Marketplace: Have a great story? Let a champion tell it
August 17, 2010
Corby Fisher knows from experience what it is like to be 30 and a former professional athlete with no college degree and no business experience.
Luckily for Fisher, he succeeded in becoming one of the youngest Olympic head coaches of all time. A few years into his career, however, he decided a better fit for him would be helping other athletes tell their stories in sports marketing.
Growing up in a Colorado ski town, professional sponsorship meant wearing somebody’s sticker and receiving a handout, Fisher said.
Today’s sponsorships are symbiotic relationships in which athletes attach their success to the quality of brands in return for the support needed to be reach the top levels of achievement, he explained.
A problem is that athletes don’t know how to sell their marketability and companies have trouble seeing how sports marketing can benefit them.
That’s where Fisher comes in. He started Caliber Sports Enterprises about 18 months ago. In addition to representing athletes, his firm also provides general marketing services, event production, consultations, sales strategizing and more.
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Some clients are already in the sports and leisure industries, others are not and want to use athletic performance as a metaphor for winning in business, he said.
"When you match the right athletes with the right campaign, and it’s a good genuine fit, the brand equity goes through the roof," he explained.
Fisher’s personal expertise is in all forms of Nordic ski sports as well as rodeo. He has years of experience working with Olympic and World Cup skiers, so those are the clients he’s focusing on now.
"It blows executives away how dynamic these kids are and they jump off mountains," he said. "All these guys have amazing stories and need help telling them. They’ve all had challenges they’ve had to overcome."
For example, a big push right now is getting winter-sports athletes on reality television shows. Many of them are charismatic and have had unbelievable experiences.
"We hand-pick the most marketable ones and help them be even more so," he said.
One of the best ways to increase their exposure while making some money on the side is public speaking engagements. They have such great stories, but often struggle with presentations.
"They can jump two football fields or do five back flips, but they’re scared of public speaking," he said.
Like anything else they became good at, the solution is practice, he added.
A growing segment is extreme or action sports. He represents a few of those kinds of athletes and said they used to be seen as crazy or disregarded as adrenaline junkies. Now their lifestyles make them charismatic spokespeople, he said.
Fisher also serves on several boards for nonprofit organizations and is an avid fly fisherman. He believes traditional sports marketing can benefit any entity with ties to the leisure industry.
Even if there is no tie, sports marketing can bring "buzz" to any product or service, he added.
Caliber Sports Enterprises