Orange County Business Journal

U.S. Open Looks Beyond Action Sports for Title Sponsor

Kari Hamanaka Monday, October 1, 2012

The departure of former U.S. Open of Surfing title sponsor Nike Inc. has attracted the attention of a number of companies interested in taking on the role for next year’s event in Huntington Beach.

Nike units Hurley International LLC of Costa Mesa and Andover, Mass.-based Converse Inc. also declined to renew their deals for secondary sponsorships, according to New York-based show producer IMG Worldwide.

Representatives of a number of companies—including action-sports brands and some from other industries—have expressed interest in the event’s title sponsorship, said James Leitz, IMG Worldwide Inc. vice president of the company’s action sports division’s Americas region.

This year’s event ran for nine days, ending on Aug. 5. It attracted about a million visitors to Huntington Beach for surfing and skateboarding competitions, live music and other entertainment during the nine-day event.

It’s unclear how soon a deal for a new title sponsor for next year’s event could be struck.

“Contracts like these take time, but we would prefer the sooner the better, so that we can get busy in developing the property for them,” Leitz said. “We’re moving as fast as we can. There seems to be a lot of attention on the property right now. Our goal is to close this position as soon as possible.”