Taking the YoYo Industry to "Infinity and Beyond!"


#1

Greetings:

I originally was going to post this in the World’s Contest and What the Winner Gets thread, but decided it would be better to make this a separate thread for discussion.

In the thread we spoke about how we can make a broader mass appeal and get more money flowing in the industry. One of those is finding ways of getting television, news papers, and other mass media involved. One mentioned how the X-Games really hyped up the alternative sports like Skate Boarding, Snow Boarding and more. YoYo’ing is starting to catch steam especially with some of the new break throughs with modern yoyo’ing. However, it has been over 10 years since the introduction of the bearing yoyo (my history is not that great) and while it has grown, it could go higher and a break through is needed.

Some may know that I own a production company and donate just a few things to the world competition. This year I have decided to go all out and do a large production that would retail for the corporate world for several thousand dollars. Yet, this is going to be donated for free or in lieu of maybe a couple of yo-yos. I do it because I love it and a way that I can give back to help. Actually, to be completely honest, I lose money because I pay for my technicians, gas, time, and so forth as this is my full time job and how I support my wife and 5 kids. So to take 4 days away from booking paying gigs to do a free gig, I’m actually losing money. But, I am excited to do it.

Now, I would love to get paid for doing this and travel around the country and world putting together amazing setups and designs for yoyo contests, but there is absolutely no way that anyone could pay for it in the current setup. It would be amazing is sponsored players got more than a cut but the companies sponsoring them were making enough money to pay for hotels, travel, and allow them to do this as a full time endeavor.

So, which brings us to how to help create this. One, we buy yo-yos and get more people involved. Yet, that is helping but not getting us over the edge. Things like the YoYo Factory Birdhouse tour was great. Things like the Shaqler group in Japan getting on TV shows helps. But what else can be done. I know if world’s was televised and could get sponsorships above just the brand yoyo companies it would help a ton. I know from starting to help with the Florida State Contest the when yoyo companies sponsor events it is usually in the form of yo-yos and not money. Which is why a lot of the contests look like they were put on by parents and friends…because most of them are. There isn’t away to make it worth while and profitable.

I’m beginning work on a side project that I am super excited about that could help push things forward as well, (will release more next year) but when talking to another industry insider it is going to be hard if the only thing yoyo companies can do is send a few yo-yos my way instead of financial means. But, if they were making a lot more, then the companies could spend a lot more. So we have to figure out how this all can work and grow.

Now sure, this is for companies like One Drop, YoYo Factory, Duncan, and YoYoJam among others to figure out, not really us, but that is what a community is about and maybe certain people with certain talents can come together and make something pretty amazing happen. I’m a great vision/idea person and have a talent for production. Studio42 is a sound engineer with great equipment willing to help and be apart of it. We have people who know what to do with video as you can tell with the documentary coming out and other videos produced. Maybe with the community coming together and all pitching in, we could be pioneers in something that people will enjoy for many years to come. Just some thoughts. Let’s get others in on this and see some brainstorming.


#2

One thought that hits me is multiple sponsored yoyo players. Not sure if they sign a contract but I was thinking about how Nascar is. They have a main sponsor and other sponsors because of the high costs it takes to own, operate, and pay for that type of industry. So you see upwards of 20 different sponsorships if not more on one car with usually one main one.

I wonder if yoyo players could find ways of getting multiple sponsorships. Wear a certain brand of shoes in their videos, have their main sponsors shirt, another brand on the hat, maybe a watch brand on their wrist, with superman underwear on. J/K but same concept. I have a good friend who has come with me the last two years to world who gets his son who is I believe 9 years old sponsored by everything under the son. When he makes videos he has all sorts of apparel on and sends them to each of the companies that sponsor him. Not a bad idea, but it would be great for more people to know more about YoYo’ing for them to be up to wanting to put down money over product in sponsorship.

What I’m finding is that YoYo brands are fine with giving product out but very hesitant to give out money. I think that is why we are a hobby industry run by mostly hobbyist themselves. How many people really do YoYo’ing full time whether in the creating, website, store, and other aspects? I’m sure there are some, but I would bet it is a very small amount compared to other hobby industries.


#3

My concept is to hit kids in schools. With American turning into a nation of fat, lazy slobs, there’s been a push to get kids moving again. Programs like sports in schools is running into problems, especially for girls, as budgets are being slashed left and right in certain states. In California, public schools have cut almost all girl’s sports, many boy’s sports and band is a thing of the past. Why? Not sure, but I know a lot of money has been lost in corruption, and the rest IS being wasted in corruption at all levels.

I digress. Kids are vegetating in front of computers and laptops and video game systems. Now, without REAL valid reasons(and NO, WOW is NOT a valid reason, nor is MW or any of the other MMO for that matter), kids are learning to move less and hence do less, and will grow up to be, well, stuck on the same couch. I have a valid excuse, my work often involves computers and without the computers I cannot do my work. And no, I don’t game. After MechWarrior 4 came out and the expensive Microsoft Sidewinder FFB stick I bought was no longer compatible, I got angry and just said “OK, I’m done with computer gaming”. My GameCube sits collecting dust. Even my GameBoy’s and DS aren’t as active as they used to be these days.

Trying to get kids into something that requires movement isn’t as easy as it used to be. If it takes effort, they won’t do it. If they can’t be “pros” right away, they can’t be bothered with it. Still, all it takes is it to reach a few kids, which unfortunately is the goal of these programs in schools is to just reach a few kids instead of trying to get all or most of them to be more healthy.

Now I’m doing my part. I have some medical problems, namely back problems and leg problems. Oddly enough, the leg problems come from playing soccer as my knees are shot pretty good. But, since I’m not actively touring and I gotta watch kids while I try to work(sometimes work fails), I am a bit out of shape. What do I do? I inline skate while my kids bike to school. It’s a start. Almost all the kids at that school know who I am because I’m the parent on the skates. I am constantly asked questions. There’s interest.

Now, to the yoyo. There are video and multi-media demonstrations that say “hey, don’t do drugs” and crap like that. What happens? Kids are still doing drugs, drinking and smoking. Sorry, these are things I’ve NEVER done. I nave NEVER consumed alcohol. I’ve never taken drugs unless there was a valid MEDICAL reason, and as far as smoking, I DO NOT smoke, but when you’re raised around people who do, you can’t avoid it too well, and trust me when I say it’s just as damaging that way.

Why not do an actual in-school presentation of the yoyo? Get them excited in it. Show them tricks and have some affordable yoyos they can buy and take home(make the announcement 2 weeks in advanced).

Organize yoyo clubs, which some of you are already doing. Tie that into a performance team and perform free at community events, it always goes over big.

Granted, I can’t skateboard. I don’t wanna die. I am amazed people don’t fall off. But, skateboarding doesn’t do anything for me. Just not interested. Skating is, for me, recreation and excercise. Yoyo is pure recreation, although it may involve excercise.

But, the issue is still content, or rather volume of content. There’s not sufficient to do anything other than get space on a larger channel if we’re going mainstream media. Like X-games, this is niche stuff, but some dude rocking red hair and a snow board is somehow “cool” while some dude rocking a yoyo is “not cool”. Double standard or preferences? I could argue either way. X-Games crap can’t take up a full network. Not even the Golf Channel can just carry golf because it’s too boring. Even golfers are like “holy crap, this is boring” and that channel is sliding fast because advertisers are pulling out too. Yes, golf is very popular, but I see no appeal in it. Even avid golfers don’t flock to the channel. What makes you think yoyo will have the same success? It can’t and it won’t. But, it can ride on another channel for it’s own block. That COULD work.

I mean, if stuff like Tosh.0 can air, then why can’t 30 minutes of yoyo on a sports channel once a week?

IF we can watch “good ol’ boys” fixing cars(which I have to admit can be some good watching because you can learn how to fix some of your car), then why not spend time on the yoyo?

The concept, like with anything else: start small and modest. Don’t force it. YoYo has been around a long time, it ain’t going anywhere. Monster trucks come and go in trend cycles, as does X-Game stuff. YoYo isn’t going away, but it also has unpredictable trend/surge cycles. It’s best to hit it on the upward surge and ride it out. I’m not sure where yoyo is in the cycle right now.

Now, regarding multiple sponsors: Amazing how the NASCAR guy who got sponsored by Viagra started losing points. Amazing how fast one can drive with one hand, right?

It can work in yoyo. YoYo, string, bearing and three right there. But, here’s where it can take off. Urban clothing designers will want in on this market too, as they’ll hit up anything not mainstream. Hats, shirts, pants, belts, accessories, shoes…


#4

Just write a book. JK

I think the blazing teens thing was a good way to get kids yoyoing but also gives it a sort of babyish image to older kids and adults, that and the show was just terrible. I think we need to give yoyoing a cooler image like skateboarding or something. The only problem with this is that it can attract the wrong kind of people.

To be honest I like the community the way it is, sure it may be small but we’re all friends.


#5

I always love your posts Studio but still see no clue where that had to do with the topic haha! Just messing with you buddy.

I don’t think we need a channel or even a weekly televised thing. But every couple of months at certain contests have them televised. Especially worlds. Worlds should be a no brainer televised event. The level of the production and flow should be rock solid. There should be commentators like maybe Andre Boulay and Johnnie DeValle. It should show modern unique, cool, but not at the expense of the sport. I have been a huge fan of YoYo Factory and them pushing the cool factor, but have also been vocal that a lot of times it comes across as trying too hard. At least that is for me. But in all seriousness and if Ben reads this, I thank them very much for what they do an trying to push this industry and hobby forward to even a sport. We need more like them pushing even harder.

I think we need to find someone who has a connection to some sort of cable company or even something like ESPN2 to get some exposure on a national level that we can all stand behind. I think that would be a huge start.


#6

They actually show a very small amount of worlds on espn.


#7

I think that a way to get bigger comunity of people to yoyo is by starting off with the kids so then the kids will see that it is really fun and they will thing of different ways to get more people yoyoing because at my school me and my brother brought in are yoyo’s for a couple of days and then in about 1 or 2 weeks a pretty hip portion of the school was doing it and at recesse so meny kids were trying each others yoyo’s and having compotistions.


#8

Ya last year I yoyoed for a talent show and then a lot of my friends and other people bought popstars protostars and counter attacks. This didn’t last for some but some continued and are in intermediate.


#9

I think to have yoyoing televised in any way, there would either have to be more contests, more professional-level players, or both. If we’re gonna compare yoyoing to skateboarding again, there are always a LOT of skaters and you don’t always know who’s gonna win. (unlike us, usually.)

I think the players thing will come with time(although that could be sped up with the type of advertising you guys were talking about.), but frankly we need more contests. Not just an annual contest for each state or region.

Then the problem is who will set it up and put the time and money in.

Also, sort of unrelated, I think if we got more contests, the freestyles would have to be shorter. It’s too hard to come up with new tricks and concepts to do 3 minute freestyles any more often than people do now.

Idnno, there’re too many problems. Let it come with time I say…


#10

The best concept is to get kids exposed to the yoyo early. That’s where it starts. It would be nice if there were variety shows on during the 7-9PM slots on major network TV, where once a week or twice a month(predictable though), there’s a little yoyo bit. 2-3 minutes. But, really, I pretty much can’t stand the mainstream line-up and primetime variety shows are essentially dead. Instead, we stick with Survivor or The Bachelor/ette and this kind of crap.

Another other issue is getting kids over the concept of “instant gratification” and “they’re going to have to work at it”. It’s truly interactive. It’s work. Just like those stupid video games they play for hours at a time(or days, weeks, months, years… whatever), they are willing to work at some game rather than put some time into something not flashing in front of them on a screen.

If we can get some sort of primetime variety show that doesn’t suck, they could regularly schedule a yoyo segment. This kills an easy 3-5 minutes where the writers can just take a break and not worry about much. They love that, acts that take care of themselves. Seque into a brief interview, and there’s another 5 minutes nailed and gone. You can easily burn 8 minutes right there, and that’s enough to fill up a block between commercial breaks right there.

It ain’t gonna be easy. Yoyo won’t ever stay mainstream. That’s fine. It keeps the crap out. Those who want in, all they need to do is continue to participate. If it wasn’t for my crazy life that keeps me stuck in this house, I’d love to head out and throw with other people, if anything to learn and share. I got a lot of yoyos, I can bring them in cases(well, I gotta get cases…) and people can try out my stuff. Sharing, playing, enjoying. Heck, someone could video record it and cut it for YouTube.


(Sensei Dave) #11

I love this thread- intelligent professionals realistically speculating on how to further the reach and popularity of our sport of choice. Thank you, first of all, for doing this -even at the hypothetical level it is a breath of fresh air.

Now my two cents…

Lets be honest with ourselves - unless you have involved yourself in the sport of yo-yos you aren’t going to sit through a half hour show of yo-yoing. Having a show on TV isn’t a realistic goal. Heck I am in love with yo-yoing (I never leave without at least two on my person at all times) and I don’t think I could sit through a glad hour of throwing on TV aside from a major competition. The dynamic of a live performance is totally different than a televised one. In an audience you are a part of a large energy and excitement that feeds on itself and grows. A television audience is a relaxed and static one that is much more dependent on being force fed emotions. Television, although a fantastic tool, is not the medium for our sport yet.

I really think that becoming part of other, largger attractions are the best way to push the sport on a larger level. Things like the yo-yoers on the Tony Hawk tour are a great way to spread the love. Is it as grand as a Worlds Co.petition, no. But the audience seeing it is much larger. Say on average one out of every hundred people sees a yo-yo demo and decides to try the sport. (Just pulling numbers out of my bum here… purely hypothetical) well, out of an audience at worlds, how many are non yo-yoers or haven’t been exposed to the sport already? Next to none. So we rely on the ESPN coverage and maybe two or three hundred actually stick around to see the clip. That’s two or three people who get started because they saw it. Now say we put throwers on a small stage in some concert tour. Bonnaroo or Oz Fest or Woodstock 2130 or whatever. THOUSANDS see the demos because its a captive audience. The numbers are better on our side. Then add the immediate impulse option to buy a yoyo from a small table near the demo or the performers themselves and boom, even more try “just cause” and some of them get hooked. The percentages are just higher by going to established events and becoming a part of those.

So instead of finding a prettier or better packaging for our sport to try and sell it, lets be the surprise inside the cereal mom already bought.

Lets focus on being a part of large events like the x-games, like Woodstock, like OzzFest, and anywhere else that will have it.

There are times when a full charge, frontal assault is best, and then there are times when a patient ambush with follow up flanking attacks are best. We don’t want to compete with what’s out there already and try to build an audience from scratch, we want to join along side the established and glean from what’s already there.

With your talents, gentlemen and ladies, your already established business connections, I think this strategy is not only much more attainable, but possibly much more fruitful. Please, lets keep this discussion going! Lets make this happen! Yo-yos may not be going anywhere but it would be great to see it grow!


#12

IMO Ghandi’s quote:“Be the change you want to see in the world” totally applies here. While I think it’s great that you guys in the entertainment business are thinking of ways to get yoyoing on mainstream television or in big events. Not all of us have connections in show-biz so a great way to get people into the sport is to just go out there and throw. over the course of the three months I’ve been throwing I’ve convinced about 4 people to get yoyos and try it out and they’re all really enjoying it. the trick is to just yoyo in public with your friends, show people what you can do, disprove all their preconceived notions that yoyoing is childish and lame. also things like yoyo clubs in schools and stuff like that are great, I really want to start a yoyoing club, but it’s kinda tricky cause most of my friends that yoyo all go to different schools.

another thing, I totally understand if you’re the forever alone guy and none of your friends support your yoyoing, if that’s the case just go out on the streets throw in front of complete strangers. (and maybe throw down a hat and make a couple bucks while you’re at it.)


#13

To Sensei Dave:

Tacking yoyo to a larger event is the ideal way to go. The only issue is how will it be received and perceived. Unfortunately, it’s often an after-thought and is treated as such. Many concert events I do, sound is treated as an after-though, and after they’ve spent the budget on everything else, they got zilch left and they expect sound and lighting.

Now, that aside, I’m sure most of us have been to festival shows. I’ve too many that I lose count(as a FOH engineer, I’m running the concert mix). There’s always downtime between bands. It varies, but there’s always time to do SOMETHING. Comics, sketches, demonstrations. But usually it’s just dead time. I’d love to see the time utilized. I just have to monitor a couple of channels while the change-over happens, no biggie.

“But what about large venues?” That’s easy, as most shows are incorporating video and large screen projections of live video…

Now, properly done, a 30 minute show is actually closer to 22.5 minutes. Cut out your intro and outro, you’re down to about 20.5 minutes. Don’t forget your in and out bumps for your 2 commercial breaks, and that can be up to a minute but will be closer to 40 seconds, but we’ll just say 30 seconds and you’re down to 20 minutes.

Have the show hosted. That’s burning at least 6 minutes. We’re down to 14 minutes. 2 performances, we’re down to 8 minutes. 5 minute interview, 3 minutes for tips, which can be a trick, maintenance, “how to” or whatever. It goes fast if done properly.

I won’t argue the dynamic of live performances. That feeling is what I thrive on. But for me, it’s different because I’m working it and bringing the band TO the audience.

Around where I live, the news is basically “yoyo? Meh…” until States come along(in Sacramento) and then there “well, we gotta cover it, meh”.

This community is self supporting. Fortunately, the barriers to entry are super easy: have yoyo, welcome! Plus, these days, thanks in large part to the internet, people will search down what the are looking for.


#14

It seems to me that yo-yoing is something that can only exist in “fad” form. It just has that special quality about it that gets people really excited about all its potential fun and then just loses its spark after you fail to land a trapeze for the 100 time. Sure like everything there are always people who see it for what it really is and stick with it (us) but it’s a really small minority. Personally I’m pretty happy with how things are, sure it would be awesome it there were tons of companies and nothing ever sold out but what are you going to do. That being said I really do see importance in exposing kids to yo-yoing it as I believe it can really make a positive difference in young lives but don’t expect yoyos to become popular and stay that way because it’s simply not there nature.


#15

ALL WE NEED TO DO TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP IS RE-STRUCTURE YOYO CONTESTS SO THAT THEY’RE EXCITING TO THE AVERAGE JOE

IT SHOULD LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS

I only say that because at normal contest, watching freestyle after freestyle after freestyle even gets boring for me, there is to much structure and not enough input for or from the crowd

All styles battles is going to be the best way for us to grow as a community


#16

I really enjoyed watching the video. It looks like it was some sort of battle. I like that idea. I want to say there was something like that at Worlds at 2010 just not on that level.

Here are just random off the top of my head thoughts. I think the area that yoyo in the modern since seems to hit the demographics and styles of the skate board, inline, trick scene. That seems to be the area it is appealing to the most and hitting the most steam. This is just off my views and could be totally wrong.

From a TV stand point I don’t think there are TV spots or half hour shows on how to do skate board tricks. I think that is what the internet is for. However there are televised high end events. There are sponsorships. That is the direction I think we can move this towards. I agree. I think it will have to begin at the contest point and if the contests can be made not only for the those participating but for those watching. I think we need to create a really fun, very interactive, and viewer focused event. I believe the contest will still appeal to those competing. But what can be done to make it so awesome that people who have never been to one will want to come to it. Someone who is walking by the ball room and sees it wants to come in and stay. That is kinda the ideas that I want to come up with and see about making it happen. Crowd focused contests that are very entertaining and exciting which will then translate into someone random who has never seen it before to be intrigued into watching and wanting to be apart of it, or that big dollar sponsor wanting to throw down several grand on a player or more on a corporate level.

What would make a contest more exciting for the viewer? It is always a blast to watch, but could it be improved?


#17

I’ll get back to that thread, I got to leave now, but real quick. I’m working on this on my end, but to do things right, it takes time and it’s hard to find the right people to get involved with.

nonetheless, there are some medias that are “favorable” and “open minded” enough to give yoyoing a chance.

Of course there’s the competition aspect and that’s very important. But what yoyo needs and some people already started working on it, is a “brand image”, an image in general.

Skateboarding is a great example, it has this “street” appeal to it, there’s some fashion around it as well, colorful people promoting it etc… I think yoyoing is very close to that state of mind and the birdhouse tour was spot on.

But everybody knows about skateboarding, no one knows about yoyoing, so it’s fresh as well.

when I look at what YYF and OneDrop do, I really like what I’m seeing, they have different approaches to it, one is completing the other. YYF has that sport approach while OD are more on the other end, promoting it more like art, expressive art and also a craft. The object itself.

it’s getting there, definitely.


#18

This looks a bit like dxl…
Heres a vid from the dxl battle semifinals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paJP3lGHBoc&feature=youtube_gdata_player


#19

I’ve thought about it some and naturally tend to the skateboarding comparisons as well, since I’ve been involved in that world, too.

Hadoq is right, image is just so important. I started skating in the 80s and remember how it went down back then. Man, skating was cool by definition when it hit back in the day. We all hated on posers but anyone who was truly down was alright. I can’t remembered getting hassled by any kids for skating. We even had groupies (ie Betties). But I see threads about kids getting hassled by other kids for throwing, so there’s a definite image issue.

I hope changes to contests and getting on tv will help. But the thinking that video games are the anti-yoyo might not be so helpful. Kids are gonna game. Gaming promoted skateboarding maybe as much as anything else. I remember lines in the arcade to play 720 back in the day, and I know I don’t have to mention the Hawk stuff. So yeah maybe not so much “do this instead of game”, but look for ways to integrate throwing into gaming. How about a yoyoing side game in the next Hawk Pro Skater? Something like that?

Also, the anti-authoritarian culture of skateboarding appeals to naturally rebellious youth, but of equal import is how public it is. Skating is in the streets, in your face; you hear it, you see it, you notice it.

So, I think throwing in public is big. I do it, but probably younger throwers have more effect in this regard. Too bad that I’m a bit too old to be cool or project an image that kids are interested in when they see me throw. I get more of that “look at that old guy with a yoyo” vibe from teenagers. Generally it’s only the very little ones who come up and ask to try it out.

Anyway, good stuff. Nice thread.


#20

Thanks for posting that video. Great idea to get it started, but I started getting bored with it and didn’t finish watching the whole thing. I would say it needs to be faster paced and more in your face where they need to perform it to the person not to the crowd, I’d also say one throw so you are going back and forth every 30 seconds to 1 minute Do a combo and switch so it is constantly switching and you can plan your routines and yoyo switches and so forth around the quick breaks. Also having a live DJ would certainly spice things up in the back.

I also think having fantasy battles come to life would be pretty awesome as well. I don’t want to give too many details of that away because I just started talking to one said person and might be able to use him to challenge the other one haha. I’ll let you know or maybe that will be a surprise battle at worlds. I just called Greg to get the schedule of Worlds and seeing where we could put some of these ideas. Mostly would have to be a late night deal after the original contest is done. Anyone remember what time worlds ended on Saturday night and Friday night?