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The future of strongman

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  • #41
    Gentlemen,
    Your responses are well written and taken to heart. Paul,
    I too was around the IFSA negotiations although much was held back from me; it was easy to figure out as some people are predictable. But that is "the past" and we need to put our efforts together to focus on the future.

    Organization,
    Bill, you mentioned organization and you are 100% correct! There are many that want to "now" jump on the band wagon to be the savior with the big prize money. But as history has proven, money is not the only thing to keep the sport going in a positive direction. Without mutual organization, the only thing money does is put us back where we started or even worse, creates more greed. Unfortunately, the money runs out eventually because the sponsors are not getting what was promised, however, the greed doesn't. Any true promoter has probably experienced this when having to work with others.

    Business,
    That is the burning question for many, is it as well as should it be run as a business or as an organization that has a large body of group members? Where do the members come from? IFSA was run as both to a degree and they had board members, in many capacities. However, during many of the board meetings, members were making side deals outside of the organization/business. Some members had the sport in mind during the decision process while some had lining their pockets in mind. Bill, I believe you are dealing with some of this in AUS.

    Begging of money,
    Well here in the USA we don't have the backing of the government so the only choice is to beg, dance, etc for sponsorship. Fortunately, the older I get, I think I am getting a little wiser. Although I am very passionate about the sport and I still say I have the best job in the world (because of the wonderful people I have had the pleasure to work with), I am no longer willing to be the puppeteer that some desire. I am still penny pinching with a marketing company to help with sponsors, I am still asking (maybe pleading) for money to put on competitions with a larger payday for the athletes. I still think that with many of the minds together we can find "that" sponsor or investor that may develop the same vision or desire we have.

    Comment


    • #42
      . . . it's strongman funded as a charity, not strongman funding charities that raises my eyebrows - sorry if that was not clear. To me, the former just won't work for the long haul, just as relying on government subsidies won't, so that's why I call for meeting the bigger challenge of establishing real sustainability.

      Easy to say, I know, but I think strongman is inherently interesting and marketable, and even though it's frustrating for all of us involved to not have cracked the riddle yet, someone will . . . and it might well be one of you!

      Comment


      • #43
        Randy,
        Very well said!!

        Comment


        • #44
          Randy, I don't know the politics of Strongman... but I enjoy
          watching it and have watched it from the beginning(early network
          WSM shows, coverage of European contests in British muscle magazines,
          tapes of European contests including contests outside in winter! ...).
          I ENJOY IT(even Kaz!) but as it stands now I see very little commercial potential
          for it to rise beyond the junk sport/late night cable-TV filler status that
          it now has(and it's going to have to fight hard to keep THAT position...
          the trials of giant, sweaty men gakked out to the gills just doesn't seem to thrill the masses...) But all is not lost. The UFC has come on as a huge
          media and cultural success(and financial success too!)...young men
          in the coveted "18-34" demographic dig it big time...of course, what
          is really being marketed here is sex and violence(with not much going on in the sex department unless you view violence as sex...which is a topic for a later time(much later)). I've followed the UFC from the beginning...I 've worked with top UFC fighters and have studied
          the business up close for a very long time. The top UFC experts and
          writers are some of my closest friends. I have an historical perspective
          and an "insider's" perspective and although I enjoy the fights my main focus is the "business". One of the secrets to the UFC's huge acceptance is that the fighters right from jump looked like the
          characters in video games... Video games? Yes, video games. Many business people are un-aware of the size and power of the
          video game phenomenon...like, it's bigger than "movies" and "music" put together!
          (I'm talkin' every manifestation of movies(DVD's , theatre tickets etc)
          and music(CD's, live performances etc.)... as a business it's huge...
          and the kicker is that it is a cultural sleeper because few adults
          even understand that it is there(their kids do...). Who'da thunk that
          near naked men (with funky tatoos) fighting in a cage would be
          a monster success? But it is... and at this stage a link to the
          video game juggernaught might be the only chance for "strongman"...
          and perhaps its ticket to mainstream sports/entertainment success.

          KW

          Comment


          • #45
            Dione - thank you!

            Kim - Keep going with line of thought, please. IFSA II understood this about the video game connection, I think, even if they couldn't sink the putt.

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            • #46

              Comment


              • #47
                Kim,
                I love the line of thought. I may be mistaken on the designer, but I think Manfred Hoeberl did a video game called Full Strength Strongman in 1999-2000 which received bad ratings since it did not offer much as far as gaming goes. IFSA did do somewhat of a pilot of a video game with Sony. Not sure what happened with it or the IFSA crumble that caused it to be nixed as well. But I like the idea that Kim presented.

                Paul,
                Great stats.

                Comment


                • #48
                  IFSA II was working on some games that were mobile phone based, as I recall.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    I had an IFSA strongman game on my Phone. It was terrible!

                    Here it is:

                    http://ringtones.mobilefun.co.uk/jav...-Strongman.htm
                    Last edited by Colin Anderson; 06-19-2010, 05:03 PM. Reason: found link

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Hi all,

                      Firstly I would like to say thanks for being able to be a part of this discussion its helping me understand more and more what I’m getting myself into as a promoter in this business as there are no outlets where I can speak my mind and vent what I’m thinking on this subject.

                      In reply to Randal’s “ it's strongman funded as a charity” I understand this and apologies for the misunderstanding.

                      Another of my sales angles for prospective customers is that I offer a option to donate a portion say 10% of the gate and sponsorship dollars to local charities, it helps them feel all warm inside and presents what we are doing as a good guy sport.Im also trying to encourage athletes to have a similar approach when promoting themselves in there Endeavour’s.

                      The facts on figures are very interesting and I have looked at production cost’s for events and they match on par, my question to Paul and others would be what is the formula for the selling rate for vision to a sponsor based on T.V. distribution on a per million calculation Lets say for Fortissimus.

                      In making comparisons between UFC and strongman I can see the two maybe in a similar marketplace but two totally different sports, my only gauge is when I put events on and the crowds that come to watch the event.Generally speaking I think Strongman is a family friendly event and that’s how I present the show, with UFC at the extreme end of the scale which is where strongman may need to be to survive.

                      Bill Lyndon

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Bill, I don't have all the inputs for TV rights but here are some:

                        -There is an international convention that suggests rate for different formats/shows. It is based on a set amount/minute. And it varies from one country to another. It goes from a few bucks to hundreds per minute, which is not the case for Strongman !

                        -Each year, around March I think, there is a worldwide fare of TV rights. It gathers most of the producers and is held in Nice,France I believe. In some cases agents showcase products from their clients ( demos). And negociate...

                        -In other cases, TV channels from various countries make pers contacts. They usually offer a package deal. Not much really if you base it on the official rates. But it is like : take it or leave it.

                        -And, of course, there is the : we'll broadcast your show ( no money involved) and we'll give you 10, 15 , 20 commercial spots in exchange. Up to you to get advertisers to buy the time. If well done, it pays for your prod costs.

                        Then you get the TWI policies. They are hooked up with ESPN first hand, etc. I guess that there are a lot of strings attached and specific conditions such as exclusive broadcast clauses and al.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          What has happened - and is happening - this weekend illustrates very much the need to question the future of strongman.

                          Once a very prestigious competition, Europe Strongest Man has been reduced to a one-day ( six events) show with 10 competitors representing no more than 1/3rd of the countries that have ranked and eligible competitors.

                          No sign of Koklyaev , Skog, Arsjo, Szchepanski, Trimpl, Aune, Petursson, Kolehmainen, Laureys, Ilin, Kazelniks, Sulaiman, Katona ( add Hams, Moonen, Dymek...).

                          6 countries represented on a possible 20.

                          Not to take anything away from Zydrunas' victory ( plus the fact that he fully deserves to be congratulated for this true Apollon Axle WR), but this is a very questionable set-up as SCL holds the Holland Grand Prix during the current weekend.

                          Are we running short of goodwill or is this a glimpse of the future ?

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            I don't know about "Strongman" out-side the US...but inside
                            the US it seems that the "future of Strongman" as a mainstream
                            spectator sport depends on ESPN. As of now it's positioned as
                            a "fringe" "made-for-TV" "junk" sport. When it is broadcast
                            it serves the function of being "filler". On the totem pole at ESPN
                            it ranks far below poker and X-games ...it's down there with rodeo and lumber-jack games. But here's the bad news...there is major tension inside ESPN relative to them broadcasting Strongman at all.
                            ESPN Magazine is very anti-drug...and has been very vocal in covering sports/dope culture for some time. The investigative arm of ESPN, the
                            "Outside the Lines" group is even more against sport-drug culture
                            employing such journalists as T.J. Quinn, Howard Bryant(who wrote the
                            best book out there on baseball and steroids, "Juicing the Game:
                            Drugs, Power and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball") and
                            Mark Fainu-Wada(the KEY journalist on the whole BALCO affair)...
                            The beef against ESPN broadcasting Strongman is that by broadcasting
                            Strongman/WSM ESPN becomes "an enabler" to sports/drug culture.
                            (of course, the definition of "enabler" is: to make a course of action
                            "attractive"...). Mucho tension inside ESPN(and embarrassment)...
                            Strongman/WSM hangs by a thread. Without the ESPN broadcasts
                            in the US Strongman becomes the fringy-est of fringe sports.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              Thank you Kim Wood for presenting the hot Topic of this sport, it’s the run for cover issue that has the Sport hiding under a rock because it does not want to be slapped in the face and wake up to itself.

                              I have no problem being the whipping boy for this issue because its an issue that is so deep rooted in this sport and I face it on a regular basis when I’m dealing with Athletes and trying to encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle, I also have now a responsibility to mums and dads of these Athletes that I’m taking care of there boys and providing a safe and positive sport for there boys to develop into lets say fully functioning men this is my duty of care not just as a Business man but as a Man .

                              What happens at the top of this sport is played out at the base of this sport if there is no one to police the big players it’s a free for all in the back blocks, I have presented this at home to guys with the idea of implementation of a health policy including drug testing with some guys applauding the idea and some guys howling me down with the idea of even going near it … I would say 75 / 25 on the scale of things on the for and against scale.

                              The tricky part about Drug testing is it needs to be presented as a policy that is completely bullet proof in how its presented so Athletes cant find loop holes and make a mockery of what your trying to achive,the other is cost our drug sport agency in Australia charges as an independent contractor about $1,000 AUD Per test. , when people look for a reason to throw a negative twist at something they look at the cost factor as a reason to baulk it …I’m not its just expensive and hard to find the dollars to do it.

                              When I mentioned in a previous post about companies not wanting anything controversial to happen to there brand name this is what I’m taking about, I have been asked straight to my face by company CEO’s do you have a drug policy .I dont know about anybody else but I cant lie straight to a mans face so I had to say no.
                              On the upside I believe this sport can be a healthy and positive sport and that a lot more Athletes are sitting on the sidelines wanting to enter the sport and are waiting for the changes and then I believe they will jump in when it’s all good.

                              As for ESPN to Quote Kim Wood “ESPN Magazine is very anti-drug “can you blame them, why has the sport suddenly been dumped by big sponsors and is now shown at obscure hours with sponsors from the Moral wasteland “Poker” its because it is a filler and does not want to profile the sport to much where people may question its integrity.

                              Some may read this and think this guys really shot himself in the foot and maybe so but now as an investor of more than 25 years in Strength sports I want to be sure that I’m not wasting the next 25 banging my head on the wall to get it right.

                              Ill just finish this blast with a clear memory of sitting in an office with Doug E and his Lawyer who where laying the foundations for IFSA in 1994 and was asked what should we do about a health policy and my automatic reply was reduce the weights…lots of mmmm’s and Arrrr’s was the reply … look where the weights are now there on another planet .. guys are snapping off tendons while promoter’s are in a chest beating competition to see who can out do each other …time to step back and take a breath.

                              Bill Lyndon

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Paul Ohl View Post
                                What has happened - and is happening - this weekend illustrates very much the need to question the future of strongman.

                                Once a very prestigious competition, Europe Strongest Man has been reduced to a one-day ( six events) show with 10 competitors representing no more than 1/3rd of the countries that have ranked and eligible competitors.

                                No sign of Koklyaev , Skog, Arsjo, Szchepanski, Trimpl, Aune, Petursson, Kolehmainen, Laureys, Ilin, Kazelniks, Sulaiman, Katona ( add Hams, Moonen, Dymek...).

                                6 countries represented on a possible 20.

                                Not to take anything away from Zydrunas' victory ( plus the fact that he fully deserves to be congratulated for this true Apollon Axle WR), but this is a very questionable set-up as SCL holds the Holland Grand Prix during the current weekend.

                                Are we running short of goodwill or is this a glimpse of the future ?
                                Laurence did not compete as he was ill and two athletes (Holland and Marku) tore their biceps.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Paul,
                                  My thoughts exactly! We try to put our calendar out in November for the following year and speak with other promoters when arranging dates so it is not a conflict with their contests dates. Unfortunatly every year other competition dates get rescheduled as the same dates as ours. This causes conflicts with the athletes as well.

                                  Kim,
                                  I understand what you are saying and I often wondered the same because America is also anti sports performance drugs and supplements. But very accepting of recreation and prescription meds (that's a much later topic also). As an FYI even though we may have to cross this bridge with another network, other networks are being shopped and negotiated.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    So the door opens on a crucial issue that will , no doubt, call for questions and answers when dealing with the future of strongman.

                                    Look over what Phil Pfister had to say in 2008:

                                    http://www.ironmind.com/ironmind/ope...Strongman.html

                                    Does that ring a bell ? Similar statements by Mark Phillippi in 2007 and 2008.

                                    Add the draft of a Health Policy by IFSA-II

                                    But hey, someone said it: we're underground...well aside from the mainstream of sport. So who cares ?

                                    Game plan please...

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Kim - How big is the problem, really? Far bigger than even you sketched: When New York Times level reporters use the tired phrase "it's like XYZ on steroids," you know how deeply performance enhancing drugs have penetrated our culture.

                                      At the same time, we know that a lot of sponsors don't want to be associated with drugged up sport - not just because of the drug stigma, but also because only a very small proportion of the population would ever want to look like someone who is fully juiced. So, yes, I agree that if strongman cleans up (on the drugs), it will clean up (financially), so I say: Clean up and clean up.

                                      Right on Bill - I think you ratio was very heartening. When Phil Pfister was going to run a drug tested America's Strongest Man contest for TWI/IMG a couple of years ago, it created a lot of interest:

                                      http://www.ironmind.com/ironmind/ope...ngest_Man.html

                                      Ultimately, the plug got pulled on that because Charleston ended up hosting World's Strongest Man instead.

                                      Happy Father's Day to everyone out there who's a dad!

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Randy and Dione...maybe "strongman" should look way back...
                                        back to its roots(even before Sandow and the vaudeville/music hall
                                        phenomenon...before the "star" system...). Strong men (and women)
                                        would get together at picnics with their friends and families and do stuff...stuff that took great strength ...stuff that was fun. And then
                                        everybody would go home and train...doing stuff(hard and heavy stuff) they liked to do( I don't think Bob Peoples or J.C. Hise trained for big money
                                        pay-offs...I think they trained because they liked to train...)(and they
                                        trained with-out needles...and they did awesome things!)

                                        Maybe it isn't in the cards for "strongman" to have a "pro circuit"
                                        ...maybe that's good. When there is nothing ahead of you...or
                                        at least nothing you can see that makes sense...maybe you should
                                        look back to the roots...

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          Kim and others,
                                          I agree on different levels. Kim on your last post, you are so point on. I asked one of the "professional athletes" a very simular question last week. At the amatuer shows, the very thing you mentioned happens. The athketes do it for the "love" not the dollar amount. I am not saying that the professioanls don't deserve to be paid, however the cut-throatness of the business is due to the money.
                                          I always say "the Amateurs built the ark, it was the pro's that sunk it! Lol

                                          So when do we talk about the "game plan?"

                                          Comment

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