Risk is sky high
for all competitors at the Red Bull Rampage, and only the top finishers receive compensation for their performances. Traditionally, freeride competitions have been Winner-Take-All formats, but it could be argued that the losers are as important to the show as the victorious few who walk away with the paychecks. Competitors' crashes and failed runs add excitement and drama to the show, and more importantly, they form a framework from which viewers and judges can assess the difficulty and creativity of the winning athletes' efforts.
Helicopter operators, cinematographers, announcers, caterers, and production staff are paid well for their services and it is laughable that any of those would be required to put their lives on the line to ensure that the event achieves the desired goals for peak views and product placement. The riders do lay their lives down for the competition, they do it for free, and they pay their own ways for that opportunity. Do or die, the promotors cash in on every rider's performance.
The logic here is that all competitors play crucial roles in the Red Bull Rampage competition. Their teams build the jump lines. The riders deliver their performances and even double as cinematographers, because they are required to hand over their POV footage to Red Bull. That footage, as well as the stills and video productions that are produced from the events, automatically belongs to Red Bull and will be viewed by millions of fans for years continuing after the competition is staged. In all fairness, every competitor who qualifies and puts in one or both runs should be amply compensated as a professional performer for participating in the Red Bull Circus - or any FMB event for that matter. It's a sin that they aren't already.
Red Bull Weighs In:Pinkbike received a response to this poll from Red Bull Media House, saying that for this year's Rampage, they have increased the pro purse, and added free camping and concessions for the dig teams. I'd say that its a good first step. Now, at least the finalists will be able to cover food and fuel and basic expenses. Here's Red Bull's updated prize list for the upcoming Rampage. - RC
• The prize purse has increased by $25K from 2014 to 2015
• New for 2015, the People’s Choice Winner will also receive a brand new Polaris RZR
• In the past, Rampage paid down to the Top 12 competitors, but this year has decided to pay out the Top 24. That means anyone who makes the finals will walk away with at least $1,000.
• The Top 10 finalists from last year’s event, as well as the Top 10 riders currently in FMB points, have their hotel costs covered for the week.
• Concessions have even been made for the dig teams where free camping has been provided for them, relieving costs previously incurred by athletes or the diggers themselves.
• Diggers receive free lunch all week.
• A welcome dinner and party for athletes and diggers, as well as a closing party, is provided.
"We have made great strides this year in trying to support the athletes in addition to the higher purse prize. In the past, it was difficult for lodging and hospitality for the dig crews, but we made sure to make good on that this year and provide them with amenities to help ease the burden on the riders and their crew. "
That peeves me off.
How about, 'Be involved in our event and have the reassurance knowing that we have you covered if anything goes wrong because we're already making shitloads of $ out of you.' Red bull need to step up their game.
If so, Redbull is a scumbag for allowing this, and riders are basically brainless
You really can't compare this to most other sports because it's just not the same. Not too many other sports are set up to have just a bunch of individual events. There's normally a league of some sort and a players union independent from the actual teams and sponsors that covers these riders.
Also, whose to say these riders even have teams? Sure most do, but they could easily invite people that don't have teams. And even if someone has an individual sponsor, a company throwing a guy a free bike every year isn't really a "team".
Redbull has the money to cover the insurance, even if it is exorbitant. Dietrich Mateschitz is worth over $12 BILLION and recently bought a $1.7 Billion dollar submarine that he keeps on his private island near Fiji...
Also, the riders build the majority of the course, with the exception of a couple large jumps/props. I wouldn't say, hey come build a UCI downhill course, race it, hand over all your footage, and if you win than I'll pay you for your week of hard work. Its not a good system. Its one thing if its an invitational, they fronted the bill for all the course prep, lodging, give you rights to at least use your footage, and you show up and race for a prize.
I agree with the insurance game too, but unfortunately its all to common in extreme sports. x-game doesn't provide it either. On the other hand, Formula 1 pays out full insurance for every event and they have a lot more to cover. So do most other automotive race organizations, as the venues require it. Unfortunately most power sport and human powered organizations don't.
MTB also needs one and the above would be taken care of! ^^^^^^
Red Bull before all the NBC and video rights nonsense, sponsored the Rampage event from the beginning. They're a big reason why it ever came to fruition. Ultimately the riders know exactly what they're signing up for and just like every other very dangerous freeride event before (Chatel, Monster Park, etc.) its up to the rider to decide how much they want to push themselves and how much they want to risk. At Rampage, this is in their hands more as most of their line is determined and built by themselves. They're not doing it to put on a good show for Red Bull, they're doing it for themselves or in some cases, for their own sponsors/career. IF Red Bull is actually responsible for a rider's injury due to negligence of course design (say a poorly built pre-made feature) or poor on-site medical response, its possible for that rider to sue for damages but that's the only case where a title sponsor should be liable.
This is no different than the FWT where participants have actually died, and recently, at multiple stops. The ultimate choice to accept an invite or to qualify to compete is on the rider. I'd love to see the rider's sponsors step up with insurance coverage but for some, that's simply not the reality of the situation and never will be. The most realistic change would be a deeper payout. I mean with all the millions they spend putting this thing on, they can afford an extra 5 grand to pepper the final's list with.
I think we're forgetting that these athletes are not mindless dumb creatures that do an event's or sponsor's bidding at every chance. They do have a CHOICE and most of these people are not competing for any other reason than having the honor to be part of such a legendary event and the exposure that comes with it. These riders competing want to push themselves or they want to win and that's how its always been regardless of the POV rights or how much the payout is. Some of these riders do the same or equally as gnarly shit for filming, that's just how they are. Saying they should be provided insurance is a nice gesture but at the end of the day, this sport regardless of what you choose to do, is inherently dangerous, we all know this and have known this and an event's sponsor should never be responsible for the actions of the participants. They're only responsible to showcase what happens at the event and to minimize the risk as much as they reasonably can. Since they're the reason why the event is even taking place, there should be zero gripes about what they do or own (POV footage for instance)... although I find it to be weird if a rider cannot use their own footage at any future point in time, if that's the case.
That's just my onion though.
At the end of the day, without the athletes there wouldn't be an event and, because there is no option for the athletes other than to ride and accept the crappy pay (even the winner is disgustingly under paid, never mind the guys in 10th or 20th spot) it isn't going to change and that sucks. They do have a "CHOICE" as you so charmingly emphasised but that choice is to ride or to change careers.
The backlash you speak of, I feel, is highly overstated. The backlash facing a sponsor or company for forcing a rider into a very uncomfortable position where that rider faces high consequences would be big as a business decision and a PR one. What's worth more to the sponsor? A rider who chose not to be injured and not compete, or a rider who competed, got injured and cannot ride for the next 5 months? Pilgrim still had a choice to compete or not and as he showed, he took a year off to focus on other things while still retaining a fair amount of support after the fact. I have yet to see a sponsor get pissed off because a rider made the smart decision not to compete for whatever reason in such a high risk event. You can only make that statement if you actually have a rider who speaks out claiming that's what happened.
And yes, the bottom line is that freeriding was never meant to be a career and we're lucky it ever got to this point. If the risk isn't worth the reward and you're only doing it to make a living, then yes you should definitely find another career that better suits your preferences because that's an insanely bad idea. There's absolutely no shame in that because freeriding is extremely dangerous and if you do make it to that level, its because you have a deep passion and drive to be that good. No one is forcing these riders to push themselves and risk their lives, only they have that power.
i agree with paying deeper in prize money but to get that up you need a revenue stream. hard to ask for any of this when the largest viewing audience gets it all and in some cases expects it for free. FEST series. for riders by riders. not one peep about coverage there and they're going pretty damn big. RedBull media is a marketing platform for sponsors. they create the events. I'm sure there are liability release forms for all of their events.
Look at Rocky Mountain Bikes. Huge investment in Simmons, Tippie, Vanderham, Gullevich. And those guys have been with them for years. Racing, competing, putting life on the line. And they are still there. Why? Because RM respects and takes care of them. They treat them as professionals. They promote them, provide opportunities for them. When they are sick/injured, are still part of the team. And as they grow older are still utilized and compensated for R&D.
YT Industries is a new player with big name riders attached, most of whom have bounced around sponsor to sponsor for the best deal. The bikes are affordable. Good company to keep an eye on to see where the compromise is. Will the riders stay? Will they be taken care of? Will you be taken care of as a consumer should a problem arise?
You as a consumer can choose to support whatever you want. But pretty much everyone on this free forum forgets that. You want free high resolution desk top images. You want to watch free movies. And you complain that a base model dirt bike costs less than a top shelf pro model mountain bike. This is a consumer driven industry. Do some research into what kind of company you are buying into when you are in the market for your next frame. If energy drink companies offend you, stop drinking that stuff. If government bailout is bad don't drive a Chevy. Opinions are a dime a dozen. Think deeper and vote with your dollar because that is all most companies are paying attention to.
It isn't logical that redbull would provide health insurance. What is logical is paying every rider a fee just for showing up, and having prize money be a bonus on top of that. That way every rider is making enough money to be able to afford their own high risk medical coverage. These riders are creating content in the form of video for redbull, and should all be compensated accordingly.
A guy like Will White, on the other hand, would show up whether you paid him, or made him pay to enter. Red Bull could probably give a shit less if he's there or not, and if they don't have to pay him, why would they? If you want to get paid, there are a couple options. Form some type of union, and boycott some events until you feel you're all being fairly compensated (or more likely you realize that no one actually cares about you, and the broadcasting/contest side of the sport dies- booo hooo), Second option: be one of the best, so that sponsors actually take care of you (hopefully you're gifted genetically if you choose this one). Third option, which I'd recommend, is find a career path that interests you, benefits the world, and leaves you with lots of free time to ride bikes, then go get an education and follow said path. If the industry won't change then you should.
A. The coverage is spot on. Not their fault i know but clearly preventable
B. All the money people pay to watch is split between the riders. If people who make the live feed get a higher percentage so be it its an incentive for them. £5 may not make a massive difference to me, but if only 20,000 watch it thats £100,000 into the riders pockets. It shouldnt be us paying but as mentioned we dont have the big money sponsors in mountain biking
Take some thing like ( and I have competed in it ) BAJA 1000 or even the Dakar. Much larger events, much larger audience, sponsors, tv coverage, but ALL the participants, including top pros/teams actually PAY a ton of money to just enter, and in Dakar you have to be invited or qualify based on performance. Min $10K to do BAJA1000 and probably around $70K to race Dakar. Privateers mortgage their houses just to take part.
And in both of these races, competitors die pretty much every year/race.
So why do athletes line up to take part in these?
As I think about all this it seems there are two kinds of events. The type where "acts" ( bands, athletes, etc ) are paid to come and do it because there are fans that are paying at the door to come see them, and the money these fans provide goes to create the event and to the acts. ( nitro circus, your typical concert, music festivals, etc ) On the other side of the spectrum you have your local grass roots race organizer that struggles and works for free to put on an event so riders can pay a small fee to race/take part in.
Rampage is somewhere in the middle as they don't have paying fans or paying competitors. I suppose if we as fans all chipped in to view our favorite athletes in the show, just like we would to see a concert, they could be stoked.
Should we put our money where our mouth is and start a fund. If you watch the rampage show, kick in money, and it all goes to the "band"?
It would be awesome to see more athletes with proper coverage like what Northman offers, I woudlnt wish what I went through on anyone.
The riders are not "idiots," too dumb to realize they are being exploited, but conversely, they are also not yet in a position to demand anything substantial of anyone (team or organizer), be it prize money or insurance coverage as a precondition to riding.
ASO & Redbull alike see riders as a disposable commodity for their spectacle. ASO is arrogant enough to say it outright "The Tour makes the champion, not vice versa." The problem in both MTB & road sport is the lack of self confidence, foresight, and cohesiveness necessary for the riders as a collective to prove to the suits that without *talent of the highest order* not to mention starpower, an event is nothing.
If the entire upper-echelon of a sport boycotts, fans know it, and they tune out.
MLB, NFL, NBA & other American bigleague athletes get it: when they don't get what they feel is a fair deal, they walk out, *as a collective* and the suits have no choice but to negotiate, because they know the truth: no Lebron, no spectators.
If the entire invite list at Rampage would stand up & say to Redbull: "no insurance, no riders" you'd better believe Redbull would find a way to make it happen.
Everyone knows there isn't as much money in cycling as in other sports, but until you collectivize and force the monopoly rights-owners to sit down at the table and negotiate how big the riders' slice will be, you will never get a true glimpse of just how big of a pie the organizers have been hogging all these years.
MLB sold more than 80 million tickets last year. Average ticket price for Red Socks , $50.
Cyclocross events in Belgium & Sixdays events are examples of cycling events driven by ticket sales revenue.
The Tour de France doesn't sell tickets, but has the cycling world's most lucrative TV contracts. Those contracts are just as worthless as an empty stadium if the spectators simply decide an event is not worth viewing.
If the entire top 40 of both Rampage & the TdF decided to boycott the events, I wouldn't watch, nor would most fans I know.
Rampage is even more difficult to gauge financially than the TdF (where everyone knows how much the TV stations paid for broadcasting rights), but that does not mean it does not have value to RedBull as part of their action-sports brand, and that brand has become a *major* business venture in its own right, independent from the business of selling caffeinated beverages.
MTB is a rather small business as far as spectator sports go, but Redbull & GoPro are the hottest lifestyle brands on the planet, and Freeride MTB is one of the crown jewels in their marketing showcase.
If the riders would band together, and collectively demand insurance, appearance fees, and a prize purse more commensurate with their risks, better believe Redbull would make them a better offer rather than lose the image rights to a full year's worth of marketing material.
We're talking increases in the thousands-range for companies worth billions. You do the math.
Somehow I doubt that. Rampage stuff goes "viral" from time to time but compared to all their other ventures, I highly doubt freeride MTB is one of their crown jewels. Red Bull is into some seriously popular stuff and they have a wide range of different pies they have their fingers in. The same goes with GoPro.
None of this has *anything* to do with participation, or even spectator counts for these events.
In the world of modern media empires, "impressions" are what count. The bigger the eye-candy, the bigger the crown jewel.
What I'm trying to do is to critically look at the variables that work for those other sport athletes, and in so we can then figure out how to apply some of those aspects to mtb.
You can't just fast-track to pretending mountain biking matters to the masses, and tell people to pay $30 to watch a world cup stream, or Rampage, because basically no one would pay to watch (yes I know you people reading this might (news flash- you are a microscopic minority in the world of professional sports fans). As frustrating as it is,everyone needs to chill out and wait, and let mountain biking grow on it's own. You can't just look at other sports with high paid athletes- leagues that went through decades of growing pains- and say, "We're just as talented, we should get paid as much." It doesn't work that way.
It might make it there, someday, where a young gun like Loris Vergier becomes a household name in the future. More likely though it will become like skateboarding and bmx, where the sport is so over-saturated with insanely talented people, that only the few standout guys at the top of the world make more per year than the guy working the Wendy's drive thru. The main curse in my mind goes back to my first line: heritage, or lack thereof. Teams thrive off local pride, they thrive off geographical rivalries, and most importantly, they have a potentially infinite lifespan. A professional golfer even can have a successful 30+ year career. Mountain bikers, bmxers, skiers- they rarely last long enough to become a brand name. If half the players on the Pittsburgh Steelers tear their ACL tomorrow, the Steelers will still finish the season, and people will be just as excited to buy their season tickets for next year. Transversely, if Thomas Genon blows out his knee two seasons in a row and then gets a bad concussion, he'll quickly fade into the abyss. Teams get bigger and brighter with time, individual athletes get old and broken.
I typed way more than I intended. oops
(Sorry for bringing up golf.)
If you want them to get paid more then send them some cash over PayPal. That's essentially what Red Bull would be doing by paying the riders that are willing to show up and throw down for free. The only difference is that Red Bull has more money than you.
The athletes are the ones devaluing themselves by agreeing to perform for free, but the athletes aren't publicly complaining about their compensation, so perhaps they're perfectly content with their salaries and lifestyle. Just seems ridiculous for you as a person on a free website, who watches an event on a free stream, to complain that the company that organizes and streams the event doesn't compensate the athletes enough; especially when the athletes aren't even themselves complaining.
You could be the best milk carton stacker in the world, and love every minute of it, but that doesn't mean you automatically are entitled to be compensated for it. If no one cares, no one is paying money, and no one is making money.
Yes, 100% of people who watch Rampage care about biking. Unfortunately, 100% of people who watch Rampage equates to about 0.0001% of people who watch ESPN. When I say no one cares, I don't mean no one here. I mean no one in the real world.
"At the release of our 2012 World's Billionaires list, Mateschitz had an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion, a fortune amassed solely from Red Bull. The company now has stakes in two soccer teams, Red Bull Salzburg and the New York Red Bulls, and Formula One squad, Red Bull Racing.Oct 15, 2012"
Paying these riders shouldn't be a poll question on a bike site.
Waaaaaay behind, Redbull
I'm all for riders being taken care of but have to agree that it's something to work out with their individual sponsors.
Prize purse for the winners an royalties for all competitors
Step up redbull
We all know that rampage would still happen without sponsorship
Oh, and ALL entrants should have FULL medical regardless of anything
FULL f*ckING MEDICAL
They run TWO F1 teams... And the rest!
When a song gets played on radio or a TV ad for instance. The artist get pennies, if even that. An redbull can't afford it?
Nah I ain't buying that
An I think we all agree on the medical cover.
Funny how all the people that are bitching are the ones with no skin in the game.........If the riders think they all need to be paid and Redbull doesn't, then why do the riders show up year after year?
Really, what does Red Bull actually do at these comps other than provide a name?
For example I don't think Red Bull is really coming away from Rampage with some massive profit. Same goes for the World Cup events they sponsor. Part of me is just glad they're willing to sponsor the events at all. If Red Bull didn't put on rampage, I don't think there'd be many companies lining up to sponsor it after them. It costs more money to put on these events than people think and what they get coming back is mainly just advertisement to:
a. mountain bikers who watch the event / whatever other people know about and want to watch it online
b. the people who might see the a video clip from it on youtube/on a talk show/etc.
c. the people who see it when they play it at 4 in the afternoon (not exactly prime time) or whatever it is on nbc months later.
as well as money from the people who buy tickets to come watch.
A fair amount of viewership obviously but you can't compare it to Nitro Circus live or the NFL or supercross, all filling up stadiums selling tons of seats and, for most of those events, broadcast time.
Of course I'd love to see the athletes get paid a lot more, I just think there's more too the argument than saying "Red Bull is greedy" and "they have so much money they should give the riders some".
Because the Rampage is one of the most popular and most streamed Action Sports events on the planet, and they are embarrassed about what the prize money is for the athletes.
Standing on the Rampage podium with the free sandwich Redbull gave the riders is a better representation of the minimal pay riders get!
Should on-site spectators get free drinks?
Should we feel guilty for staring at the screen and saying "oh shit" whenever a rider crashes, all the while happily grabbing some more chips?
For a one off competition an appearance fee seems most sensible. For a series, which I think rampage could easily deliver, perhaps three or four stages around the world, Then a contract of for each appearance could be the way forward. This would help local hero types (Wildcards) to enter with out the backing of a big sponsor.
Yes red bull make the event happen but like every other cycling event who gets paid just for entering a competition?
That said because of the nature of the contest surely some medical coverage should be standard?
What do privateer racers do in any motorsports, esp privateer supercross/motocross?
If everyone gets paid, then imagine how many people would want to join...
If Red Bull comes up with a scheme of pay-per-view from the POV fottage, this could act as an incentive for people to take uncalculated risks expecting a higher view rate and thus higher compensation
If everyone gets paid the incentive for the top performes is diminished and thus the show will lose part of its "push the boundaries" mentality
I don't think that the primary reason for people joining Red Bull Rampage is the paycheck
Insurance companies do not insure people for competing in events where there is compensation.
Still not decided on what would be best...
Heck, a college baseball pitcher can have JUST HIS THROWING ARM insured for MILLIONS just in case he gets hurt before he can move up to the pros and make millions by playing...
now we all rode dh we all crashed and i personally find it hard to watch...i can feel the pain and its a little hard core ...for me ( i broke a few parts in my riding years...)
i know it's live broadcast and it is part of the game like a good reality show
however i feel sympathy for those elite riders that risk themself for breaking the borders...
The riders are getting paid in exposure. They'd love to get paid in cash, but instead they are willing to pay to come instead of staying home, and Redbull knows it.
I'm not saying it's just, but the riders are betting that their performance will pay off in the form of a raise in pay from sponsors, new sponsors etc.
Just the mention of Will White here is proof, because without Rampage most would never have heard of him. Unfortunately, he hasn't done well enough with that exposure to get sponsors to pay him. McGarry did the opposite, maximizing his exposure.
Until the top riders are in enough demand on their time (events, commercials, video shoots or just risk/reward) that they choose not to come to Rampage cash payments probably won't happen.
You don't see many DH racers there because it's not worth the risk to their livelihood. If the prize was $1,000,000, you'd probably see a lot more people want to compete.
Most of the guys that do compete would otherwise be digging jumps or "zones" for video shoots or for fun because they chose the sport separate from it's salaries.
HOWEVER, it's ridiculously dangerous and redbull should compensate riders for that, because they should be grateful people are even willing to enter such a crazy tournament anyway, and I imagine they make a fairly hefty sum of money, however I have no idea on how tickets are concerned work. I think all revenue from it goes to the riders, and should be fair apart from podiums of course
On the flipside, it really does show how much the riders care about the actual sport and the achievement more than the money. You don't usually see such admirable priorities in the elite sporting world!
should everyone participate in a general health insurance?
And the only rational answer is YES.
If Red Bull compensates for Rampage athletes then they would have to do so for every other event they sponsor.
Also, no athlete is forced to undertake this event. They all agree to it. I'm pretty sure they are well aware of the dangers they face.
I believe that any pro athlete that wants to do an event like this should have insurance. I believe the top 5 should be compensated...first place getting the most $$$ paid for by Red Bull.
It would be nice if their sponsors paid them a little extra for participating in this event but that should be written in every athletes contract from the beginning.
So, just because Red Bull makes a lot of money doesn't mean they can just carelessly spend their money. A company has to thrive and survive...business 101. Already, Red Bull does a lot for extreme sports I don't believe they should be condemned because they are not compensating all of the participating athletes.
Every part of mtb is dangerous but it is calculated risk (or should be). These riders aren't dumb. Give them some credit for the decisions they make.
If you are partaking in any dangerous activity with no insurance sorted, off your own back or your sponsors, you my friend are an idiot.
(edit) fest series needs rampage like locations
I-RIDE-SECIALiZED, DRINK REDBULL, DRIVE FORD TRUCKS, EAT MCDONALDS AND AM ALSO BITCH TO VARIOUS OTHER CORPORATIONS