According to a story on ESPN, the 28 invited athletes to the 2008 Icer Air will not be paid the $2,000 agreed upon fee for competing nor the winner’s purses. Additionally, riders expenses have not been reimbursed and the event is effectively nixed going forward.
Here are some details from ESPN’s Adryan Roane Ritter:
Now more than four months after the October 19th event, none of the athletes had seen payment. Several riders have confirmed with ESPN they have attempted to obtain payment via email with event organizer and co-founder Glen Griffin. In more than one case the rider received this email on February 26th from Griffin. “Esurance is pulling out of their contract which means we lose our funding and most likely are out of business. I am trying to find a way forward and will keep you posted on progress. I am really sorry for any trouble this has caused.”
On March 23rd athlete Ian Thorley received a final email from Griffin that solely stated, “We are out of business. Sorry.” By the time ESPN tried to call the Icer Air offices on March 27th the phones and emails had been shut down.
To add to the frustration, last week riders saw a $271.51 charge appear on the credit cards they put down for incidentals at the W Hotel, which Icer Air had provided according to the rider contracts. (Riders were responsible for travel costs to the contest.) “First we were told that no one was going to get paid from the event. Now the riders who put their cards down for the security deposit are being charged for their hotel rooms, which were supposed to be covered. What else is the Icer Air going to take away from us?” commented athlete Tim Humphreys.
ESPN attempted to reach both co-founders Trevor Hubbard and Glen Griffin multiple times but could not be reached for a statement by email or cell phone.
However, representatives from Esurance, the event’s title sponsor and butt of the blame for the non-payment of the athletes, told us they were shocked and saddened by this information. “We are really sad to hear that the riders haven’t been paid. This is news to us. Esurance was the title sponsor for the Icer Air event from 2005 through 2008 and fulfilled obligations and made all payments to Icer for those events, including the 2008 event.”
“Its heinous, its lame.” Says Jonny Moseley, a legendary professional skier who was heavily involved in the inaugural year of Icer Air and has played host the past three years. “Athletes need to get paid first, ahead of anything else. They’ve already taken the risk and put on a show and to not get paid is terrible. No matter what the excuse is business-wise you have got to take care of the athletes. I’m bummed that I’m associated to this.” Moseley has not received payment for hosting the 2008 event either.