In case you haven’t heard, Getty Images (the mega-corporation of photographers who now owns practically every single sports and news image) recently signed an agreement with the ASP to exclusively handle all photography for the tour.
You’re probably asking yourself, “What does this mean, and why should I care?” It means that in one of the world’s worse economic crises, the ASP sold out. Instead of providing free images to media partners worldwide, any magazine or website who wants to publish photos of an ASP event now has to pay Getty for the rights to those photos.
One of the ASP’s biggest marketing tools was their photo collection. It gave writers like myself the opportunity to include a plethora of images with tour coverage. All the available photos had the ASP logo and name of the photographer on the image, so the media (and their viewers, like yourself) got their photos and the ASP received a ton of coverage.
Now, the ASP expects media groups to start paying for the photos. Sadly, while I’ll be reporting on World Tour (and some ‘QS) events worldwide, you’ll only be viewing two photos per contest, which is what Getty and the ASP is allotting to media groups.
No wonder Bugs is bailing. Surfing, and the action sports industry, is now officially mainstream. And that isn’t a good thing. The ASP has sold out, like the vast majority of action sports athletes and the industry.