Monday, August 22, 2011

Pro Comps. Too much Drama? What's Going On? (part 2 of 4)

Yesterday, in part 1, we spoke about the business cycle of a pro comp and why some comps seemed to work in 2004. We left off thinking about what are the best aspects of a pro comp......

Part 2 of 4

Effraim: Good question. The best thing I can think of right now, is that everyone can see these events at least within 2-3 days after the contest worldwide. And on some occasions, live feed.

Bobby: Well aside from quick broadcasting, which is really just a function of the internet, what do you think is the best thing that pro comps have to offer flatland?

Effraim: To be honest I'm struggling.

Bobby: Haha!

Effraim: What do you think?

Bobby: I think it's a way to bring everyone together in person. At the Worlds or the Masters it's good to be represented with the rest of BMX.

Effraim: Right. But that's no different than a jam, or the x games 8 years ago...

Bobby: For someone on a team, I suppose they can tell a sponsor, their "ranking" on the circuit. To a lesser degree some people are actually competitive and like to "win" and this is a way to let that out. I think the jam is better suited for allowing people to mix it up. Ams can ride all day with Pros and riders have a lot of time exchange information.

Effraim: Yes, the ranking is good. In some ways, but as the sport has changed, majority of sponsors don't care what you placed at a contest. Look at the rest of BMX. Some of the biggest names, Chase Hawk, Aaron Ross, etc are not contest machines. And they are selling product.

Bobby: So it's an interesting predicament we are in...

Effraim: Yes it is...

Bobby: Flatland doesn't have enough riders to sell heaps of product. There's no surplus of money to really re-invest into the sport.

Effraim: Like LL Cool J said "at the crossroads, crossroads"

Bobby: Flatland companies don't have the money to support their own pro events. We have to rely on outside money year after year....

Effraim: No we can't, and the contests are alienating more and more riders each time. People are staying home, enjoying their riding in the purest form which ultimately is what its all about anyway...

Bobby: Hmmmmm....It seems like the battle format and other features of the comps are set in place to get the crowd excited.

Effraim: Yes they were originally, but I don't see that it went down like that in the end.

Bobby: World Classic in Japan was really an experiment to prove the format of a big flatland TV show format.

Effraim: When I look back at some of the great runs of all time, the crowd was louder in a two run format 3 min run format. Way louder and now its a show. Certain riders do things to hype the crowd which you know. Its a become a show, and fake to some degree, i'm not into that, its far removed from everyday riding, majority of street riding friends think flat contests are gay...thats their perception.

Bobby: I'm thinking instead of concentrating on pro comps, in the professional realm, riders should be concentrating on selling flatland as entertainment. Comps are really just a rider on rider battle for honor as there is very little money to be won. However, if you had a Pro-level comp with no money, my guess, is that not many pros will show up. So that means the pro riders are chasing money to a certain extent.

Flatring 2006, "competition as a performance" ...

Bobby: Instead of trying to make a comp into a show, just straight up make flatland entertainment. Demos, school shows, commercials, tv shows, events, etc. Don't even worry about trying to beat the next pro in a battle, worry about how to get the next show contract or tv placement, that's the real battle. Get paid through that avenue instead of training for a comp where there is little exposure and little money. As a pro, you could go out and make a thousand dollars doing a set of shows, as opposed to $150 at a comp where you got 6th place and spent months training for it. Drop your hardest tricks in the videos to hype up what few riders are out there to buy your sponsor's product and go meet the riders at the jams.

Effraim: Flatland is about the individual, pushing yourself that's what its always been for me anyway. That may be different for each rider also what you haven't mentioned is one of the changes.

Bobby: There are two realms. First is pure riding for yourself. The second is, "how do you make a living from riding, if possible?"

Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow!


  1. I was orginally going to post the following rant on global but seeing this conversation swayed me to post my opinion here. I hope my thoughts are taken into consideration.

    I've thought of many ways flatland can easily sell itself to the masses. Below are just a few points I make. But to begin, if you ask someone if they know what flatland is (hiding the bmx to throw them off) about 95 % of people will be clueless and just think of something like a flat top area. The reason people aren't riding and this sport isn't blooming is because we have no basis on which to expose ourselves. Othewise, the only reason people don't ride flatland and because they don't know what it is and have never seen it before. Here are just a few ways we can gain exposure and lift ourselves up from the underground.

    1. Sponsership of clothing - I think flatland bmx and clothing is a perfect match. Think about it. Flatland tricks aesthetically look good. When you pause a trick, or capture a trick in a photo it's almost as if the rider were posing for the picture. When someone's in a balance position it looks cool, think of domonik in a halfpacker, or matt w in a no handed time machine. These poses are perfect for selling t shirts, jeans, and any cltohing. Im not saying we have to have a flatland clothing brand. But if a major clothing brand did pick us up for their advertisements (such as volcom/quicksilver) you might see riders and non riders buying more of their clothes cause hey it looks good, it looks cool.

    2.If you truley believe flatland is an art then make it an art. Make an artsy movie. As lame as it sounds if we had a big time director who could write a movie that has flatland in it with a good storyline then we'd be set. Im talking about movie of the year material. A good example is the movie Black Swan. People loved that movie although they probably wouldnt watch balerina in their freetime. Same could easily be done for flatland. I've seen some clips from Sax Final Orbit and hey that's another example that flatland in movies can work! But keep note, you will definatly have to film it differently then you would a web edit or normal riding dvd (yes lots of editing, you might not see a full combo).

    3.We need an investor and a way to gain television time. We can start slow with advertisements but we would have to work our way up. ESPN does not want us, seems like FUEL tv does not want us. Im thinking G4. As crazy as it sounds just hear me out. G4 claims to be original television, you can't get more orginal of a sport than flatland bmx. G4 put loads of money into the parkour scene and has built celeberties out of it. Now parkour seems to be catching on everywhere. Im thinking they should film Voodoo Jam. If they truely captured the vibe and aired it out not only would we benefit but I guarentee you a good number of g4 vieweres would pick an interest in flatland and want more.

    4. I heard Jesse Puente say in an interview we need to program people to like flatland. He makes perfect sense. If people can be programmed to like shitty top 40 radio music and horrible tv programming then we should have no problem blowing their minds with an original artistic sport such as flatland. Matt W getting the most votes for youtube's America's Got Talent is direct proof that people are blown away by flatland (not only that show but also 30 seconds to fame he got the most votes). Why isn't someone picking up and investing into us.

  2. Great points. I think in the end, most people will like to watch flatland as opposed to actually participating in it. Flatland is not easy and it is expensive. If you want to even get to the intermediate level, you will have to spend quite a bit of time by yourself. So that means we can't really rely on equipment sales for income, it has to be sales of services/products that the average civilian will want to purchase (tickets for a show, clothing, posters, energy drinks, cereal, movies etc.)