Big news a while back was the takeover of the ASP by ZoSea. Basically the ASP entered into an agreement to have all the tour rights and properties acquired by a media company called ZoSea - who no-one had ever heard of. Lots of ou's reckoned the ASP had sold surfing down the river.
Admittedly competitive surfing was in the dog-house already, as many of the major surf labels could simply not afford to continue to carry the burden of funding event production and webcasts. So the plan was that ZoSea would take over all the broadcasting rights for all the events and subsidize them so whichever brand sponsored the event would only have to pay a flat fee of $1 million for naming rights - instead of the current cost of $2-3mil. So yah, it looked juicy.
Throw in a centralized production team meaning consistent high quality webcasts and decent commentators, as well as better prize money and a pension plan for surfers. So far, so good. Sort of.
No-one really knows who the hang ZoSea are. Zero web presence. Pretty unheard of in 2014. What is interesting is that 2 major players in it are Terry Hardy, Kelly's manager, and Paul Speaker, a Quik director. The plot thickens.
Specially seeing as the grand total paid for this takeover was zero. Zip. Nothing.
The plan is to pitch surfing as a mainstream sport. Speaker comes from an NFL background and is keen "to approach this league as a global centralized sports league.” Hmmm.
Fast forward to today: Since all the hoo-hah about the takeover things have gone quite, Very very quiet. We're already nearly into the second month of 2014 and not a PR release, not a web teaser, nothing to get us amped on what the new-look tour is gonna be all about. No facebook posts, no tweets, nothing on the ASP website. Dunno, maybe they keeping the new-look tour a secret and all will be revealed at Snapper?
Let's work on what we do know. JBay ain't there. Again. There'll be 11 events, including the new stop at Margaret River, home of the Box. Three of the events don't yet have headline sponsors - the Margaret River, Fiji and Bali pro are all nameless at the moment.
So it's all looking a bit vague at the moment. Let's hope what they're planning for the tour is so huge they're keeping it secret, not that there's nothing to hear cos well, there's nothing really happening.
So where's the money coming from to fund the whole shebang? Some billionaire dude called Ziff (let's hope he ain't siff!) is chucking in about $20-30mil to fund it. Then it's up to the ZoSea ou's to make cash outta broadcasting the tour. Do we smell "pay-to-view" in our future?