What value could you place on an event like this? Millions? Billions ?
I don’t know how your memory hangs on but I had to go through some old files and bing/yahoo some old stories to recall of what is probably the biggest failure in the history of sports marketing.
Namely, Quiksilver lost the naming rights to what is now The Eddie Invitational, but was formerly The Quiksilver: In Memory of Eddie Aikau.
What you might not know is that The Eddie Invitational, sponsored by Quiksilver, didn’t start out as a big wave contest.
The first event was in six to eight foot waves at Sunset Beach in 1984, and only made a big splash when Quiksilver executives and Fast Eddie Rothman made it the specialty event we all know, love, etc., in Waimea Bay.
When the fifty thousand dollar prize was announced, it also became the richest surfing contest in the world.
In 2016, it felt like the event couldn’t get any better when just-crowned World Surfing Champion John John Florence cemented his claim to being the biz’s best by winning the ever sponsored by Quiksilver, albeit barely, Eddie in wild 25ft conditions.
What value could you place on an event like this?
So how did such a successful relationship, which included the lucrative sale of Eddie Aikau-Quiksilver merchandise, end up in gravel, pecking worms?
Here’s the background: the previous ten-year contract expired in the spring of 2016 and Quiksilver and the Aikau family began negotiating a new contract.
The Aikau family has been informed that a potentially better deal may be available if they shop around a bit. Red Bull were in the mix, initially, but apparently Red Bull and the WSL couldn’t find a way to play well, so they pulled out at the last minute, leaving the Aikaus without a deal.
A source told BeachGrit that several offers were submitted to Aikaus by Quiksilver, all with increased revenue sharing opportunities, but all were rejected.
But here’s the thing.
Quiksilver owned the permits for the 2015-16 contest and even considered calling it a different name to circumvent the need to involve the famous Hawaiian family.
Quiksilver played with The Quiksilver: In Memory of Jose Angel, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Todd Chesser, The Quiksilver: In Memory of Brock Little.
Anyway, it worked for 2016 but was discontinued soon after.
Has Quiksilver decided that the chances of The Eddie ever being as good as it was in 2016 are so slim that any money donated afterwards will be wasted?
The question I posed at the time was, if you were given the keys to the clothing giant that once had a debt of six hundred million dollars, would you continue to run with The Eddie?
Or would you pour the excess money into your team number one runner Matt Banting?
Quiksilver chose Banting.
Regrets, you think?