The ASP announced yesterday that they have formulated a new, three-pronged media plan (along with a new logo) for the 2014 season. The new media model, which encompasses a television, social, and digital component, falls in line with ZoSea's greater plan to expand the reach of the ASP into mainstream markets.
ESPN has signed on for an exclusive three-year domestic deal to showcase professional surfing on TV. According to the ASP "the deal will allow surfing fans to see highlight shows immediately following the events." It's not clear which ESPN channel or show will air the highlight reels, but the ASP’s Dave Prodan told us the partnership will ensure that the ASP is “engaged within ESPN’s Family of Channels.”
Tim Reed, who works as ESPN's Global X director, alluded to the idea that pro surfing might be tied to the X Games. In the ASP’s press release, Reed was quoted as saying, "The talent and experience that is being aggregated at the ASP make this a very exciting time for professional surfing as well as a great opportunity for ESPN to extend its X Games brand into professional surfing."
When asked to clarify Reed's comment on the relationship between the ASP and the X Games, the ASP stated that any ties to the games won’t be in the traditional sense and that the "ASP remains an independent entity and will crown the undisputed world champions." Further, the ASP's partnership with ESPN only extends to the United States, but an announcement on an international deal is expected to be made in coming weeks.
Moving forward, 26 contests will be accessible under one URL at ASP.com beginning next season. The 26 events will encompass the men's and women's World Tour contests as well as the Big Wave World Tour. In an attempt to further their engagement online, the ASP will also be working with Facebook and Instagram. When asked for details on what that might entail, the ASP said that their partnership will focus on utilizing an alert system to notify fans when events go live as well as focus on increasing the interaction between fans and athletes.
The release went on to cite a research finding from Repucom, a sports marketing research agency, that estimated that there are 120 million surf fans world wide. The report from Repucom also concluded that surfers were the "number one sport fan using social media throughout the world" and are "six times more likely to engage in social media than the general public."
SURFER could not independently verify any of these figures.
In short, the ASP will be airing highlights on ESPN next year, all events will be streamed at one website, and the ASP will be alerting you with Facebook notifications when an event goes live.