Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 37
PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDERS INC.
PBR has turned eight seconds of excitement into a powerful global brand. BY CHRIS KELSCH
Professional Bull Riders is dedicated to always
providing an incredible fan experience on TV
and in person.
Twenty-five years ago, bull riding was just one of seven
individual rodeo events. Then, in 1992, 20 bull riders got
together and decided the sport could be popular enough to
stand apart from the rodeo circuit.
They each put up $1,000 as an investment to start a modest tour, but it is
doubtful they could have imagined what
it has become today.
Professional Bull Riders (PBR)
has since become one of the world's
fastest-growing sports and entertainment entities. Billed as "the toughest
sport on dirt," PBR now draws more
than three million fans to more than
200 global live events. Its television
broadcasts reach more than 400 million
households in 40 countries, and it has
paid to PBR's cowboys more than $150
million in prize money since it was
created. According to one ESPN poll,
the sport now boasts 60 million fans in
the U.S. alone.
Of course, the biggest
factor contributing to
the sport's rise is the
incredible fan experience it delivers, both
on TV and in person.
John Sohigian, vice
The atmosphere is
president of consumer products
electric, to say the
least. "It's just a great http://www.pbr.com/
product," says Andrew Giangola, head of public relations
for PBR, and vice president of strategic
communications for its parent, WMEIMG. "It's pure escape - epic man vs.
beast confrontations all night long."
The basic premise of the sport is
simple. Once the gate opens, a bull rider
must stay on a 1,800-pound raging bull
for eight seconds to achieve a score.
The ride is scored from 0-100 points.
There are usually four judges; two score
the bull, and two judge the rider. Both
human and bovine athlete can receive
0-50 points. The combined point total
from the four judges make up the final
score for the ride.
Typically, scores in the eighties are
considered very good, while scores in
the nineties are considered excellent,
and very rare. It's the equivalent of the
grand slam homerun in baseball: very
exciting, but rarely seen.
Points are accumulated throughout a
PBR Built Ford Tough Series season,
with a winner crowned at the end of
the season. The season is made up of
two halves. The first is from January
to May, and the second half is from
August through November. This allows
the bull riders to recuperate from
injuries as well as participate in other
rodeo events throughout the summer.