By David Swarts
Round Four of the 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing series will begin
this coming Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, California. The
AMA Pro races will be held in conjunction with eni FIM Superbike World
Championship races, and the event is likely to be the largest of the AMA Pro
Road Racing season. But as of today AMA Pro Racing hasn’t been able to confirm if there will be any TV or Internet video coverage of its races--nor even a
webcast on Fanschoice.tv.
In contrast, the two World Superbike races at Laguna Seca
will be broadcast live in America on the beIN Sports network, available on
DirecTV, Dish and leading cable service suppliers.
On June 12, Roadracing World e-mailed AMA Pro Racing and
asked if the AMA Pro Superbike and Daytona Sportbike races at Mazda Raceway
Laguna Seca and the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson races at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway would be webcast on Fanschoice.tv. Copied on the e-mail were AMA Pro
Racing’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Gentry, Director of Communications and
Technology Gene Crouch, Manager of Communications Patrick Buganski and
Communications Coordinator Andrew Swain.
The e-mail was not acknowledged and we received no response.
We asked Buganksi and Swain again during the AMA Pro Road Race event June 21-22
at Barber Motorsports Park, but both said they didn’t know.
Last week, calls to Crouch, Buganski and Swain at AMA Pro
Racing headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida went to voicemail and were not
returned. Roadracing World then re-sent the June 12 e-mail to Gentry, Crouch,
Buganski and Swain, but as of post time no reply or acknowledgement of the
e-mail had been received.
Despite the lack of response, fans should not count on
seeing the AMA Pro road races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca unless they attend
in person and watch from trackside.
Last year, AMA Pro Racing’s much-heralded TV broadcast deal
with Chet Burks Productions and CBS Sports didn’t include coverage of AMA Pro
races held during the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna
Seca. AMA Pro Racing kept that fact
secret, and didn’t even notify Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca CEO/General Manager
Gill Campbell. Along with AMA Pro teams and riders, she learned about the lack
of TV coverage from Roadracing World.
Dorna, which promotes both the MotoGP and World Superbike
series, owns and controls all the TV rights at its events. The Spanish company
brings in cameras, equipment, camera operators and a director and rents its own
production facilities. Coverage of support races has to be shot and edited
using Dorna’s cameras, cables, personnel and equipment, and there’s a price for
A last-minute deal was brokered at the 2013 Red Bull U.S.
Grand Prix, and it was announced in the middle of the race weekend that the AMA
Pro races would be taped and broadcast at a later date on CBS Sports, which
But when Dorna returned to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in
September 2013 with its eni FIM Superbike World Championship, there was no TV
coverage of the AMA Pro races at that event. Campbell said she considered
herself lucky that Dorna voluntarily decided to feed video of the AMA Pro races
to the media center, luxury suites, pit-lane TVs set up by AMA Pro teams and
the big-screen TVs around the racetrack. But the at-event feed didn’t go beyond
the racetrack, and didn’t generate TV exposure for teams and sponsors.
The lack of TV coverage factored into Michael Jordan
Motorsports leaving the AMA Pro series and into several series and class title
sponsors pulling out as well.
According to people with knowledge of the deal, there was no
TV coverage of the AMA Pro races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September
because AMA Pro Racing owed Dorna money. In short, AMA Pro Racing did not pay
Dorna what it had agreed to pay to get video from the MotoGP weekend in July.
As of post time, AMA Pro Racing still had not settled its
debt from last year with Dorna.
Which is why fans should not count on seeing any video of
AMA Pro Racing action at Laguna Seca.
Nothing on TV.
Nothing on big screens at the track.
Nothing on TV screens in luxury suites.
Nothing on team monitors along pit lane.
Nothing on the Internet.
Nothing at all.