ASRA - Australian Skateboard Racing Association

By no means a criticism merely a question; with the IGSA Newton's only 38 days away, the adverse (?) publicity from the reedy reek QLD outlaw some months ago, the early passing of Anton, the new laws (all be them in QLD) all this must have raised, both here and among those that put ASRA together, the issue of media, AGAIN. Has anything been done as far as ASRA media is concerned? are we about to see in the next few days National media exposure for Newton's and ASRA on the run up to the event? or will this just come and pass as in other years? Are we left alone with ASRA behind us to sort our own media out and then face guideline information afterward or is there something about to be released. As an association that has been set up to be a centre of forward thinking, safety, and support for all disciplines do we take it that we are on our own for the promotion of events; even those sanctioned by ASRA? or are they just not to be promoted?
Within our own sport Newton's is HUGE but to the rest of the world they don't even know it exists,
A) shouldn't someone be telling them, in a bid to create exposure to the various disciplines?
B) shouldn't that be done by an association that oversees those disciplines?

discuss; please discuss!!

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Thats a question that has been discussed at length many times by the ASRA board on many occasions. Trying to get the mainstream media to expose us is a long and difficult process. Creating media and PR campaigns has a very significant cost associated with it in time, money and skills. ASRA is run by a committee of 5 unpaid people at a significant personal cost to these people. We receive about $1500 a year in membership funds that would struggle to pay for a half page ad in a rural newspaper. We Have applied for many grants but have yet to receive any government funding so we often rely on the skills of our various members to increase our exposure and our output.

While we have lots of graphic artists, engineers, photographers, IT workers, public servants amounts us we also have alot of kids within our community. One thing we have very little of is journo's and PR people that skate so our ability to attract the free time of these people is very limited.

Our skills at ASRA mainly lay in administering and running sporting events. We currently have 5 people from various backgrounds putting on an event that is costing us $100,000 to run. Last year we had the backing of a regional council as the major promotor with a paid staff of 50 working for 6months with a $350,000 budget and the backing of the taxpayer and all the assets a council has. This year the promoter pulled out and we [ASRA] were forced to take over the full event at short notice, so now it is 5 guys being paid no wage with no access to major funding running a major international event that will cost us $100,00 to run. This situation is compounded by us only having 4 months notice to be able to do this. We could easily have ditched the event as most people in our situation would have, however we have bigger dreams than that so at great personal cost we have pushed on. The cost to the people that run this event has been enormous. I'm not talking about putting in time after work but actually changing our lives to work part time in our normal jobs or in our Presidents case quitting his job completely to work for nothing for 3 months to get this over the line, this has cost each member of the ASRA crew about $20,000 in lost wages to run this event.

As an example of the way mainstream media exposes these kinds of sports. Mainstream skateboarding has a lot more money than us and enormous companies behind it yet receives ZERO mainstream media coverage for events. Surfing has billion dollar companies behind it and may get 2 articles in mainstream papers about events each year. Snowboarding has big companies behind it yet will only get an article once every 4 years when the Olympics come along with no media attention given to their normal events. BMX, big companies, big sport, zero event exposure. Mountain bike ditto. None of these sports get stories written about their sport, they get media stories written about individuals within the sport and hence rely on individuals to create exposure to their events. Individuals need to do this because without the event they would not have a sport to be individuals in. Government does not provide funds to any of these sports to run events of pay for sports admin, they only provide sports admin funds to Olympic sports and football codes and the media helps by providing constant coverage of these sports.

This does not mean we have been sitting on our butts doing nothing about media. We have been sending out media releases to major media companies both print and broadcast, been in contact with all the local media around bathurst about doing radio interviews and rider profiles. We have paid to have adverts in local tourist magazines and TV commercials on local stations. We have taken time off work to travel to youth centres around the central west of NSW to promote our event to disadvantaged kinds to look at, attend, and participate in our sport. We have been in long negotiations with a national station about doing a live 2hr broadcast of the event. We have a crew that is doing internet content of the event for telstra bigbond. We have the ABC doing a kids TV show called Rush TV that will feature some Newtons content prior to the event. Almost all sport coverage that does not relate to the football codes gets devoted to individuals and rarely to events. The media organisations tend to devote all their airtime to established wholesome sports like tennis, athletics and swimming. So for a whole pile of effort to get media coverage you get about a 2% return on the time you put into it. This is fine if you have a person paid to do this full-time but if we devoted that much time to getting media coverage everybody here would be sitting at home in November or looking for a place to skate without being hassled by the cops. Last year with all the resources the council had they fell over and decided not to run the event this year. A promoter took over the contract and lasted six months, fell over and dropped the event. ASRA are not promoters, we took over the promoting of the event because without us doing that there would be no event. We administer sporting events and cannot close our company or end our sport because we think its too much work. We are a grass roots association thats run on the smell of an oily rag, this is just they way it is. We intend to have even bigger and more numerous events next year but ASRA cannot do everything for everybody.

We would be very happy for people to help us with promotion but most people in our community just wont to skate and this is understandable. It comes at huge personal financial loss to the individuals that do this and this is not an area where most of us have professional skills. We work in consultation with people like Andy Smith who put in their own time to help with promoting our sport, this is not his professional area but he had a contact and thought he could make a contribution by spending time organising a media story.

Your questions:

Do we take it that we are on our own for the promotion of events; even those sanctioned by ASRA? ASRA is not like the IGSA in that we sanction an event and let others do the work. The 5 ASRA crew finance, organise and run the event with some help from our community.

Shouldn't someone be telling them, in a bid to create exposure to the various disciplines? This is what ASRA has been doing. If you would like to do some of this in your own time that would be very welcome.

Shouldn't that be done by an association that oversees those disciplines? refer to my above answers
This is just my personal thoughts:
If someone has solid media contacts, and a story is planned, talk to ASRA to check that what you're doing won't interfier with something ASRA has going and go for it.
Be guided by ASRA.
"Sanctioning Assoc" is differant to "Organiser": organisers be responsible for media exposure for planned event.
"Trouble Stories": be dealt with by most relevant person, under guidance of ASRA. At times ASRA may have to take on the issue itself if serious enough.
General "Gravity Sports" exposure falls into my first point.
Basically we all play our part in supporting Gravity Sports/ASRA, but always come back to ASRA for validation.
The best promotion we have is ourselves, and the manner in which we conduct ourselves with the general public, authorities and the media, with professionalism and safety in mind.
thankyou!!
pretty much answered my questions and more and hopefully a bit of incentive and inspiration for the rest of us to do just a little bit more.
Robbo that was a great answer.
Without ASRA there would be no Newton's and everything that our sport has developed into now, would be lost. I really wish there was a way for me to help, I am making video's on the sport and spreading the word but that can only really go so far. I would just like to thank ASRA for being the back bone of Australian skateboard racing, with out them we would have nothing and have to travel overseas for events. I was personally unaware of the massive financial burden to the very few people who run this great thing and if I wasn't a student and was in a more financially comfortable position then i would contribute myself.
Dudes at ASRA we really appreciate your commitment.
I have a way that everyone could help support ASRA.

Everyone can send a letter to your federal MP, this week.

The simple message that you want to deliver something like this:

"A group of people dedicated to promotion of safety and excellence in the sport of skateboarding have secured the 2009 world championship in the sport of downhill skateboarding, to be held at Bathurst on the last weekend in November.
This group has no government support, nor does it have any support from Skate Australia
Young Australians are at the forefront of this sport, competing internationally, developing global friendships, and conducting themselves as sporting ambassadors that this nation can be proud of .

All that we ask is that you kindly mention this to the Minister of Sport, and if at all possible, we would really appreciate a mention in the house, within the next 4 weeks."

Include details of the event, and who you are etc.

If you like this post.......send a letter!

If enough MP's get a letter all at the same time, then something might get through.
Spam them? 0.0

bernie said:
I have a way that everyone could help support ASRA.

Everyone can send a letter to your federal MP, this week.

The simple message that you want to deliver something like this:

"A group of people dedicated to promotion of safety and excellence in the sport of skateboarding have secured the 2009 world championship in the sport of downhill skateboarding, to be held at Bathurst on the last weekend in November.
This group has no government support, nor does it have any support from Skate Australia
Young Australians are at the forefront of this sport, competing internationally, developing global friendships, and conducting themselves as sporting ambassadors that this nation can be proud of .

All that we ask is that you kindly mention this to the Minister of Sport, and if at all possible, we would really appreciate a mention in the house, within the next 4 weeks."

Include details of the event, and who you are etc.

If you like this post.......send a letter!

If enough MP's get a letter all at the same time, then something might get through.


at the end of the day, everything is about money isn't it? we just don't have the buying power to bring this sport into public daylight. =[

my ±$0.02

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