American Bicycle Association and the odds
don’t look good. To date, the groups have been locked in a power struggle
that has hindered the sport’s ability to build momentum before Beijing.
“Here’s a sport that’s ready to go, and these organizations can’t sit in
a room,” said Gary Ream, president of Camp Woodward, an action sports
camp in Pennsylvania, and a longtime authority on the action sports industry.
“The reason they’re not ready is they’re not getting together.”
‘Like Ford and GM’
The strife predates the International Olympic Committee’s
2003 decision to add BMX racing. While Colorado Springs
-based USA Cycling is BMX’s national governing body, the
Arizona-based ABA and Ohio-based NBL have been the
organizations hosting BMX events in the U.S. during the last
three decades. Combined, the two organizations have close to
100,000 members and they host more than 50 national events.
But they also compete for riders and sponsors,
and they have a history of not getting along.
“They’re like Ford and GM,” pro BMX racer
Jason Richardson said. “They don’t work together.”
That has affected their ability to sell the sport to potential
sponsors, particularly non-endemic brands with the
marketing muscle to put the sport in front of the mainstream.
None of the groups have successfully sold the sport to
date. Currently, the NBL and ABA only work with endemic
sponsors, such as Mongoose Bicycles and Fly Racing, and
USA Cycling says it hasn’t been proactive in selling the BMX
racing property because it’s been wrapped up in organizing an
effort to accommodate both groups.
“Right now there are three organizations trying to get the same sponsorship
dollars,” said pro rider and Olympic hopeful Donny Robinson. “I don’t see
how companies would know who to go to because they all have pros and cons.”
Issa Sawabini, an executive with Fuse, a youth marketing
agency that works on Mountain Dew’s action sports account,
agreed. “It’s definitely a little tricky,” he said.
The rift between the groups goes back more than a decade.
The NBL, a nonprofit, helped create the first international governing
body for the sport, the International BMX Foundation, in 1981.
When the international group merged with Union Cycliste Internationale,
cycling’s international federation required that all national BMX bodies
affiliate with their country’s national governing body.
As a result, USA Cycling adopted the NBL. But when USA Cycling
chief executive Gerard Bisceglia tried to sell the NBL to the for-profit
ABA in the mid-1990s, a distrust was born that remains today.
“That killed the relationship,”
acknowledged Bob Tedesco, the NBL’s executive director.
The ABA did not return multiple calls requesting comment for this story.
Under pressure from UCI, USA Cycling kept the NBL and gave it exclusive
licensing rights to all USA Cycling -sanctioned BMX races, Tedesco said.
The deal made the NBL a shadow national governing body for BMX racing
in the U.S., according to Sean Petty, USA Cycling’s chief operating officer.
It also became the source of conflict when BMX
racing was named to the Olympic program in 2003.
The ABA wanted a role in Olympic qualifying events and went to the USOC to
protest USA Cycling’s exclusive arrangement with the NBL. The three groups
met with the USOC in June 2005, at which time the exclusivity clause in the
NBL contract was ruled invalid by USOC lawyers, Petty said.
Since then, a BMX governance structure that incorporates all parties has
begun to take shape at USA Cycling, which includes the ABA forming a nonprofit
division called USA BMX to abide by USOC rules. A three-member BMX board
was formed last month, and though the groups are still struggling to work together,
Petty believes they’ve turned a corner.
“Everyone’s on the same page now,” he said. “We have models moving forward.”
The success of those models — and whether everyone truly is on the same page,
as many in the industry have disputed — will determine how much BMX can grow
and how much corporate support it can attract before Beijing.
‘Ready to skyrocket’
Visa is the only non-endemic sponsor to get involved in BMX racing so far.
The USOC partner added rider Bubba Harris, the 2005 world champion, to its
gold-medal athlete program in early 2006. The payment-card company believes
affiliating with the sport by making Harris one of 15 endorsed athletes for
2008 will help it connect with young adults.
“We believe it’s an enormously hot sport that’s primed to
grow dramatically in the coming years,” said Michael Lynch,
Visa’s senior vice president of event and sponsorship marketing.
The company has a track record of attaching itself to athletes in new,
cutting-edge sports. Visa-backed boardercross racers Lindsey Jacobellis
and Seth Wescott both won medals when their sport debuted earlier this
year in the Torino Winter Olympics, and Jacobellis was the centerpiece
of a lengthy ad campaign leading up to the Games.
Visa also backed Wescott on a promotional tour after
he won gold, which in turn promoted the entire sport.
Lynch did not rule out eventually doing the same thing
for Harris and BMX racing should he win.
“There’s a vested interest in growing this sport,” Lynch said.
“This is a sport that, in my mind, is just ready to skyrocket.”
Not everyone agrees. Skeptics point to the TV challenge
of featuring a sport whose races only last 40 seconds and
to the double-digit percentage declines in participation that
BMX sees among racers in their late teens, or soon after
kids get their driver’s license.
“It’s not a lifestyle sport,” said Fuse’s Sawabini.
“It would be a tough thing for a sponsor to leverage.”
NBL’s O’Brien agreed.
“It’ll take someone who wants to be a pioneer,” he said.
“They’re going to have to gamble that because it’s in the
Olympics, racing will be the next big thing.”
USA Cycling’s Petty is optimistic that BMX racing is the
next big thing. He admits, though, that getting all of the
competing organizations to work together must happen first.
“It’s very important,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity on the
medal side for our country, and one we need to make the most of.”
2008 BMX Olympics Information
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