Kim was reported as the first individual professional athlete to ever use Ebay to find a sponsor for advertising.
In the Fall, 2002, Kim established an auction to sell nine square inches of advertising space on her bowling skirt/shorts. The auction ran over seven days, and recieved unprecedented media coverage, beginning with a cover photo and article in Friday edition’s USA Today newspaper, written by Tom Clark. Alan Taylor Communications coordinated all media interviews over the next week. Key to this auction was the now famous bikini photo,
action shot of Kim bowling, and statistics including television “on camera” time average per-year.
Several interested parties and bidders included Pacific Pools, production for the new upcoming show Jimmy Kimmel Live, Splitsville Lanes, and Aaron’s Sales & Leasing. The final winning bid was with Pacific Pools with $14,389.89. Several other athletes, including various other professional bowlers, pro fishermen, Nascar teams, etc. attempted similar auctions in later weeks and months with little success. None of Kim’s auction success would have occurred without her strong bowling record coupled with her marketibility.
Below is a list of articles and interesting bits from the auction:
The Ebay auction became a springboard into a grassroots effort, initiated by Murray in the Morning of Chicago, to get Kim in Playboy Magazine. It was met with enthusiasm, and Kim, Tommy, and Playboy executives met in the Fall, 2002 to discuss options. After meetings with all of Kim’s sponsors at the time, the Playboy opportunity was shelved.