Jul 16, 2013
© 2013, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
by David Swarts
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A shot from an AMA Pro road race during the 2012 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson/AMA Pro Racing.
There will be no television broadcasts of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Races this coming weekend, July 19-21, during the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Roadracingworld.com learned of this news via a tip from a source with direct knowledge of the situation during last weekend’s AMA Pro Road Racing event at Mid-Ohio, and now the news has been confirmed by Gill Campbell, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Roadracingworld.com called Campbell earlier Tuesday afternoon to ask her about the tipped information. At the time of that call, Campbell was under the impression that the races were to be televised, but she said that she would call to confirm the plans and report back.
Campbell called Roadracingworld.com back later Tuesday afternoon and said, “You’re right.”
Asked for further comment, Campbell said, “I am speechless. I don’t know what to say. When it is the premier motorcycle [road racing] series in America that is unable to produce a television program from their largest single spectator event of the year and the largest motorcycle gathering of the year, I think that is extremely sad and lacking in forethought.”
Campbell said she received confirmation of the news in a phone call she made to David Atlas, the former Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Managing Director of Daytona Motorsports Group and AMA Pro Racing who has also gone by the title of Chief Business Development Officer and was listed as "Managing Board Member of AMA Pro Racing" in an April 23rd press release announcing a new TV deal for the balance of the 2013 season. The release quoted Atlas as saying, "We are incredibly proud of this television package..."
The AMA Pro Racing press release announcing the new TV deal did not divulge that some races would not be televised, an unprecedented development. As a result, race teams included TV coverage of all the scheduled rounds in their sponsorship proposals, and team and series sponsors were counting on TV exposure.
“The biggest thing for me is my customers in our hospitality areas are going to wonder why we are not running the coverage of the AMA races,” on TV monitors, said Campbell.
Campbell said her next phone call would be to Dorna, the rights holder of the FIM MotoGP World Championship, to hopefully broker a deal in which Dorna will shoot video of the AMA Pro races to feed to the jumbtron screens and hospitality suites at the track.
At Mid-Ohio, AMA Pro Racing Director of Communications Gene Crouch declined to comment on the matter of television coverage of the races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Crouch did not immediately return a call seeking comment on this article prior to post time.
Campbell also reported that there are no firm plans to televise the AMA Pro Road Race season finale, which will be held as part of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship event September 27-29 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. But she said negotiations to televise that event are ongoing.