- 17 July 2013 | Surfing
The world of pro surfing is changing. ZoSea has bought the ASP World Tour and drastic changes will be seen in the 2013/2014 season.
"ZoSea? What's that?". When asked about the new business player in the world of professional surfing, Dane Reynolds showed why he is living in his own free surfing world.
The truth is that ZoSea Media Holdings, the new owner of the ASP World Tour, kept a very low-profile, in the last two years. Founded by Paul Speaker (former executive at Quiksilver) and Terry Hardy (Kelly Slater's career manager), ZoSea showed interest in changing the future of pro surfing management, with the back support of financial moguls.
"Our focus this season is protecting the interests of professional surfers, preserving the integrity of competition, refreshing the ASP brand and establishing a new commercial model for the sport", Paul Speaker revealed in February 2013.
"The ASP will be more fan-centric - the structure of tours, the production of broadcasts and everything in between will be geared towards enhancing the fans' experience".
Pro surfing will be a more serious business. The cost of each event will drop from $3 million back to $1 million, pro surfers will see a prize money increase, a pension plan will be created.
Not all surf brands enjoyed the promised revolution. Billabong and Quiksilver raised their green flags, while Vans and Rip Curl showed the red card.
Surfers and fans may expect to see a mix of exotic locations and urban surf contests. Speaker and his team will try to balance the remote Teahupoo formats with cosmopolitan breaks like Rio de Janeiro and New York.
The future ASP World Tour infrastructure will be designed to meet the global sports league concept and model. This also means that management, sponsorship and broadcast rights will be centralized. The Big Wave World Tour is part of the family, too.
There will be an Office of the Commissioner, a position that will work as the authority on all technical aspects of the sport including judging, venues, scheduling and rankings, among other components of professional surfing.
Will surf fans pay for watching their favorite surfers battling the best waves on the planet? Probably not. Better not.
Who is Paul Speaker, CEO at Association of Surfing Professionals International (ASP)?
Paul Speaker has built a career in sports and entertainment. His executive management experience includes serving as Director of Marketing and Ideas at the National Football League, President of Time Inc. Studios, and President of RKO Studios.
Speaker worked in the organizations' creative development, advertising and organization-wide integration of marketing strategies.
He stepped down as Lead Independent Director for Quiksilver as part of the organization's board of directors to serve the Association of Surfing Professionals International (ASP), as the new CEO.