Ted Ligety, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist racing in a World Pro Ski Tour race.
The World Pro Ski Tour, once the dominant form of ski racing in America with stars such as Billy Kidd, Spider Sabich, and Jean Claude Killy, took a pause for the new millennium. However, it is now under the new leadership of Jon J. Franklin, who, coming off a decade of combat sports management, returned to his ski racing roots to manage the tour’s resurgence.
The World Pro Ski Tour is the only platform that hosts a nationwide tour of events featuring the popular “dual” alpine ski racing format. It was established when former US Ski Team coach Bob Beattie launched World Pro Skiing in 1969, opting to use the dual-slalom format. The tour was set with a single-elimination format similar to drag racing but in snow-filled mountainous terrains.
“When you see two guys side-by-side, just fifteen feet apart, you see the mistakes,” Olympic Gold Medalist Phil Mahre, a Pro Tour veteran, explained. “One guy might be leading but makes a mistake, and suddenly the other guy is leading.”
The tour proved to be successful, but it switched hands between television networks and ownership groups for a certain period. Eventually, the Pro Ski Tour found a home with Fox Sports. However, the network became embroiled with the ownership changes, causing the tour to go dormant in 2000. In 2017, breathing new life into the tour, former owner Ed Rogers sought out established names who could help the resurgence and brought Jon J. Franklin, who had managed racers and found the tour major sponsors back to his cause.
Franklin proved the market was still there for the World Pro Ski Tour. He quickly instituted modern social media, developed featured reality shows along with massively increasing television coverage. In addition, Franklin brought in top racers such as two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ted Ligety. Coming from a background of leadership roles at IMG Media, Golden Gloves, and Glory Kickboxing, Franklin has proved perfect for the task. And the Tour proved perfect for sponsors and partners such as White Claw, Surefoot, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and others. It was a solid forum for national brands to promote their products.
Further, in a synergistic move to promote ski racing, Jon Franklin recently joined Ski Racing Media, known as “the Bible of the Sport,” to expand partnerships and publishing opportunities for the premier ski racing news outlet. Since joining the team, he has been working to bring advertising momentum in the company’s direction. Franklin was quickly able to strike partnerships with national and international brands like DNA-Vibe, REKS, Tuff Shed, Surefoot, Kjus, and more.
Although the World Pro Ski Tour and Ski Racing Media have been gaining momentum, Jon Franklin believes that there is much work to be done. He foresees the tour climbing to a dominant position as the world’s leading professional ski racing league and long-term growth for Ski Racing Media.