Nov 7, 2001
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Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>The November 6 announcement that AMA Pro Racing ended a long-standing partnership in Supercross with race promoter Clear Channel Entertainment/Motorsports (formerly SFX Motorsports and PACE Motorsports) in favor of a new deal with Jam Sports, a division of Jam Productions, was a shock to many in the motorcycle industry. After a 27-year relationship that has seen Supercross grow to become the most valuable motorcycle racing property in America, if not the world, AMA Pro Racing's Board of Directors decided that they could do better with a company that has no known motorsports event promotion experience. Jam Sports' Larry Solter, listed on the AMA Pro Racing press release as a contact for Jam Sports, did not accept our phone calls seeking additional information. So we called Clear Channel to get the company's reaction to the announcement and got right through.<BR><BR>"It's pretty much business as usual for us," said Dan Krolczyk, Senior Director of Motorcycle Marketing and Promotions for Clear Channel Entertainment/Motorsports. "It's certainly not what we had hoped for. It's not the direction everyone around here wanted to proceed in. We will probably make a full-blown statement within a week, but there's not really a lot of reactionary statement. The sanctioning body said that they want to produce a Supercross series with a different promoter. <BR><BR>"We've been trying to continue the relationship. As Charlie Mancuso (President of Clear Channel Entertainment/Motorsports) said at the Las Vegas Supercross banquet (held in May 2001), ‘We've been in business with them (AMA) for 27 years, and we hope to be in business with them for another 27 years.' That's what Charlie said in front of the entire motorcycle industry at the banquet.<BR><BR>"I really have no idea what the Jam Productions guys are offering them that we aren't. I only have about as much information as you guys have and that we've all seen in the press release. We're really not sure and really can't see what tangible benefits they (Jam Productions) have. I'm personally unaware of any involvement they (Jam) have in motorsports. They may have (involvement in motorsports). In our day-to-day operations, we try to be familiar with what everyone else is doing. I'm familiar with most of our competition, but that name hasn't surfaced as a (motorsports) competitor until yesterday. (laughs) Obviously, our competition is everything from Blockbuster Video and the Monsters, Inc. movie. Our competition is entertainment. So they've been a competitor as far as producing concerts and theatrical and putting consumers into venues in some way, shape or form. I'm certainly unaware of any motorsports involvement. <BR><BR>"We've been producing and promoting the Supercross series for 27 years, and we expect to continue to produce a Supercross series. Obviously, we're moving forward with our 2002 plans and beyond…well beyond. We're doing the 2002 season. We're doing the 2003 and we expect to move onward and upward beyond that. We have long-term agreements and actual relationships with all of our venues. If we have to do 2003 with Formula USA as a sanctioning body, we'll do it. We'll do it well, and we will succeed. Competition isn't anything new to us. We've been through it before."<BR><BR>Krolczyk then pointed out that as we spoke, Clear Channel was preparing for three F-USA-sanctioned Arenacross events and a Freestyle Motocross competition for this coming weekend alone and that the 2002 EA Sports Supercross season is already at 140 percent ticket sales over what it was this time last year.<BR><BR>"You know, this all may not happen," said Krolczyk. "As far as I know, all they have (AMA Pro Racing and Jam Productions) is a letter of intent. I may have a letter of intent to go to dinner with you, but we may not when it comes down to it."