The story is long, and convoluted, and we gave it an acre of space in our gigantic April print issue (did you miss it?) but the nuts and bolts concerned the world championships – owned by the World Curling Federation at all times but managed (and sold) by the Canadian Curling Association when hosted in Canada. The new WCF, with its new branding and new Swiss-based marketing agency, wanted a new and very different deal for the Canadian-hosted championships, and the CCA wanted to hang on to the partnership formula that first started, in its embryonic state, way back in 1995.
Heading into the men’s Capital One Worlds in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, things were getting downright ugly. And there might have been some serious political fallout.
Fast forward to late June, when Canadian Curling Association boss Greg Stremlaw told us that he was “optimistic” that his organization – the biggest national sport federation in the curling world – and the world’s official governing body of curling would be able to negotiate a new deal on the future of World Championships in Canada.
We took that as a sign that the fences had been mended, and all would soon become right in our curling world.
Indeed. Today the WCF formally announced the signing of a new agreement with the CCA, which will see Canada hosting the World Women’s Championships in 2012 and 2014 and the Men’s World Championship in 2013.
And in the nick of time, too. This year’s Men’s Worlds in Regina (2011) was an extension to the old deal, and was agreed upon at the last second barely a year ago. The 2012 World Men’s will be hosted in Basel, Switzerland.
The deal is for a minimum of three years and provides the CCA with the first right of refusal for renewal. The sites for the events in 2012, 2013 and 2014 will be determined by the CCA in consultation with the WCF.
Naturally, the agreement has the approval of the WCF’s worldwide marketing partner, Infront Sports & Media. Infront has formed a separate partnership agreement to work with the CCA during this period.
Under the new agreement, the Canadian sports TV channel – and CCA partner – TSN will continue to hold the exclusive broadcasting rights in Canada for the World shootouts.
In a break with past arrangements between the WCF/CCA and committees organizing the World events in Canada, the new agreement now gives these host committees a percentage of gross ticket sales. The CCA will also own the presenting sponsor position for all world men’s and women’s events held outside of Canada.
From heated tempers in April… to happy campers a couple of months later. Amazing what can happen when the snow melts, eh?
“The WCF is delighted to have signed an Agreement which will run to 2014 with our largest Member, the Canadian Curling Association,” says WCF President Kate Caithness. “This will ensure that alternating World Championships will continue to be held in Canada and will be a joint operation between the WCF and CCA.”
For his part, CCA CEO Stremlaw was quoted as such: “I am thrilled that the WCF, CCA and Infront Sports & Media have agreed on a unique concept which will allow the CCA to manage and operate these world events, on behalf of the WCF, and to leverage the marketing rights to Corporate Canada and beyond. I would like to thank the CCA’s project team that worked tirelessly on this partnership agreement and express my sincere appreciation to Kate Caithness, WCF President, for her cooperation and involvement.”
And just like that, all’s well that ends well.
We’ll have more details on, well, the details at some point in the future, certainly by the time we return to printed product in late October.
And now, back to where the real curling action is… Brazil! Of course!