group Y Action Sports Conference Recap
Bill Byrne here, the guy behind BBPR (like the initials didn’t give that away… we’re gonna rebrand… eventually).
I’m back from the first ever group Y Action Sports Conference and I have to say I’m pretty stoked on the event (and not just because we were the official PR sponsor). Many will point out the obvious sound issue in the beginning, which was fixed early on, so I’m just going to recap the positive.
Attendance was very solid. Not only did they sell out, they sold out to notable representatives such as Per Welinder from Blitz (wish I could have gotten a chance to speak with him), some of the crew from Podium, IASC, Nike, Woodward and more.
In the audience I saw friends such as the infamous (and excellent moderator), Rob Campbell (publisher of Transworld Business), Kailee Bradstreet (less infamous, but also of Transworld Business), Justin Cobb of New Era (um, where’s my black on black Mishka cap???), Paul Schmitt of CreateAskate, the whole crew from Propaganda HQ, Vipe Desai of Monster, Tiffany Montgomery of Shop-Eat-Surf, Chad and Josh from Malakye, Sean O’Brien from Surf Expo and many more.
Knowing full well that Shop-Eat-Surf and Transworld Business will be providing in-depth coverage, I’ll just give a quick recap of things I found insightful.
The first panel discussion revolved around the relationship between brands and atheletes, something incredibly important in surf/skate/snow/etc., especially because the majority of action sports are not team-centric, at least in the traditional sense.
Mark Borden, senior editor @ Fast Company (who has covered action sports atheletes more than a few times) did a great job moderating and made the comment that the industry seems t be growing up. I agree… the Spicoli image may not be disappearing, but the professionalism has definitely stepped up, which is a great thing.
Brad Lusky from WMG made some solid points on the nuances between sponsorships appropriate for BMX riders versus some other activities. I won’t get into it, but very insightful.
Hoffman Bikes / Target / Red Bull pro Kevin Robinson is probably one of the more eloquent speakers I’ve come across on the pro-level, but maybe that comes with age. He made some great points about how riders should embrace non-endemic sponsors (when appropriate) and he’s dead on. Look at the banners and ads during any other atheletic activity… it’s not necessarily bats and balls or tires… it’s usually beer, paper towels, etc. The endemic brands just can’t support enough riders on their own in a way we need to grow.
Robinson also mentioned that one of the better ways for non-endemics to enter action sports is a slow, controlled approach… which I couldn’t agree with more. Just dumping a bucket of cash on an event and hoping to be embraced is not the way to go.
What else went down? A lot. Pat McIlvan from Oakley told a great story about how they supported Lance Armstrong with health benefits (not the norm) as he was diagnosed with cancer. Rob Campbell proved an eloquent moderator, as always. Vipe Desai talked about going with not just demographic info, but psychographic as well.
So much more was discussed, but I’ll leave that to the journalistic pros. I’m just getting back from the the Home Depot Center and watching the Big Air event wrap up (congrats to IPATH pro Bob Burnquist on taking the #2 spot). I’m tired, I want to get a beer and some food. And then soe more beers 😉
Big props to my friends Liz Randall and Mark Sperling from group Y. We’ve been a part of their network for a while now and we’re stoked to officially be a sponsor of the Action Sports Conference.
And now… some poorly shot photos!!!
C&C Shred Factory – New Era’s Justin Cobb and TW Business’ Rob “Don’t Call me Soup” Campbell
Kim Desai of Propaganda HQ introduces a panel
Liz Randall and Mark Sperling of group Y
Moto X practice was going on during the conference… made it hard to hear sometimes, but exciting side-views
Tiffany Montgomery of Shop-Eat-Surf doing a Q&A with CJ Olivares of FUEL TV (no offense, but both are probably smarter than you are)
Ty Smith of Propaganda HQ. His sunglasses were way cooler than mine