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Slalom queen Shiffrin is not immune to the uphill battle typical of the sport

Jan. 24 (Reuters) – American Michaela Shifrin’s alpine ski show will inspire young fans, but brands can be hard to sway as riders grab a bigger share of the endorsement pie, experts said.

On Tuesday, the two-time Olympic champion scored her 83rd World Cup win, setting a women’s record for former compatriot Lindsey Vonn, in the giant slalom at the Italian resort of Kronplatz.

He now has only 86 World Cup final victories for women’s Ingmar Stenmark in the men’s Swedish slalom to surpass them in both the men’s and women’s records.

But while she’s writing herself in the history books, that doesn’t mean sponsors will open their checkbooks, even to the most famous female downhill skier.

“Company earnings from athletes in these sports — the top four, five, six are doing really well and then going down fast. And Mikaela is on top,” Tiger Shaw, former president and CEO of US Ski and Snowboard, told Reuters.

“It’s not like you’re on a big professional sports team and there’s 32 players and you’re so good and you make 10 million a year – that just doesn’t happen in our sports.”

The 27-year-old has inked deals with brands like Barilla, Visa, and Adidas — brands that would be the envy of most female athletes in the United States, where men’s professional sports take a large share of spending dollars.

But even Schiffrin could not reach him Forbes 2022 ranking of the highest paid athletesWhich included many tennis and golf stars but few from the world of winter sports, except for the Chinese freestyle skiing queen Elaine Gu.

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“Even if you’re America’s greatest alpine skier of all time, there’s not a lot of money you can get from the slopes,” said Bob Dorfman, sports marketing expert and creative director for Pinnacle Advertising.

“Also, alpine skiing now has to compete with freestyle skiing and snowboarding in the Olympics, which is attracting a younger fan base and creating a cool new group of female athletes competing for the bucks.”

world leading

Back in the States, Shiffrin has already outgrown the strength of former sports stars, including 1998 Super-G Olympic champion Peekaboo Street, six-time Winter Games medalist Bud Miller, and even Vaughn.

However, they are vying for the attention of the American public who grabbed the sport of the Winter Olympics eagerly.

NBC Universal said the Beijing Olympics drew the smallest number of primetime viewers since the Games began broadcasting, with 11.4 million primetime viewers, down 42% from its first four years.

Shaw said, “Every time you have a world leader in a sport like this who looks like he would easily surpass the record held by Ingmar Stenmark… It’s a global story”.

“And people are drawn to sports because they see you can do amazing things.”

(Reporting) By Amy Tenry in New York; Editing by Toby Davies

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.