Slopestyle Riders Boycott Crankworx Rotorua Because of Low Prize Pay, Lack of Appearance Fee

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sspomer
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Edited Date/Time 3/22/2024 4:08pm

From crankworx.com

https://www.crankworx.com/news/crankworx-rotorua-mens-slopestyle-event/
Rotorua, New Zealand – 23 March 2024 – Crankworx wishes to inform our fans, participants, and the wider community of recent developments regarding the upcoming Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship event scheduled for this Sunday.

The male competitors of the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship event on Sunday, March 24, have decided not to participate in this year’s competition. This decision came after a series of negotiations aimed at addressing Rider requests around renumeration and support infrastructure.

We are committed to delivering an exceptional experience at Crankworx Rotorua, with a full schedule of events still set to go ahead. This includes the first-ever Women’s Diamond Level Slopestyle World Championship event, along with other competitive and community events that celebrate the rich culture of mountain biking, giving the next generation a platform to ride and compete.

The flagship event for Crankworx 2024 – the monumental Diamond Level Women’s Slopestyle World Championship event, will proceed as planned. We look forward to showcasing their talent and passion for the sport.

We respect the athletes’ decision and remain committed to fostering a positive and supportive environment for all athletes within the Crankworx community. While we have been listening, onsite feedback has shown that some male Slopestyle athletes feel that their voices have not been heard by the event organizers when it comes to weather and course-build decisions. Crankworx is committed to giving all athletes a stage and decision-making power by establishing frameworks and processes as well as continuing to have an open line of communication between the riders and the Crankworx management team. Despite a 10% increase in prize money from 2023 to 2024 for Crankworx Rotorua, and similar increases for other Crankworx World Tour festivals, the athletes also demanded the establishment of an appearance fee for all male athletes as well as another significant raise of the prize money across all Crankworx World Tour festivals. Whilst the Crankworx World Tour agreed to an additional prize money raise for Crankworx Rotorua, bringing it to a 37% increase (compared to 2023) after conversations and negotiations with the athletes, this offer has been refused and countered by the male athletes. Given the structure of the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) and the framework the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship operates in as a professional sport, Crankworx cannot effectuate an appearance fee or an additional prize money increase as demanded by the male athletes.

We know many will be disappointed that the men’s category of the event will not proceed as planned. Crankworx Rotorua extends its gratitude to our partners, volunteers, and the wider mountain biking community for their continued support. We remain dedicated to the sport of mountain biking and to delivering events that reflect the passion, unity, and incredible talent of our global community.

For those affected by the change in the event lineup, please contact rotorua@crankworx.com

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JerseyMojo
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3/22/2024 4:09pm

Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and demand an appearance fee…

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dolface
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3/22/2024 4:10pm
JerseyMojo wrote:
Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and...

Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and demand an appearance fee…

Rampage afaik...

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3/22/2024 4:30pm
JerseyMojo wrote:
Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and...

Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and demand an appearance fee…

This is what essentially tore the golf world in half. Do you get paid to show up no matter what or do you get paid to win? The difference is golf pays half the field at least something. 

Despite Crankworx paying out significantly more than a world cup, or any other MTB event for that matter, no one has beaten Emil in like 4 years. Then Godziek comes on the scene and is essentially a podium lock which leaves the rest of the field competing for one paycheque. 

Appearance fees are a slippery slope, I could see the podium contenders taking all the budget and the rest still have to "make a name for themselves". That would only further swing the majority of the money to a select few in the group. 

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RadAxSmirch
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3/22/2024 4:46pm

I don't think I'm being insensitive, but should you get an appearance fee for competing in what is a world cup freeride event? 

It's not like it's a Nitro Circus or Masters of Dirt show.

Furthermore, the Belgians pay big money to have a Van der Poel or an Iserbyt to turn up and race CX, the non podium contenders get peanuts. If the slope guys want appearance fees, they'd better be careful what they wish for.

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Stewyeww
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3/22/2024 4:59pm

Weather they get what they want or not is not something that I will loose sleep over, but good on them for sticking together to prove a point. 

 

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k.smith
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3/22/2024 5:06pm
JerseyMojo wrote:
Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and...

Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and demand an appearance fee…

No you haven’t, that’s what the damn sponsors are there for 

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NY_Star
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3/22/2024 5:21pm

Without the athletes you do not have a show to put on... So ya, they should be paid a base amount to compete, that goes for all professional disciplines where a gate fee is charged to watch the event.

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3/22/2024 5:30pm

In the past the slope style athletes were the only ones that got their trips paid for as well as the highest prize money of all events, is that not the case any more? 

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LePigPen
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3/22/2024 5:36pm

I keep seeing narratives pop up that course design and weather are involved in this somehow. Is that just BS someone started and every one is running with? Or has it played a part somehow?

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aleddunn
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3/22/2024 5:47pm

Love all these people claiming that the riders are wrong for asking for this. 
 

These guys put their life on the line for crankworx and redbull to make money. They should receive an appearance fee.  
 

It’s the pinnacle of the sport. I sure as hell wouldn’t be doing backflips off two story buildings, but I’d race the same track that the downhill guys do. So don’t make that comparison. 

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3/22/2024 5:52pm

"This decision came after a series of negotiations aimed at addressing Rider requests around renumeration and support infrastructure."

Should be 'remuneration.' Guess Crankworx doesn't have the budget for spellcheck either.

Anyway... Who's got a list of prize payouts for all the various events and the number of competitors? What's the total prize purse and what would it look like if some of that were repurposed as appearance fees? Let's put some numbers to this question.

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Raine
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3/22/2024 6:34pm

Wow... I was already in the process of planning my trip to Whistler not only to ride, but to see my favorite riders in the Crankworx event this year. Of course everything is priced higher (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.) due to the event, but I figured it's worth it to see all the pros compete. 

I feel bad for any spectator who paid a premium to get all the way to Rotorua to be a part of the event... only to see the pros protest and bow out like that.

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boozed
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3/22/2024 6:36pm Edited Date/Time 3/22/2024 8:28pm
JerseyMojo wrote:
Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and...

Not sure how I feel about an appearance fee. Do any other disciplines get appearance fees? Doesn’t seem right to me to enter a competition and demand an appearance fee…

While no athlete is ever owed a living by anyone, when (edit: or if) the organisers are making money by selling tickets and advertising, then the competitors are absolutely within their rights to expect appearance fees, IMNSHO.  The riders are the singular reason the whole circus exists!

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3/22/2024 7:23pm

Given the current climate in the bike industry possibly not the best timing. This sport is so rich with talent all around the world there are thousands of capable riders that will show up and perform very well. 

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3/22/2024 7:30pm
Raine wrote:
Wow... I was already in the process of planning my trip to Whistler not only to ride, but to see my favorite riders in the Crankworx...

Wow... I was already in the process of planning my trip to Whistler not only to ride, but to see my favorite riders in the Crankworx event this year. Of course everything is priced higher (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.) due to the event, but I figured it's worth it to see all the pros compete. 

I feel bad for any spectator who paid a premium to get all the way to Rotorua to be a part of the event... only to see the pros protest and bow out like that.

Agree.  Signed up to do an event under sponsor contract you do the event. If you don't like the deal don't go to the event.  

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dknapton
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3/22/2024 7:41pm

Saw a few posts mentioning ticket prices and a gate to watch the event. Not sure what it's like in NZ but Whistler Crankworx has always been free to spectate, it's streamed for free. 

I've heard before that most of these Red Bull events don't really make any money straight up from these events, but that they're all viewed as marketing. 

While I agree that riders should be properly compensated, I feel like it's up to the riders to market themselves better to help themselves make their living. They should be leveraging the fact they are in the biggest contests to help promote themselves. Appearance fees for the contest circuit seems like the wrong spot to put your effort into. 

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3/22/2024 7:49pm
dknapton wrote:
Saw a few posts mentioning ticket prices and a gate to watch the event. Not sure what it's like in NZ but Whistler Crankworx has always...

Saw a few posts mentioning ticket prices and a gate to watch the event. Not sure what it's like in NZ but Whistler Crankworx has always been free to spectate, it's streamed for free. 

I've heard before that most of these Red Bull events don't really make any money straight up from these events, but that they're all viewed as marketing. 

While I agree that riders should be properly compensated, I feel like it's up to the riders to market themselves better to help themselves make their living. They should be leveraging the fact they are in the biggest contests to help promote themselves. Appearance fees for the contest circuit seems like the wrong spot to put your effort into. 

Well said. 

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Big Bird
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3/22/2024 7:49pm

Some of you are missing the fact that the riders aren't asking their frame and parts sponsors to pay more. Just Red Bull, who make a mint off of these life threatening events.

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3/22/2024 7:51pm
Raine wrote:
Wow... I was already in the process of planning my trip to Whistler not only to ride, but to see my favorite riders in the Crankworx...

Wow... I was already in the process of planning my trip to Whistler not only to ride, but to see my favorite riders in the Crankworx event this year. Of course everything is priced higher (flights, hotels, rental cars, etc.) due to the event, but I figured it's worth it to see all the pros compete. 

I feel bad for any spectator who paid a premium to get all the way to Rotorua to be a part of the event... only to see the pros protest and bow out like that.

which is why we like the DH event as the first one and much earlier... you turn up for the DH then forget about the rest haha

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3/22/2024 8:02pm Edited Date/Time 3/22/2024 8:06pm

If the fans are paying a gate fee, the riders should be getting paid at a minimum to show up. Like every other stick and ball sport with a paid venue. The lowest level MLS guys and CFL guys doing it for the "love of the game" with small niche audiences are still getting enough salary to pay rent, even though it is terrible pay compared to big USA league sports.

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dknapton
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3/22/2024 8:05pm
If the fans are paying a gate fee, the riders should be getting paid at a minimum to show up. Like every other stick and ball...

If the fans are paying a gate fee, the riders should be getting paid at a minimum to show up. Like every other stick and ball sport with a paid venue. The lowest level MLS guys and CFL guys doing it for the "love of the game" with small niche audiences are still getting enough salary to pay rent, even though it is terrible pay compared to big USA league sports.

They're not paying a gate fee though. I haven't heard of one mountain bike event that you have to pay to go watch, and prior to this year's world Cup, every contest is streamed for free 

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Chubey
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3/22/2024 8:07pm Edited Date/Time 3/22/2024 8:10pm

Oh man,  I could beat this topic with a broken stick until it returned back to life.


Rampage athletes get an appearance fee ever since 2015.  Why not the slope guys?  Most the slope guys dont actually make that much. I did Pretty good for 15 years.  Id average probably 65K USD all said and done over those 15 years. Less when I started and the bigger years in the middle.  That is sponsorships and winnings and any travel budgets. BUT I would spend at least 30k of that on traveling and expenses.  So that 3k a month before taxes.....  I lived in Vancouver BC which isnt cheap,  it never fully covered living...  I usually had a winter job.   Did an interview for Vital actually with Spoomer on a tug boat once.

More goes into it than you see at the events.  still have to train, you need a custom place to ride.  Some of the guys have to buy parts.  I thankfully never really had too.  We all know parts arent cheap and as a slope guy, the bike gets beat.  

I get where the riders are coming from.  Maybe this isnt being handled in the best way.
I think it has to do more about the women's event,  Equal pay for not equal shows,  and the women getting paid to LAST place and the men not getting the same.  

And No Rotorua has always been a PAY to enter venue.  Its not like Whistler where its free.  Its the only one like that.  Its because the city of Rotorua is paying some big bucks to have Crankworx there and this is there means of subsidizing it.  I believe its 10 bucks a day or 25 for the week.

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dknapton
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3/22/2024 8:15pm
Chubey wrote:
Oh man,  I could beat this topic with a broken stick until it returned back to life. Rampage athletes get an appearance fee ever since 2015. ...

Oh man,  I could beat this topic with a broken stick until it returned back to life.


Rampage athletes get an appearance fee ever since 2015.  Why not the slope guys?  Most the slope guys dont actually make that much. I did Pretty good for 15 years.  Id average probably 65K USD all said and done over those 15 years. Less when I started and the bigger years in the middle.  That is sponsorships and winnings and any travel budgets. BUT I would spend at least 30k of that on traveling and expenses.  So that 3k a month before taxes.....  I lived in Vancouver BC which isnt cheap,  it never fully covered living...  I usually had a winter job.   Did an interview for Vital actually with Spoomer on a tug boat once.

More goes into it than you see at the events.  still have to train, you need a custom place to ride.  Some of the guys have to buy parts.  I thankfully never really had too.  We all know parts arent cheap and as a slope guy, the bike gets beat.  

I get where the riders are coming from.  Maybe this isnt being handled in the best way.
I think it has to do more about the women's event,  Equal pay for not equal shows,  and the women getting paid to LAST place and the men not getting the same.  

And No Rotorua has always been a PAY to enter venue.  Its not like Whistler where its free.  Its the only one like that.  Its because the city of Rotorua is paying some big bucks to have Crankworx there and this is there means of subsidizing it.  I believe its 10 bucks a day or 25 for the week.

I wasn't aware it's a paid to enter event. That's pretty lame. 

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rludes025
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3/22/2024 8:37pm

The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before an event is not the proper time to make your point. Showing no care for your fans that showed up to this event is pretty alienating. This is all ignoring the state of the industry in which there are a lot of really good people that are with out the jobs they had a year ago. Shame on the riders and shame on redbull. There are no winners with this. 

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Stewyeww
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3/22/2024 8:57pm
rludes025 wrote:
The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before...

The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before an event is not the proper time to make your point. Showing no care for your fans that showed up to this event is pretty alienating. This is all ignoring the state of the industry in which there are a lot of really good people that are with out the jobs they had a year ago. Shame on the riders and shame on redbull. There are no winners with this. 

I would disagree, the day before the event is the best day to make your point, this has probably been simmering for a while and talks would have been happening behind the scenes. The riders knew before leaving home that this was going to go down, and and I would be surprised if crankworks/red bull didn't know, and just figured they would ride instead of risk loosing a pay cheque.

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LePigPen
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3/22/2024 8:59pm
rludes025 wrote:
The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before...

The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before an event is not the proper time to make your point. Showing no care for your fans that showed up to this event is pretty alienating. This is all ignoring the state of the industry in which there are a lot of really good people that are with out the jobs they had a year ago. Shame on the riders and shame on redbull. There are no winners with this. 

The new statement from Rogatz makes it seem like this situation has been brought up multiple years at Rotorua. What I can't be sure of is if they got pay increase each year and were appeased in some ways. But it sounds like they've been at it for a while now and this has come as a last ditch effort to fix the event. And I'd assume it has a lot to do with the lower guys on the totem pole walking away in the negative. I'm not sure how far down you have to be to start basically losing money on this event. But the top end of SS has been kinda a big gap with the rest for a while. It's def not like DH where there's a diff winner every event (necessarily).

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Chubey
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3/22/2024 9:00pm
In the past the slope style athletes were the only ones that got their trips paid for as well as the highest prize money of all...

In the past the slope style athletes were the only ones that got their trips paid for as well as the highest prize money of all events, is that not the case any more? 

I never really had a trip paid for by an event,  The FMB mandates accommodations and breakfast. Rampage now pays 7500,  but to be honest that covers your expenses for the event if your from north America,  and some if you're from off continent  The rest you're on your own.  
Only exemptions to that where events in China,  those they covered everything, and paid well.  As the organizers saw it more as a marketing exercises than an event.   And the Nissan Qashqi events in 2008 where i got 1500 euros travel support.

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Chubey
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3/22/2024 9:08pm
rludes025 wrote:
The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before...

The problem isn’t the argument, it’s the execution. It shows a complete lack of thoughtfulness and is likely group think at its finest. The day before an event is not the proper time to make your point. Showing no care for your fans that showed up to this event is pretty alienating. This is all ignoring the state of the industry in which there are a lot of really good people that are with out the jobs they had a year ago. Shame on the riders and shame on redbull. There are no winners with this. 

Stewyeww wrote:
I would disagree, the day before the event is the best day to make your point, this has probably been simmering for a while and talks...

I would disagree, the day before the event is the best day to make your point, this has probably been simmering for a while and talks would have been happening behind the scenes. The riders knew before leaving home that this was going to go down, and and I would be surprised if crankworks/red bull didn't know, and just figured they would ride instead of risk loosing a pay cheque.

Hard to force an event into paying for something that's been paid and budgeted for a year.  

We had this issue with redbull at rampage 2014 when Redbull told us they owned our helmet camera footage....  The event almost didn't happen over it.
It was crazy,  We owned the camera,  we hit record,  we paid for our diggers, we built the line, we risked injury to ride said line, yet RB would own the footage...
I think we got to use the footage for person promotion, not sponsor use. and they "Scrapped" up a 1000 bucks each for it.  But agreed to a future appearance fee, which in 2015 was 2500 USD, and it went up each year since.
YT had to pay Redbull to use Andreu's winning run helmet footage in a video,  Heard it was 5k.

 

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bulletbass man
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3/22/2024 9:27pm

Sitting out the event does nothing to help the top guys.  If anything it’s a big hinderance in a world where many contracts are bonus based.  It can hopefully do something to better things for the rest of the field.

 

for those comparing to dh that’s the main difference.  The loic Bruno’s and Greg Minaars of the sport aren’t sitting out to help the guys who are fighting for a top 30.

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