U.S. Speedskating feels the pinch of Dutch bank's bankruptcy [updated]
U.S. Speedskating, the sport's governing body in this country, is looking for new backing less than four months away from the Vancouver Olympics after a Dutch court declared one of the U.S. team's prime sponsors bankrupt earlier this week.
DSB Bank, based in the Netherlands, was thrown into bankruptcy on Monday, ending its financial support of U.S. speedskaters. In an unusual step, U.S. Speedskating issued a news release today announcing it would have a budget shortfall of more than $300,000 because DSB Bank is no longer able to provide funding. As a result, U.S. Speedskating Executive Director Bob Crowley and the organization's board are working on a new financial plan for the remainder of the 2009-10 season.
"DSB Bank has been an excellent partner for US Speedskating and has allowed us to provide excellent service for our athletes,” Brad Goskowicz, U.S. Speedskating's president, said in a statement. "It is our mission to ensure our U.S. Speedskating Olympic Team has everything they need to be successful and we will continue toward that end. The impact will be seriously felt and we will be seeking additional sponsor opportunities."
The organization also said that sponsorship money had dropped significantly during the last two years of economic uncertainty. But Crowley is hopeful about attracting new financial partners.
"There are very attractive sponsorship opportunities now available,” Crowley said, “and this is a great opportunity for a company to attach themselves, at a very low cost, to the sport that is projected to win a record number of Olympic medals.”
U.S. Speedskating is proceeding with its scheduled events, including the national championships, American Cup series and the U.S. World Cup/Olympic-qualifying event that began today in Milwaukee.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has been in contact with U.S. Speedskating officials about the budget shortfall caused by DSB Bank's bankruptcy, according to USOC spokesman Bob Condron.
"Mike English, our Chief of Sport Performance, and Alan Ashley, our Team Leader for Winter Olympic Sports, spoke to Bob Crowley about the situation, and Alan is going to meet with Bob this weekend at the Trials to try and understand the impact on U.S. Speedskating," Condron said in an e-mail.
"We'll make some decisions after that."
-- Helene Elliott