Gearing Up - March 2010

CBS Sports’ coverage of USPA’s National Collegiate Skydiving Championships, held December 28 through January 2, completed a trifecta of nationwide media coverage of national skydiving competitions. CBS Sports was taping for its “Alt Games” TV show that covers collegiate sports and competitions. The show will air later this spring. Just two months earlier, the USPA National Skydiving Championships hosted a film crew from “Good Morning America” who taped footage for an upcoming segment. USPA’s National Canopy Piloting Championships began the trend in 2008 when ABC News sent a team to capture swooping for a segment Charles Gibson introduced on the evening news.

Gaining national coverage of skydiving events is just one component of USPA’s sport promotion efforts, with the goal of achieving positive coverage in as many local, regional and national media outlets as we can reach. That reach is extensive every year, generating hours of TV coverage, hundreds of magazine articles and newspaper stories, and tens of thousands of words for an audience that numbers in the millions. The theory is that somewhere along the way, a TV segment, newspaper article or magazine piece is going to prompt a number of people to finally act on their long-held desire to make a skydive.

While it is difficult to make a direct correlation between an article’s publication and the number of first-jump customers that result, anecdotal evidence tells us the link is undeniable. For the second year in a row, the majority of drop zones reported an increase in the number of first-jump customers over the previous year. Something is making more people make that first jump, and though the reasons can vary, USPA’s sport promotion efforts are clearly key. Sure, most don’t make a second jump (something many of us are working to address), but quite a few do, eventually becoming skydivers and USPA members.

For many years, USPA has had to contract its PR efforts, which have been successful by any measure. Beginning this year, USPA moved some of those efforts in-house with the addition of a full-time staff member—Nancy Koreen—dedicated to outreach efforts as Director of Sport Promotion. If her name is familiar, it’s because Nancy served with USPA for 10 years—eight of them as Parachutist’s editor. Now she’s back, in a very different role.

The new position allows USPA to increase our promotional efforts in a number of areas. We’ll have expanded opportunities to get a positive skydiving image out to a wider array of media outlets and the public in general. Group Member DZs will get beefed-up assistance with their marketing efforts. We’ll develop new strategies to try to retain a greater number of those first-jump customers as skydivers. We’ll also look for new ways for members to communicate with USPA. To kick things off, if you have suggestions for ways we can continue to promote the sport or if you know of a local skydiving event that would provide a good sport-promotion opportunity, e-mail your ideas to sportpromo@uspa.org.

We’re excited that we can expand our efforts in these areas, but we owe having this opportunity to you. We couldn’t do it without the growing and continued support of USPA members.

Blue skies,

Ed Scott | D-13532 | USPA Executive Director

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