by David Lloyd, Co-owner Lloyd Brothers
The circumstances that have
brought the AMA Pro Racing Dirt Track Series (I prefer Dirt Track over Flat
Track for its marketing value so that is what I call it) to its current state
has nothing to do with the economy or the on-track racing action. It has nothing to do with the efforts of the
AMA Pro Racing Dirt Track team as I can attest that everyone from the AMA Pro
Racing Director of Dirt Track, Dan Johnsen, down to the crew loading the gear
at the races work hard and with passion.
The problem is the business model that they have been directed to work
within. I am willing to bet that any
company that has maintained the same business model that they had 40 years ago
has lost market share just like we have.
There is an incredible amount
of passion for the sport of motorcycle dirt track racing. Well directed passion will breed
success. We are in need of a unified
promotional organization properly resourced to enable and implement a
coordinated vision between AMA Pro Racing, teams, riders, sponsors and venues
to ensure future success and growth of the series.
To realize the potential
success of the AMA Pro Racing Dirt Track Series, adoption of a revised business
model is necessary and we don’t have to look much further than Supercross or
the Pro Bull Riding Association. A
fundamental change to the current business plan for dirt track is warranted to
not only reach an acceptable level of sustainability for AMA Pro Racing teams
to continue to compete in the series but also to grow the sport, expand the fan
base and deliver consistent profits with proper track location, selection and
The AMA Pro Racing website
states “In 2008, the American Motorcycle Association announced the sale of
certain professional racing properties to AMA Pro Racing, based in Daytona
Beach, Florida. The move was brought about by the need for the association to place the
management of pro racing in the hands of a well resourced motorsports
Despite the stated reasons for
purchasing pro racing from AMA, Ohio;
AMA Pro Racing continues to operate with the same business model as AMA
Ohio, acting as a sanctioning body and series administrator, not an entertainment promotion company.
The current business model
requires the sale of many individual sanctions to promoters (some with no
experience) that barely offset the cost of goods sold associated with the
officiating of each event. Other income
is generated through registration fees charged to competitors and crews. Lastly, income is generated by selling
sponsorships to series sponsors. This
strategy is deficient in that:
·Location and scheduling of the races
is dependent on the promoter.
·In order to build a series with
enough races to attract sponsors, AMA Pro Racing is forced to compromise
standards when selling sanctions to some tracks and promoters that are not
national level in terms of facility quality, location, demographics, promotion
experience and potential sponsor and fan draw.
·The success of the event lies
largely with the promoter and his ability to promote and manage the event. The track location, advertising budget, pre-race
promotional activities, media relations, facility condition, track preparation
equipment availability, ticket pricing and fan experience are all in the hands
of the promoter and are outside of the direct control of AMA Pro Racing. Thus
creating an inconsistency in quality.
·The series ends up with events
spread widely geographically and many with low spectator attendance and a less
than excellent fan experience.
·Many events do not reach enough
spectators to create an acceptable return on investment for sponsors to commit
to levels of sponsorship to make it possible for AMA Pro Racing and race teams
to offset the high costs of travel to these events, leading to low rider turn
out, unhappy promoters and a poor fan experience.
·With the fate of the series in the
hands of so many different promoters, the quality of the series is compromised
and it is impossible to sell a series sponsorship. There was no series sponsor for the 2013 expert division
because the series hasn’t realized the marketing value of which it is truly
·When a single
event is a success and has adequate to high spectator attendance, the promoter
benefits the most financially, not AMA Pro Racing or the teams. When an event
is a failure, the promoter, AMA Pro Racing and the teams all suffer the
A revised business model where
AMA Pro Racing, or a new separate entity, partners with existing top-rated
promoters and events and also exclusively targets new locations and promotes new
events is necessary. This will benefit
AMA Pro Racing, the race teams and the series in that:
·There will be more conformity and
better efficiency between the events as related to promotion, preparation and
execution. Lessons learned at one event can be immediately implemented for a
better, more successful next event.
·Standardize promotional items and
·Better managed and improved fan
·Better control of sponsor, media and
participant relations at each event.
·Sponsors and marketing partners will
be more attracted to the series and teams when events are well attended and are
located in strong geographic markets.
·AMA Pro Racing will be more
profitable hosting well attended events than it will ever be by just selling
·AMA Pro Racing,
teams and riders will directly benefit from successful events in lieu of just a
third party promoter.
Once a unified promotion
company is in place then the work can begin to:
·Implement a television package.
·Promote the athletes and teams to
build a strong fan base and broaden the awareness of the sport.
·Improve paddock presentation.
·Create events – not just races.