Kirill Yakovlev Director Marketing & Development PAL - Some important questions and equally important answers. I invite you to read! ()
PeSzy: The situation during the epidemic?
Kirill Yakovlev: The COVID-19 epidemic has dealt a severe blow to the armwrestling industry as well as to the entire global sports and entertainment industry. The cancellation of live events, strict restrictions on crossing state borders ruined the plans of clubs, organizers, athletes and sports fans not only for 2020, but, apparently, for the next 2-3 years.
Global events are planned several years in advance, and continuity and consistency are essential for the development of sport. It is no longer possible to organize such projects as TOP 8 according to the old scheme - we collect sponsors 6 months before the event and hold a tournament. Here we are talking about 5 year planning at least. Therefore, a “hole” of one year means that everything will have to start practically all over again.
However, at PAL we have been building a system that is shockproof for many years. Although such a situation as now, no one could have foreseen.
Due to the fact that we have always focused on sports and media content, we today have a URPA rating, which allows athletes to compete within their countries and earn points in the global ranking.
We also have rich video archives in order to expand the distribution of armwrestling content on television channels in more than 50 countries. Today, when sports TV networks are "hungry", we see opportunities to popularize armwrestling. We are confident that in this area we will emerge stronger from the pandemic than we were before. We have already signed contracts with TV channels in Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
The process is strongly constrained by the restraint of investors and sponsors associated not only with a pandemic, but also with a possible global financial crisis. But thanks to the fact that arm wrestling is a very flexible sports discipline, not overloaded with the necessary infrastructure, we can both expand and “shrink” or “divide” into smaller formats.
Therefore, we are staying flexible, to develop new competition formats that are more consistent with the general situation.
PeSzy: How many competitions have we “lost”?
Kirill Yakovlev: In 2020, we lost 7 major world events: 3 stages of TOP 8 + 105 kg, 3 stages of TOP 8 95 kg and the “Zloty Tur” Professional World Cup . This year “Zloty Tur” turns 20 and we planned a truly grandiose event, which was to be witnessed by more than 3000 spectators in venue in Poland and several million television viewers around the world.
But the biggest loss is the hundreds of URPA tournaments that could have taken place around the world. Thanks to the heroic efforts of PAL representatives in some countries, small tournaments are taking place, and we are incredibly grateful for this to the organizers and athletes who overcome all the obstacles to keep pulling.
As far as we know, none of the TOP 8 athletes got sick and we wish them to go through this pandemic healthy. We constantly keep in touch with everyone, we take interviews with them , we continue to make programs on Youtube and Armbets.tv about them.