How did the Olympic exposure from Sochi help the sport?
Tens of Millions of Americans watched the Olympics. Billions watched
worldwide. In the lead-up to the Games, we focused specifically on new
Olympic partners who would be able to help market during the Games,
resulting in a dozen different national brand spots that aired during
the Olympics featuring our athletes and sports. Our PR team worked
with NBC and the USOC to better market our elite athletes resulting in
NBC producing 18 different primetime athlete profiles. We partnered
with Gannett/USA Today to develop Sochi Studio, which produced
over 20 exclusive features that were streamed to tens of millions of
fans. It was our most strategic approach ever to the Managing Victory
concept we pioneered to capitalize on Olympic success and earned us
a nomination as Sports Team of the Year from Sports Business Journal.
How will that help moving forward?
Outside of the Olympics, we broke viewership records with over 25
million U.S. viewers and over 100 million worldwide. Our investment in
acquiring domestic World Championship rights will allow us to bring live
coverage of every event at Vail/Beaver Creek to America for the first
time. Our new partnership with NBC through 2019 will feature more live
coverage and online streaming than ever before and a net the USSA
over $7 million over the term.
Does that also impact fundraising?
Yes, more exposure for our athletes and sports shines a very positive
More exposure for our athletes and sports shines a very positive light
on USSA. We are unique among our competitors in that we get no
government funding. Our sport heroes help generate funds to support
development of the next generation. We saw gains last season in public
fundraising including the best year ever for our U.S. Ski Team Gold
Pass and one of best New York Gold Medal Galas. Under the new
leadership of Trisha Worthington, we look to grow that even further.
How is the USSA gearing up to evolve its business operations?
Beginning this past season, the USSA has been developing a new
customer relationships management (CRM) system that has begun roll
out this summer. We will launch a mobile app this winter in partnership
with Ski Racing and are well along on a long-term web development
plan to roll out in the 2015-16 season.
What’s the elite team focus this season?
A big highlight for most teams this winter will be World Championships
– with nordic in Falun, freestyle, freeskiing and snowboarding in
Kreischberg and alpine right here at home in Vail/Beaver Creek. We’re
uniquely poised for the Alpine World Championships with a very strong
team. Vail/Beaver Creek is expecting large spectator turnouts for what
will be a great American-style festival of ski racing. And if you can’t
make the races Feb. 2-15, you can watch every race live on NBC or
NBCSN with a live post-race show on Universal Sports Network – plus
live no-cost streaming of every event in America.
As you look to the future, what gives you cause for optimism?
The most gratifying element to me right now is the partnerships
we’re creating. With our donors and corporate partners, we’re finding
innovative new ways for them to support athletes. For me, personally,
I’m seeing great engagement from every sport in the field. As I visit
clubs and talk to parents and coaches, I’m finding more and more
passionate individuals who want to be involved – who are proud of what
the USSA has accomplished and want to be a part of evolving its future.
President and CEO - U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
"BEST IN THE WORLD VISION "