Action sports athletes as entrepreneurs: Female professional wakeboarders, sponsorship, and branding

Denise L. Parris, Michael L. Troilo, Adrien Bouchet, Jon Welty Peachey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This teaching case explores the sport of wakeboarding to examine how its female practitioners need to become entrepreneurial in order to make a living from the sport. Students ponder the financial pressures of becoming a professional female wakeboarder, and how to sustain momentum once one turns professional. The significance and inter-relationship of sponsorship and self-branding/promotion figure prominently. Costs of competing are high in the best of circumstances, and nearly insurmountable without corporate backing. Obtaining such support requires a healthy degree of marketing oneself. The female riders offer a number of anecdotes and recollections providing salience to issues concerning sustainability and gender inequity. Male riders may earn up to four times more on tour than female riders and there is pressure to adapt to the "boys' club" to advance one's career. Earning a living through involvement in wakeboarding is difficult for women. Models of entrepreneurism are provided to guide student discussion in developing strategies to overcome issues for female wakeboarders making the sport financially attractive for female competitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-545
Number of pages16
JournalSport Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Action sports
  • Branding
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Female athletes
  • Sponsorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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