Business Tactics: The Changing Landscape of Action Sports

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 5, 2010 10:57 am


If you are in the action sports industry in any way and you don’t read Transworld Business online you are missing a lot of resourceful information (and if you do, well played). It just goes to show you that in the ‘gen y’ of right now, you can no longer write off your neighborhood skate punk when it comes to business advice. Take my brother, for example. Slayer t-shirt adorned and tube socked pool skater, big game hunter, and… financial analyst. If you passed him on the street you would instantly write him off as your average ‘boned out’ skater punk but if you want to discuss stock trading, commodities, or recent industry trends and the technical’s behind them, he is your man. It just goes to show you that in today’s society the golf meeting can be candidly substituted by the chair lift meeting, the skateboard pool riding session, or the snowboard park “board meeting.”

As all this is relevant to the way we do business in this industry today, as Mike Lewis from Transworld has shown us it accounts for every little aspect in the way in which business is conducted. Even when it comes to choosing team rider’s “Brands are making sure their investments are returned by focusing on the right riders – people that do more than just ride for the company, but promote it while they post hole the extra mile to get the shot and take initiatives upon themselves.” In this generation of business, you must be a triple threat. A jack of all trades really. Whether you’re a rider, marketer, or designer, you need to be able to encompass it all. Gone are the days of specialization. We have all joined the leadership…of, well…Hollywood. No longer are you just an actor but rather a complete entertainer; a pop icon, a socialite, a Broadway extraordinaire. It is 2010 business at a rapid pace and you can no longer coast on one strong skill. By the words of comedian Mitch Hedberg, “you’re a chef, so can you farm?”


In the ski industry, we are really feeling this daunting pressure to perform in more areas than one, only touched upon by Mike Lewis when highlighting the riders. With numbers down and a seemingly shrinking market due to troubled economic times we are all biting our nails in the race to generate quality business. Examples like Danny Kass (professional snowboarder/business owner) and CEO, Steve Bellamy, at The Ski Channel (CEO, TV host, marketer, and writer) prove that embodying many skills that can be applied at once is the business sense of, not just the future, but right now.

As I retouch upon the rider situation I come back to Mike Lewis of Transworld, who spoke to Ryan Runke of Rome snowboards on this very subject to get an insider report. Runke can be quoted in Mike Lewis’s article ‘The New Face of Snowboard Teams’ on the topic saying “[I] think the days of going out and getting a couple photos, entering a contest and maybe filming some shots and then taking six to seven months off are gone, but the overall idea has not. The level of riding is so high these days that it takes a lot more for riders to get stuff done at a level that the media and consumer expect. Progression has gone crazy in urban settings as well as the backcountry.” And as for us action sport business ‘sider’s’ the same goes. Networking, relationship managing, marketing, and writing are only a few of the skills that make a comprehensive business person today. It is the age of multiple skills, multi-tasking, and a new embracement of A.D.D. in the workplace.