The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) announced a new partnership with a relative unknown media entity, ZoSea Media, this week and it just may bring the sport out of obscurity.
ZoSea was founded by Paul Speaker (president of Time Inc. Studios and a board member at Quiksilver) and Terry Hardy (Kelly Slater's manager and backer of the original "rebel tour" in 2009) and although there aren’t a lot of details about the new deal, it’s understood ZoSea had gained control of the media rights to all world-title events, something that event sponsors had previously held.
The structure of the surfing tour won’t change dramatically and the same brands will be heavily involved, but ZoSea has the potential to radically increase international awareness about the sport on a professional level.
ZoSea will try and further what Quiksilver director Rod Brooks describes as the original goals of the tour- "create a dynamic, genuine sporting product while retaining the authenticity of the culture."
Founder Terry Hardy was behind the failed 2009 ‘rebel tour’ which ignored the wishes of the ASP, and their monopoly on the sport, and attempted, in cohesion with ESPN, to sell network coverage and draw major sponsors to push surfing beyond the stagnant position it had found itself in. Earlier this year, Hardy twice pitched the ZoSea deal to the ASP and the board finally bit and the company now holds the media rights to world-title events.
Hopefully the new deal will move away from the current broadcast setup- webcasts that often catered to sponsor interests as much as it has to do with the surfing.
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