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Thread: AMA Pro Road Racing 2014 (maybe)

  1. #1
    EBRforum Junkie Classax's Avatar
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    AMA Pro Road Racing 2014 (maybe)

    So far the 2014 season(what there may be of it) is looking like a disaster and DMG I think we can safely say we are looking at the middle of the end of the end.http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...g-to-mid-ohio/ . Only 4 rounds confirmed for 2014 and its already the end of November. It doesn't look like any major organization will be racing at Laguna/Mazda and there still is not title sponsor for the superbike class. Fox Sports dropped them in 2012 and CBS Sport picked it up for 2013 and 2014. The race coverage was good and I think CBSS's approach to the race coverage was gaining traction, but what good is a TV deal when you have no races. Maybe we can get them to cover the 12 CMRA rounds instead... It's hard for me to believe that the venues are so profitable that they can afford to pass on the AMA. Its not like MOTO GP or WSBK where there are a ton a crazy facilities rules that make it uber expensive to host a race. And what's the deal with Laguna? Do they WANT to be a regional club track or have the tree huggers finally gotten their way and are forcing it to close down? AMA Pro is looking at a short bumpy ride for 2014.

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    EBRforum Expert Scott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Classax View Post
    So far the 2014 season(what there may be of it) is looking like a disaster and DMG I think we can safely say we are looking at the middle of the end of the end.http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/...g-to-mid-ohio/ . Only 4 rounds confirmed for 2014 and its already the end of November. It doesn't look like any major organization will be racing at Laguna/Mazda and there still is not title sponsor for the superbike class. Fox Sports dropped them in 2012 and CBS Sport picked it up for 2013 and 2014. The race coverage was good and I think CBSS's approach to the race coverage was gaining traction, but what good is a TV deal when you have no races. Maybe we can get them to cover the 12 CMRA rounds instead... It's hard for me to believe that the venues are so profitable that they can afford to pass on the AMA. Its not like MOTO GP or WSBK where there are a ton a crazy facilities rules that make it uber expensive to host a race. And what's the deal with Laguna? Do they WANT to be a regional club track or have the tree huggers finally gotten their way and are forcing it to close down? AMA Pro is looking at a short bumpy ride for 2014.

    It's frustrating because they have been moving in the right direction and the TV coverage was good (though the lack of coverage in the final round was unforgivable). I think they'll be adding more races and have at least 8 or 9 by the start of the season - but they should have a solid 12-15.

    It is a big catch 22. Nobody wants to invest until they're successful. They won't be successful unless people invest. They need someone with deep pockets who can afford to lose money for the next few years to come in with some real promotion and some big prize money.

    But that's not likely to happen.

    A couple suggestions I've seen posted elsewhere that might make some sense include: 1. Multiple races in the same year - April and September events in NJ, for example. and 2. A merger with Canadian Superbike.
    Last edited by Scott; 11-27-2013 at 10:33 AM.

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    EBRforum Junkie Classax's Avatar
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    Wow, only 4 conformed rounds, no wonder the title sponsor has pulled out. DOG it's official American road racing is beyond repair.

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    EBRforum Expert Scott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Classax View Post
    Wow, only 4 conformed rounds, no wonder the title sponsor has pulled out. DOG it's official American road racing is beyond repair.
    I'm probably naive/ignorant, but how difficult is it to book venues? That's clearly what they need. Why are previous venues not allowing them to re-book? And I'm seeing new racetracks popping up - such as the COTA. Why can't they hold events there, or at some smaller tracks that maybe haven't participated recently? There have to be 30 or more tracks that could potentially hold an AMA event.

    And while motorcycle racing in general may not be big in the US what other racing events are? Wouldn't the tracks like to have a relatively high-profile event like AMA rather than/in addition to WERA etc.? And if there are conflicts at tracks like Miller and Laguna Seca with the other races, can't they just do a different weekend?

    I can recognize there are likely complexities that I can't understand, but at this moment the task seems clear - add events. I just can't imagine that if they put that as their primary goal, they wouldn't be able to find enough venues accross this big country (and Canada? Mexico?) to hold 10 - 14 events.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    I'm probably naive/ignorant, but how difficult is it to book venues?
    In professional racing, venues book the sanction, not the other way around. A venue would have to determine it worth paying the sanctioning fee to host an event. AMA draws like a bad crayon, so why would anyone cough up money?

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    EBRforum Expert Scott's Avatar
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    Fair enough. So lets consider two tracks that (apparently) won't be hosting AMA in 2014 - Road Atlanta and NOLA. What higher profile events will they be hosting instead? I obviously don't know the numbers, but I can't imagine that the small crowds AMA would bring in wouldnt be larger than any club-racing or vintage days they might host otherwise. And if AMA can't find away to offer a package that makes it interesting enough for the track, that would seem to be totally an AMA management issue.

    How can it be possible that Road Atlanta is saying: "Sorry, nobody's interested in AMA racing. We're going to host an event in which drivers will be binging their classic MG's to race instead."

    I have to believe that, while interest may not be high, AMA could find a way to make the deals they need to make and have the races they need on the schedule if they tried.
    Last edited by Scott; 12-27-2013 at 06:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    Fair enough. So lets consider two tracks that (apparently) won't be hosting AMA in 2014 - Road Atlanta and NOLA. What higher profile events will they be hosting instead?
    Wrong question. Profile is not important unless you are an professional-events-only track like COTA, which neither of the above mentioned tracks are.

    I obviously don't know the numbers, but I can't imagine that the small crowds AMA would bring in wouldnt be larger than any club-racing or vintage days they might host otherwise. [...] How can it be possible that Road Atlanta is saying: "Sorry, nobody's interested in AMA racing. We're going to host an event in which drivers will be binging their classic MG's to race instead."
    Because the guys racing MGs are doing it just to put smiles on their faces and will pay their own way. So, a track like NOLA looks at the AMA, with the fees they have to pay to get the AMA to come there hoping to sell tickets to make a profit, versus the guarantee of a nice club event paying a rental, and covering their ancillary costs. If I owned that place, it would be an easy decision.

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    EBRforum Expert Scott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doosh View Post
    Wrong question. Profile is not important unless you are an professional-events-only track like COTA, which neither of the above mentioned tracks are.



    Because the guys racing MGs are doing it just to put smiles on their faces and will pay their own way. So, a track like NOLA looks at the AMA, with the fees they have to pay to get the AMA to come there hoping to sell tickets to make a profit, versus the guarantee of a nice club event paying a rental, and covering their ancillary costs. If I owned that place, it would be an easy decision.

    Road Atlanta currently has 4 events listed: https://www.roadatlanta.com/events/2014-schedule

    Are they really making money the other 48 weekends a month? I'm betting that the track will be pad-locked for many of those weekends. So you seem to be saying that RA will lose money if there is an AMA event - okay, I'll go with that since it seems the logical assumption.

    But with that in mind, I can't see how AMA Pro can't find a way to get it done. AMA pro NEEDS events to survive. If that means cutting the fee they charge to tracks and/or investing to bring more people to the tracks, that's what they need to do. It seems to me that AMA pro should do absolutley whatever it takes to ensure there are at least 10 races on the schedule or quit. I can't see a middle ground. Without more races, a bad situation is only going to get worse.

    From what you're saying (and logic would support it), AMA Pro is asking more from tracks than they're willing to pay. It's not like the tracks don't exist, there are plenty of them out there. And it's not that nobody is interested - while interest may be light, I have to imagine there are as many or more people in the Atlanta area interested in seeing the nation's top motorcycle riders in a nationally televised race series that is covered in numerous magazines and online sites than there are people interested in seeing "The Mitty" for example.

    So I believe they have a product that may not be in high demand, but is reasonable salable and they've got tracks that I believe would host events if offered the proper financial package so why can't they just do what it takes to get it done?

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    I get what you are saying, but the economics just don't work. A place like Road Atlanta costs quite a bit just to open up the place and staff it for a professional level race. Just breaking even for a track expected to cover the costs won't be that easy considering spectator draw at AMA races is pretty lean.

    From a track owner's viewpoint, it's entirely possible "the right financial package" is the AMA paying THEM to have an event. I don't know the particulars of professional racing's economics, but I know there's no way a track can make money paying the AMA to bring the event to them as is typical in professional racing. The spectator numbers just aren't there.

    What do you think a ticket to an AMA event at Road Atlanta should cost? We can strawman the numbers from there. You are gonna be surprised...

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    EBRforum Junkie Classax's Avatar
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    Well all I know is they keep issuing new rules but no schedule. I think CBSS coverage was heading in the right direction to increasing the profile of American motorcycle racing. EBR success in WSBK will as well. DMG pursue building a fan base outside the normal participant circles if they want big gates. You have to find a way to make it cheaper to do more rounds at more tracks not less. The racing in superbike has not been all that compelling but the coverage made it seem so. Get your athletes into mainstream media situations.

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