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  • Future Sponsorship of USA Track and Field

    I was reading USA Track and Field CEO Doug Logan's response to the Project 30 Task Force Report and there was something that caught my eye. It was him discussing Yelena Isinbayeva's reported five-year, $7.5 million deal with a sportswear company (Li-Ning). He said that USA Track and Field could learn from her about knowing what your value is and going to find someone who will pay it. It got me thinking. It seems like that USA Track and Field wants more sponsorship money from apparel companies in order to be its official apparel supplier, especially when its contract with Nike runs out. Do you believe USA Track and Field will go to another supplier like Li-Ning for more money? Or is it a ploy to force Nike to pay more money? Or is there another reason?

  • #2
    i suspect te worldwide financial collapse makes this the wrong time to go searching for money that doesn't exist

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    • #3
      Let's pretend that you are potential athletic apparel sponsors of USA Track and Field. You know that your product will be guaranteed to be seen on the USA Track and Field Team only during team events (i.e. the Olympics, World Championships) unless some athletes wear them during regular meets. On the other hand being the official athletic apparel sponsor of the "World's Number One Team" would bring prestige to your company especially a relatively little-known one. What would you pay for this? I start the bidding at $500,000.

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      • #4
        Athletes won't (can't) wear Team USA jerseys during regular meets if their shoe sponsor is different from the gear sponsor. Their shoe companies would cut them off. So in essence that means you'd have to have one company with a monopoly, and once they had that, there would be no need for them to pay much to the individual athletes because they'd be wearing their gear at no cost.

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        • #5
          $5.7 Million per year

          That is $50,000 x 114 Team USA members. If you don't want to play our game, you are welcome to recluse yourself from participation in the olympics and world champs. Otherwise everyone gets $50k per year plus prizemoney and bonuses.

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          • #6
            So if somebody gets an Isi-like deal (heck, even a $100K deal) from another sponsor, you tell them they have to work for half the money or not be in the OG/WC? This kind of thinking is so 19th-century I'm absolutely stunned.

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            • #7
              Many of our USA stars live in Southern California. Sadly, they cannot live there on $50k. Will they use a slip knot or hang's man knot?

              Originally posted by Barto
              $5.7 Million per year

              That is $50,000 x 114 Team USA members. If you don't want to play our game, you are welcome to recluse yourself from participation in the olympics and world champs. Otherwise everyone gets $50k per year plus prizemoney and bonuses.

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              • #8
                But here's the true economic bottom line. Let's say Nike funds 114 TUSA people.

                How many (non-road) people do you think that adidas/new balance/reebok/all the rest will sponsor? Oh, about ZERO! So you effectively impoverish everyone but the established stars.

                Sorry, dumb idea.

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                • #9
                  It also rewards mediocrity instead of excellence. Incentives need to actually incent the desired result. I don't think mediocrity is the desired result of the current USATF initiative or Logan's writings.

                  Real world comparison- w200 OG Medalist vs. wTJer. Which set of results should be incented?

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                  • #10
                    Paying a salary to an athlete is not rewarding mediocrity anymore than giving a living wage to a professional in any other profession. There just needs to be a wage structure based upon the level of competition that the athlete is currently at. From there, bonus structures can be implemented based upon medals, teams made, rankings, etc.

                    For example:

                    Level A: Top 10 finisher at WC/OG = $100000/yr + bonuses + health ins
                    Level B: Top 50 ranked in the world = $50000/yr + bonuses + health ins
                    Level C: Top 10 ranked in US = $30000/yr + bonuses + health ins
                    Level D: US Champs Qualifier = $20000/yr + bonuses + health ins

                    You make the salary based upon what you did last year. Bonuses bridge the gap to higher level if you improve standing. Fail to maintain status means you take a pay cut.

                    How do you get that kind of money is the question~! This is what the supposed athletes union would need to provide if they want to be taken seriously. It allows athletes to stay in the game long enough to improve to their ultimate level (which usually takes 8-10 years depending upon the event) and no starve doing it. It also allows the stars to still command the appearance fees based upon name-power and not kill the potential career of the next star by limiting the chances they might have to get better because they have to work 40+hr/wk to live & then go train.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KLocke
                      Many of our USA stars live in Southern California. Sadly, they cannot live there on $50k. Will they use a slip knot or hang's man knot?
                      $50K won't go far in pretty much every desirable place to live.

                      Subtract:
                      $10,000 fed taxes
                      $7,500 agent 15% cut
                      $5,000 coach 10% cut
                      $1,200 insurance premium
                      $7,500 401k 15% contribution (ha ha)

                      and you are left with a bit over $1500 a month. Great. You can make half a house payment (in CA about 20% of a payment).

                      Now, if you want to live like a college student or in Bucksnot, MS, then $50K may work for you.

                      No athlete with a tiny bit of success on the circuit would go for it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MJR
                        Paying a salary to an athlete is not rewarding mediocrity anymore than giving a living wage to a professional in any other profession.
                        This is where you and I just don't agree. If there is no demand for the profession or the person is not up to the quality necessary to be a professional then there is no salary.

                        I am not saying that there is no place for subsidizing athlete development. I think there is. But rewarding someone who is extremely far from being competitive is a waste of money and it deprives those who either excel or at least are competitive from making a decent living.

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                        • #13
                          Being a professional athlete by definition does not mean that the athlete in question is a top 10 in the world. It means that is their primary vocation in life. There are baseball players, even before expansion, that hit .200 and made a decent living. They were by no means all-stars, but they were good enough to play the game. They also can make aliving based upon their relative talents. There is no reason that T&F athletes should not have this ability open to them, except that our sport still lives in a fuedal mentality born of the IOC & AAU (now USATF & USOC too) which retains its death grip around the necks of the athletes.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Cooter Brown
                            Originally posted by KLocke
                            Many of our USA stars live in Southern California. Sadly, they cannot live there on $50k. Will they use a slip knot or hang's man knot?
                            $50K won't go far in pretty much every desirable place to live.

                            Subtract:
                            $10,000 fed taxes
                            $7,500 agent 15% cut
                            $5,000 coach 10% cut
                            $1,200 insurance premium
                            $7,500 401k 15% contribution (ha ha)

                            and you are left with a bit over $1500 a month. Great. You can make half a house payment (in CA about 20% of a payment).

                            Now, if you want to live like a college student or in Bucksnot, MS, then $50K may work for you.

                            No athlete with a tiny bit of success on the circuit would go for it.
                            Are you s'ing me? You must live in Rockefeller Acres.
                            $50k will go plenty far for an athlete in several of the warmest cities in the country that would be good training bases.

                            Then again, your idea of "desirable" likely differs completely from mine.

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                            • #15
                              How many athletes do you think have shoe contracts that pays over $50k base?

                              My proposal was $50k PLUS bonuses. This represents a MAJOR increase over what the VAST majority of athletes get. True, it would come at the expense of the superstars. I can live with that.

                              My major point was that USATF has the ability to go out and garner sponsorship if they have the cajones to sell TEAM USA.

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