Apr 07, 2010 at 05:00 PM
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In Absence of Sponsors, Soap Box Derby Turns To Hollywood

Pushed to the brink of financial insolvency, the All-American Soap Box Derby is turning to what may seem like an unlikely source: Hollywood. The legendary amateur event, which began in 1934, has faced widely publicized financial difficulties in recent years after sponsors left the event, but former LA Law star Corben Bersen hopes to create a new revenue stream in the form of a new indie film called 25 Hill. Bersen who read about the event's sponsorship difficulties in USA Today last year, will begin shooting the film in the Soap Box Derby's hometown of Akron today.

"The derby used to be this huge event; 50,000 people used to show up, and Chevrolet was a huge sponsor," Bernsen told the Hollywood Reporter when asked about the project. "But the times, the economy, the kids got into other interests. Sponsorship has really dwindled. It's a nonprofit, and it needs money."

USA Today writes that the Soap Box Derby stands to get 10% of 25 Hill's budget as a licensing fee and a smaller cut of future revenue.

The not-for-profit that runs the Soap Box Derby last year announced it would create a "green" platform in an effort to attract new environmentally-friendly sponsors, at the time stating that 400 companies had turned down its $250,000 sponsorship proposal over the previous year. Past sponsors include Chevrolet, Goodyear, Home Depot and Levi's.