Op Ed – Who Will Suffer From Lost Sponsors

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Over the past few weeks it has been reported that many companies have decided to pull their financial support from USA Gymnastics due to all the controversy surrounding the Larry Nassar fiasco.

Procter & Gamble
Photo: Twitter

The Orange County Register first reported in the beginning of December that Kellogg’s and  Proctor and Gamble were going to pull their support from USA Gymnastics.

Proctor and Gamble has been the leading financial sponsor for National Championships for the past 5 years.  According to ESPN.com, Proctor and Gamble is currently evaluating their options to renew their partnership with USA Gymnastics or not.

After the past couple of Olympic Games, Kellogg’s has sponsored the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions.  With 2 more years to go before the next Olympics, maybe Kellogg’s will reconsider and show their support of our Olympic Athletes.

The following is part of a statement provided to ESPN;

“Procter & Gamble and Kellogg’s have decided they can no longer support an organization which refuses to take responsibility for the crimes committed by their National Team doctor and their failure to warn others of his criminal conduct,” the three said in a statement.”

According to ESPN.com, Hershey’s only has a few days left until their contract for financial support runs out and they have shown no interest in renewing their support.

Under Armour
Photo: twitter.com

With a contract that runs through 2020, Under Armour  may be terminating their support early as reported by ESPN.com.

Under Armour has been the supplier of apparel for USA Gymnastics National Team members.

In the statement provided to ESPN by Procter and Gamble and Kellogg’s, they go on to say;

“Hershey’s, Under Armour, AT&T, United Airlines and NBC Sports should put their money where America’s conscience is and withdraw their financial support of this organization until their officers and directors are replaced by people who will protect the health and safety of child athletes.”

USA Gymnastics told ESPN, “While USA Gymnastics entered into certain sponsorship agreements that have been fulfilled, we are now discussing renewal opportunities that will reflect our commitment to creating a culture of empowerment focused on athlete safety and other important initiatives,” USA Gymnastics said. “We value our longstanding partnerships with all of our corporate partners, and we look forward to working together with them to make a positive difference in our athletes’ lives.”

As reported by The Orange County Register, for the 2016 fiscal year USA Gymnastics showed revenues of over $34 million with 35% of that ($9.4+ million) coming from marketing revenue.  Demonstrating that corporate sponsors play a major role in the financial stability of the organization.

But who will actually suffer the most from the loss of money from these corporate sponsors?

It won’t be the employees of USA Gymnastics; who were paid out almost $5 million in salaries and compensation/benefits in 2016 according to The Orange County Register, or the Board of Directors of USA Gymnastics.

Those that will suffer the most will be the athletes and the fans!

All of the apparel worn by our National Teams is paid for by Under Armour.

The warm-ups and leotards, at least for the Women, are supplied by GK and has the Under Armour logo on it.

Olympic leotards funded by Under Armour.
Photo: usmagazine.com

Now what will the athletes wear since the outfits they currently have can no longer be worn?  Who will off set the costs for the apparel, the athletes?

The Men have an international competition within the next month.  It will be interesting to see what they wear.  Maybe an apparel company will step-up and outfit our athletes so that they can represent their country and fans in international competition.

For many national competitions, the athletes have to pay an entry fee in order to participate and compete.  One of the few competitions they do not have to pay to entry is National Championships.

But if Procter & Gamble pull their sponsorship, where will the money come from to produce the event?  Will the athletes have to pay an entry fee and will ticket prices to the event significantly increase hitting the fans in their wallets?

The athletes already pay so much for training and training related expenses.  Why would it be fair to them to tack on another expense that isn’t their fault?

I am sure fans would want to support their athletes and teams BUT increased tickets prices could turn many of these fans away from attending the event.

Then there is the question, what if funds can not be raised to hold National Championships at a large arena?  Will National Championships be moved to a smaller venue, like the Ranch?  If that occurs, then fans will definitely miss out on the competition!

There are so many unanswered questions heading into this new season.

The fans and more importantly, the athletes must have some many questions about what is going to happen without all this funding.  The athletes especially should not have to worry about this!

USA Gymnastics must be scrambling to put out this fire, among all the other wild fires they have ablaze right now.

Maybe USA Gymnastics needs to tighten their belt and not give themselves raises, bonuses, gifts, etc. and instead funnel that money to the athletes!

As new information comes out, we will surely keep all our Gym Blog Central and gymnastics fans up to date on all the latest news & information.

 

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