The Surf Channel, set to debut in September, will be the third property of the Ski and Tennis Channels founded by Steve Bellamy.

Back in ’93-’94, as a young Boarder (skate/surf/snow) and young entrepreneur, I dreamed of my ideal station, The Action Sports Network (ASN). Though as being a young teen, I had no idea how to get the money for this endeavor and the idea eventually fizzled away until we saw Fuel come into the picture. As a kid, we had to buy VHS tapes to get our skate/surf vids (remember 411?), I couldn’t get enough of watching my favorite pros. I saw all my neighborhood kids and kids at school picking up all these sports, soon my friends and I went from being unique, to being one of the masses hooked onto the Action Sports frenzy. I knew that ASN would be a success, as much as Fuel had become.

Though even with the success of Fuel, I question the viability of The Surf Channel. If you watch Fuel now, the focus has diverted to UFC coverage. I’m thinking that Fuel is needing to tap into this UFC market to generate the ad revenue not provided by Action Sports brands. Fuel was purchased by FOX from Fuel’s founder Chris Braly in 2003. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, there were 2.5 million surfers in the US as of 2011. I believe Bellamy is experiencing success with his two other properties because ski taps into the 10 million-plus base and tennis can quadruple that number with ease. At a fraction of the ski and tennis fans, Bellamy will most likely have to sell total package add spot across the three networks to fuel The Surf Channel.

Bellamy has mentioned that The Surf Channel will have and be On-Demand based, though finding original programming to keep eyes on the TV instead of focused on all the stimulating content uploaded each second viewed by iPads, iPhones and the like, will be of the utmost challenge in keeping this network alive and relevant.

As a surfer, I’m all for a surf dedicated channel. As a business man, I question it’s life-span. Best of luck to the network and I’ll welcome it’s launch via my DirectTV DVR come September.

EVB

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