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Sep 9, 2013

Laguna Seca Boss Campbell “Incredibly Disappointed” AMA Pro Road Racing Season Finale Will Not Be Televised, And No Talks Yet About 2014

GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing: If you aren't there in person at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, you won't see how the 2013 AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship turns out. Here, Josh Hayes (1), Josh Herrin (2), Roger Hayden (54) and Martin Cardenas (36) are seen at Laguna Seca in July. Photo by Brian J. Nelson/AMA Pro Racing.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca CEO and General Manager Gill Campbell says she is “incredibly disappointed” that the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season finale, scheduled to take place alongside the eni FIM Superbike World Championship at the Monterey, California road course September 27-29, will not be televised inside or outside the facility.

“Obviously, I’m incredibly disappointed,” Campbell told Roadracingworld.com Monday, the morning after a successful Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series event at her track. “We thought that we had done our part. And it is purely their [AMA Pro Racing] decision not to have television. I think it is very unfortunate for all of the AMA fans and participants. This is the finale, the year-end, the Championship, and it’s not being broadcast?

“I keep getting told that they have things happening down the road. I have no idea what those things are, but it doesn’t help anything right now.

“I don’t know. They have a different way of running a series than I’ve ever encountered before, to be honest.”

With no television broadcast deal in place it means that there will be no broadcast of the AMA Pro races to viewers at home, no AMA Pro on-track footage shown via the video monitors on pit lane or anywhere within Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and possibly no video record at all of the 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing season finale.

All of the on-track World Superbike action, however, will be broadcast to the monitors and video screens at the track courtesy of Dorna Sports, the owners of the rights to the eni FIM Superbike World Championship. The World Superbike races should be broadcast live in America on beIN SPORT and webcast live at www.beinsport.tv , as they have been all season.

But Campbell is still working on an idea to get some AMA Pro action broadcast on monitors at the track during her event.

“I’m not sure, because Dorna controls that weekend, that I’m going to be able to exercise that idea,” said Campbell, “but the idea would be to try to live stream it [within the facility] with on-board cameras, GoPro-type cameras, which would at least give us something. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to negotiate that one with Dorna or not. I haven’t approached them with that one yet. I want to do everything I can for our customers.”

That idea will do little to replace the lost exposure for sponsors of the racetrack, the series, the teams and the riders.

“The sponsors and everyone else are really affected by this,” said Campbell, “because they don’t get the exposure, particularly at this time of year. This is the time of year we go out trying to renew sponsorships and get sponsorships for next year. My heart goes out to the teams.”

Asked how this latest situation combined with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca nearly losing television coverage of the AMA Pro races during the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in July will affect her relationship with AMA Pro Racing going forward, Campbell said, “Everything is based upon relationships, and I know that Jim France [a partner in the Daytona Motorsports Group, which owns AMA Pro Racing] has expressed for the series to do whatever they can to help us, whether it’s live streaming or whatever. It certainly does lend itself to taking a look at the package as a whole and just seeing where do we want to invest our money.

“When you set out and you think you’re buying this product and it ends up being an inferior product or a different product, it certainly makes you go back to the drawing board.

“We’re a non-profit organization. I not only have to keep this facility going, but I have to keep the organization going and think about what’s good for everybody and what’s good for our organization. Over the next month or so I’m going to be giving a lot of thought to what that business model really looks like, and if there’s not much support there from AMA [Pro Racing] for the future I need to take a really hard look at that.”

Campbell said that she and AMA Pro Racing have not even begun talking about working together on an event in 2014.

For more information about the combined eni FIM Superbike World Championship/GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Championship finale, go to www.mazdaraceway.com .