Steamboat gets free TV advertising

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— The best kind of advertising is free advertising especially when it reaches anywhere from 18 million to 20 million viewers.

That is how many people Andy Wirth, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. vice president of sales and marketing, thinks saw the Steamboat Ski Area footage that accompanied the Christmas Eve Denver Broncos broadcast on CBS.

The footage shot by Ski Corp. videographer Michael Bye included views of the Yampa Valley from the ski area and gondola cars with the Steamboat logo painted on the side headed up the mountain.

Then, of course, there was a shot of Santa Claus skiing Steamboat's Champagne powder that was Fed Exed to CBS on Friday afternoon.

The images were used as "B roll," a television term for those segments during the game when Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talk about things other than football.

Wirth said Steamboat was able to get the exposure on the broadcast because of longstanding relationships with a CBS Sports executive producer and director. CBS sports announcer Vern Lundquist also has been known to brag about his attachment to the Yampa Valley during broadcasts.

The Broncos pulled off a last-minute victory over the Cincinnati Bengals during the snowy game Sunday. The game was broadcast on about 80 percent of the CBS affiliates across the country. And the best part about it was it was free exposure for the ski area.

To put the advertising cost in perspective, a 30-second advertisement during such a broadcast would easily cost $100,000.

"We could not afford that," Wirth said.

Wirth said there was an increase in calls at Central Reservations on Tuesday along with more visits to the Web site, but it is unclear whether that was connected to the Broncos game exposure.

"It's oftentimes gets overstated that when it snows on a Broncos home game, the calls go through the roof," Wirth said. "There is much more to it than that. It's a time of year when we can send the snow message."

Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said Sunday's game was a big game and connecting the snow with Steamboat was a powerful message to encourage people to come to Steamboat to vacation.

"Putting the bug in someone's ear can go a long way along especially with the power of images," Polumbus said.

- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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