Speedo swimwear has dominated the US market for decades, been a USA Swimming partner for nearly three decades. Other brands have come and gone. Several have built respectable business in the US market, but Speedo has been the one, big, ever-present constant. Speedo’s partnership with USA Swimming has, without a doubt, been key to their presence in every facet of swim life. However, with many of the sport’s biggest athletes under contact, does Speedo really have to be the only swimwear brand associated with the national governing body (NGB) that sends Team USA’s best to the Olympics? Also, USA Swimming has many, many platforms; digital, print, competitive events at all levels. Couldn’t those platforms be offered to other brands, to help them build their visibility and market-share?
Matt Farrell, USA Swimming’s Chief Marketing Officer, is on the young side. He has a long history in marketing with Warner Bros (yes, the entertainment studio), the US Olympic Committee, and of course USA Swimming. He’s an affable guy with a longview on the market and relationships. Above all else, he takes one of USA Swimming’s core mission statements to heart: grow the sport. Another way of saying it is this: strive to foster the health and growth of the swimming community for all in the United States. To accomplish that end, sometimes it’s right to allow opportunity to more of the sport’s corporate partners, and that’s exactly what Farrell did in 2012.
The genius behind this idea was that Farrell recognized the timing was perfect. USA Swimming had grown exponentially with the help of stars like Michael Phelps and with the evolution (or revolution) in new media. Farrell understood he could still service a loyal partner like Speedo and invite others to the USA Swimming table. The result will be, potentially, mulitple partnerships (notably with the strong addition of Arena). This will strengthen USA Swimming’s bottom-line generating more revenue, and it gives the additional brands more of an incentive to partner with new US athletes. Above all else, it will create mutiple marketing campaigns increasing the sport’s visbility, because once you sign on with USA Swimming, you must activate that sponsorship. Partners will rev their promotion engines and invest in the sports success.
Congrats to Matt Farrell for his forward thinking, and welcome to all new partners who wish to invest in the sport of swimming.
Anthony Ervin for his Indiegogo campaign to support his 2012 FINA World Cup Series expenses.
David Arluck of Arluck Promotions for nearly doubling his nationwide Fitter & Faster Swim Tour presented by SwimOutlet.com.