Eric Steele Is Off to a Fast Start at USA Roller Sports

By Matt Swenson, May 3, 2018

Skateboarding will be an Olympic sport come 2020. What role does USA Roller Sports play in that?

We have a committee that’s been formed here and have submitted our proposal to be that governing body of skateboarding. Then there is the skateboarding community as a whole that existed through a variety of different organizations throughout the country and the world, and they have formed something loosely based around an NGB and submitted a proposal. It’s between that group and us—the USOC will ultimately make that decision. If it wants to go with history and the tradition of governing a sport, then it will go with us. If that were to happen, it would be big deal for us.  We would hire a lot more staff and have a lot more budget to work with, so I hope we get it.

Do any of your other sports stand a shot at the Olympics?

The one that is positioned the best is speed skating. A lot of ice speed skaters at the Winter Olympics might be looking for an alternative way to medal. I could almost guarantee you that there’s be lots of crossover of those athletes from ice to roller skates.

What’s the USA Roller Sports’ national championship like?

Traditionally, the championships are held in Lincoln for two years and move to another city the third year. That seems to be the model that’s working. What we save in the two years staying in Lincoln helps us take the show on the road.

With hotels and meals, the championships bring in around $7.5 million into Lincoln over six weeks. To put that in perspective, a football weekend in Lincoln does about $4 million. We’re basically equivalent to two football weekends when you think about it.

Where do you hope to see the NGB in three years?

I hope to see growth in our sports—that’s number one because membership dictates revenue. Number two would be increased membership benefits and better communication. That’s why we made a small investment in new technology. Living out of Lincoln, we need to reach all corners electronically. Number three is maintaining the integrity of the sport and evolving as need be.

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