A couple hours ago, Roadracing World  broke the story that AMA Pro Road Racing will not be aired on TV during the series’ first stop of the year at Laguna Seca this weekend — and for bonus points, AMA racing action likely won’t even be seen on the screens around the track, including the team hospitality suites and pit boxes. The word you are now looking for is “shitastrophe” — it’s in the dictionary, right next to the DMG logo.

You may remember that the AMA season started with a bit of concern, as America’s premier road racing series was without a TV contract beyond the venerable oddity that is the Daytona 200. This left teams, riders, and fans in a bit of a lurch.

For the teams and riders, the questionable state of television coverage for the 2013 season meant an added difficulty in finding sponsorship dollars, after all the nearly non-existent fan attendance at races was only palatable for sponsors when reconciled the money spent would include the stayed-at-home-instead TV viewership.

For the fans of American road racing, the lack of TV coverage created an even more philosophical debate: if a rider races on Sunday, and no one is able to watch it on TV, did it even happen? Go ahead and take your time on that one.

We all breathed a sigh of relief though when the news came through that AMA Pro Road Racing, i.e. Daytona Motorsport Group, inked a TV deal with CBS Sports. With the channel  not available on most basic cable packages, the CBS Sports deal wasn’t the best possible outcome for the situation, but it was better than no deal at all, and still par for the course with WSBK being relegated to beIN Sports just a couple months earlier.

Well as RRW is now reporting, the deal is a bit worse than having to add some more channels to your cable box, as the CBS Sports TV contract evidently didn’t include all the races of the 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing season, and for reasons beyond human comprehension, Laguna Seca, the perhaps most heavily spectated race on the calendar, will thus not be broadcasted on TV.

In the few calls I have had with teams in the AMA, the news comes as a shock, though some are less surprised than others. The fallout for riders and teams though is the biggest concern, as some contracts were made with certain expectations from sponsors having a chance to be on the small-screen.

What doesn’t find its way into a courtroom, or worse in a the reimbursement of much needed funding, will certainly end up in the loss of goodwill at the bargaining table next year — as if prying dollars out the hands of potential sponsors wasn’t hard enough already.

In a series that is already unable to fill the stands with fans, and has trouble employing even last year’s runner-up in the Superbike class, the complete loss of TV coverage for American road racing would likely be the death blow to the sport, and today’s news puts some dangerous writing on the walls in that regard.

Even AMA Pro Racing’s bold move of offering races online for free (subscriptions available for viewers outside the US), a maneuver that I was just getting ready to praise in another article, will be too late to save the series, as YouTube still doesn’t have the sway as the venerable television set.

We stand now at a precipitous moment, where if AMA Pro Road Racing isn’t aired on television, than the exodus of whatever money that is left in the sport will exit with an audible whooshing sound. For most fans, a lack of TV coverage means a loss of interest, and for most sponsors, the lack of TV means the lack of any real marketing ROI, which could make the 2014 season look like a very expensive AFM/WERA/CCS round.

Gill Campbell, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, probably said it best when talking to Roadracing World, “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.”

We couldn’t agree more. It will be interesting to see what happens at the AMA’s scheduled rounds after Laguna Seca, very interesting indeed.

Source: Roadracing World

  • It’s not just the AMA/DMG, and not just in the USA. Getting video and TV to the fans is critical for all the major championships, both national and international for their long term viability. And yet, Dorna and others consistently drop the ball and/or they impose serious region restrictions. One pretty good option is to use Eurosport but that requires a VPN to the UK, a subscription, they’re probably going to lose MotoGP next year. And that only covers MotoGP, WSB, BSB not AMA, IDM or any of the others.

    Then there’s things like the Suzuka 8 Hours, Japanese championships and so on. And taking out a subscription with each governing body’s web site isn’t really an option either simply due to the cost even if they do actually have an online feed. I don’t particularly mind the video being web only with no TV, but I do mind having to pay multiple subs. And while people like Dorna want to make their video subs a profit centre, it makes it less likely that a 3rd party sports aggregator will be able to collect and show all the feeds.

  • TexusTim

    ok so because of the way the ama races were shown the few couple years it kept loosing apeal…when it was on direct tv they couldnt even get the title of the race right and would show the last few minutes of the previous race that hadn been aired yet and you end up being you own spoiler ? as you find the results before the race is aired..friggin idiots ! even though I have lots of respect for past champions they had no real voice in the booth ..nothing like dorna’s two guys that know when the riders go to the bathroom …lol…so long and short is the ama didnt do anything about its tv prescence they let it flop just like when they went after mladdins motors but let spies go, they ran off the series champion?…ama is there own worse enemy there owned by dmg this is the problem…they should get out of that somehow and aproch one of the big 4 and make a broadcast deal before the series falls on its ass, I lost intrest I have to admit…whats the use if dmg makes it so no one can watch it…what are they thinking? they need a new direction completly remember these are the guys that thought haveing a pace bike at laguna would be a good thing, they thought having there new hire bill syfan yell on national tv at the hayden’s at the laguna race for stupid things that almost caused major injury…when you go against a racing family like the hayden’s there is a problem when you go after a series champion to give another an advatage theres a problem,,,when you have no real plan fo tv theres a problem…..not showing the ama laguna race or having even a backup plan for the unaired events means there killing the american market…not everyone is a big enough fan to hunt for this stuff…pay more than there 100 a month cable plan to be able to watch it…this is a problem that dorna and dmg needs to come to tearms with right now…..DECIDE IF TV DEALS MEANS MORE THAN YOUR FAN BASE…IF YOU WANT FANS YOU MUST GIVE THEM A DEPENDABLE AFFORDABLE WAY TO WATCH EVERY SINGLE RACE…you cant have a favorite rider if you never get to see him or her ride for christ sakes

  • Steve

    I quit the AMA after 15 years due to mutiple issues….
    1. After the take over of the AMA by the current regime, everything changed.. they sold AMA Racing to DMG. Which brings us to today. Granted, the previous AMA Mgmt was accused of embezzlement but we had racing & the AMA magazine was a pleasure to read… now we have little or no racing & the magazine sucks
    2. The Nobby Clark fiasco…. I sent a letter to the AMA CEO asking for a response… the entire motorcycling world asked him for a response… al we got was SILENCE…. I emailed the board of driectors & told them if they do not come clean & heads roll over this & the direction the AMA has mistakenly chosen to go, then I will quit the AMA…. I heard more silence…
    3. Rule changes, screw ups…. seems DMG changes racing rules when they feel like it… often with no reason… plus… the multiple screwups … starting lights not working, false starts,,, it is comical…

    Being a member of the AMA adds ZERO Value! NADA! I already have towing insurance, etc… & like I said… the perk of the magazine is gone…. stupid articles about helmet freedom, blah, blah, blah…
    The AMA is their own worst enemy… they create the loud pipes controversy in my opinion. I keep yelling from the rooftops that we do not need to do anything about loud pipes as there are already noise ordinances is every town in the US & by highlighting this as a #1issue, the AMA & their sheep are only giving small town & bigcity politicians issues to attack motorcyclists with. & besides… I like the sound of a motorcycle in a high state of tune! Of course, no one likes to hear an open piped Harley blasting through their neighborhood at 2am…but thats what noise ordinances are for… no additional laws are needed…
    & like the article says… the #1 rider Blake Young can’t even find a ride… or BenBostrom….
    They have turned the AMA into something… but I’m not sure exaclty what it is… they say “riding & rights”… I say a paycheck & soapbox for the AMA Mgmt…
    no thanks… & to hell with trying to watch the races on TV…. I have those oddball channels on my cable plan…. I try to DVR SBK but the AMA races are boring.. watchin Josh Hayes easily win & JOsh herrin basically getting pulled aroundthe track by hayes… nah…. they can keep it.

  • Ape

    Wait, you mean there’s still an AMA/DMG series? Stopped watching that debacle two years ago.

  • smiler

    That is in the same league as Dorna moving MotoGP from a provider millions of people can see to BT in the Old Country which no one can or will see…just for the money.
    What a shame.

  • JoeD

    I have no direct evidence, but the 800 lb gorilla (HD) is secretly elated and perhaps a bit influential in this. They cannot make their bikes competitive against any thing and DMG loves a show. Look at the Rider’sEdge training program-Dealership walk throughs with the intent of hooking another customer thinly disguised as education. A recent meeting with our DMV had one of the HD dealership reps state “It depends on how many times we have to run them before they pass” when asked about total time to administer the license waiver. Wrong answer if the rules do not permit retests without a waiting period. Rules, make them up as you go. Dig into the history of AMA and realize It(AMA) is about politics, not racing. None of my money supports AMA, DMG or HD. NASCAR sucks too.

  • keet

    i wish this whole AMA/DMG thing would just die already. I used to watch every race and even go to a few, now i couldn’t care less. And maybe if it dies, someone who actually cares about racing can come in and start fresh with a clean slate and start a new racing series.

  • superloco

    It’s almost as if DMG wants AMA Pro Roadracing to fail. Come the last race of the season, it’s going to be like rats escaping a sinking ship. There’s going to be another mass exodus of people and sponsors before next year. By 2016, the series is going to be done.

  • jesse cecil

    This is baffling, and I just wonder which party allowed/intended for Laguna to slip through the cracks. The CBS Sports Network isn’t available to everyone but the coverage has been exemplary, with pre-race background material, pit reporters, same-afternoon airtimes, and replays of previous weeks’ races before new ones. This being the case, I can’t see CBS being the party that said, “We’ll sign on for your series, but we’re not going to film the rounds at Laguna Seca.” (Yes, I said roundS, as word is the season finale at Laguna that is shared with WSBK won’t be filmed either.)
    Sheer idiocy, and it makes absolutely no sense for any party involved not to film Laguna. I can’t help but think it must be AMA/DMG that caused it, b/c thry took the further step of not telling the teams for CYA. I wonder… was it going to cost AMA/DMG a lot of money to film Laguna? Only thing I can think of…

  • philly phil

    The US is so freakin backwards at times

  • Arthur Dent

    Time for a breakaway racing series methinks. Seriously, there may have been a time when a racetrack talking to an alternative promoter would have incurred the wrath of AMA Pro Road Racing, but DMG have methodically dismantled every bit of clout they may have once had. The junkyard dog is now a sickly poodle and its time for somebody else to take over.

    The USA has some of the finest racetracks in the world, a history of producing multiple dominant champions and a broadcasting network with literally hundreds of special-interest channels, yet DMG cant assemble a Superbike grid with a single rider capable of getting in the top 10 at any world level, and even Public Access Television wont take their calls.

    This bush-league mess is clearly beyond saving. Please, somebody who can spell “marketing” take this golden opportunity and turn AMA Pro Road Racing into the historical footnote it so desperately deserves to be.

  • Craig

    It’s what happens when $$ become the god served and not the racing or people DMG/ AMA signed on to serve and take care of.

    I know the racers like the series better and I admit… I haven’t heard negative inside the series lately… but look where we are right now… 5 bikes with maybe a chance to run up front, then a bunch of A+ club racers (not a bad thing) running 1.5 – 2.0 seconds behind.

    If you are going to promote this… you better do it wisely and wisely is NOT cancelling the two most important MARKETING races…


  • Daniel Croft

    The problem with the road racing in the US as it’s run by the DMG is that they’re systematically undermining the structures that would warrant another body starting a competing series. They’re showing to businesses that even the company that makes a killing with NASCAR can’t make a working series. Who’s going to invest in it if they can’t do it? Who’s going to spend the capital setting it up. Whether intentional or not, the sale of AMA Road Racing to DMG is the death of the sport here in the US. Almost every decision the DMG has taken as reduces the credibility of the sport and the participants. It is genuinely a shame.

    Just think about the opportunity that was lost when Ben Spies went from AMA SBK to WSBK and won. Very sad indeed.

  • Old Guy

    The funniest part of this mess is you’re (A&R) quoting from RRW (aka John’s World) as if they have any credibility.

    Remember: We wouldn’t have DMG if not for AMA Board Member John Ulrich and his cronies. Ulrich used RRW to bang the gong for Edmonson and ISC and spew all that “take the money out of racing” BS.

    Ulrich and DMG took the money out of racing all right…

  • Slangbuster

    This is disappointing to hear. How many times can the AMA shoot itself in the foot, before it has no foot left? It makes me think Edmonson is still making decisions behind the scenes. If this was not so sad, it would be laughable. The AMA has become a bad lounge act and will soon be left with Johnny Rock Page smoking a little weed and circulating the track by himself screaming from atop the podium…. “I won, I won, let’s make a reality show”. With all this drama by the AMA over the years (decades), the AMA has become an embarrassment in the industry and I can only hope this will be the final nail in the coffin for the AMA. This situation and all the collateral damage, is so unfortunate for the dwindling number of fans of the sport, but sadly…. typical for the AMA. They certainly are consistent, I’ll give em that. I suppose there’s always NASCAR….”Hey Billy Bob,.. turn the sound up!”.

  • BBQdog

    Over here in 2014 MotoGP coverage is going from the BBC to BT. I wonder how many viewers are going to make that switch.

  • G

    Motorsport is dead in America. Period. No one will put money behind a racing series unless they are commited to being an endless parade of billboards running in circles with drivers/riders who are only there to hold up a can of beer, bottle of gatoraid or nice refreshing coke. Its another patheting sellout to the zombie corporate America. I have 15 sports channels, 15!!!! During the summer, on any one is an endles loop of Nascar and baseball. Speed had a good thing going there for a year or two but that has long since sank to hell also. Even in europe, where a 24-hour devotion to soccer would be expected, enough time is given to MotoGP, SBK and WSBK. American riders are a thing of the past. We will never see another American world champion in F1 or GP. There is no support here. There are no heroes.

  • singletrack

    “Time for a breakaway racing series methinks.”
    And we know how well that worked for CART vs IRL series, or American Lemans vs IMSA/Grand Am etc.

    The current AMA/DMG whatever series has to either die, or get a complete management/direction change to make it relevant again. I still get misty eyed for the Miguel Duhamel era of AMA Superbikes, when it offered the best of the best. Now, meh.

    Thank goodness for Motocross and Supercross. Even though the outdoor MX series TV package is fractured, at least its on TV. In Canada we can get a 2 hr broadcast of 250 & 450 second moto, live or next day!

  • Seth

    @singletrack, the only thing that would make MX better is if the two Ryan’s had some competition. Tony Cairoli needs to quit being a bitch and come to America, so does Jeffrey Herlings.

  • Ziggy

    I personally think that the biggest problem goes deeper than mis-management. Races take more time to watch than a stunt show and our culture has developed a very short attention span.

    If we are reading this site, obviously we love the racing. But I am pretty sure we are in the minority and television time is expensive. They don’t broadcast those races for the fans. They broadcast them to make money. If something can make more money in the same time-slot my guess is that the races will go bye-bye.

    Does anyone remember the early days of Speedvision before it became SpeedTV? It was great! The first time I saw it they were showing a Mike Hailwood documentary.

    But they couldn’t make money because most people couldn’t care less about Mike Hailwood.

    It is sad but true.

    And if Paul McCartney were young and writing songs he would be outsold 10 to 1 by Justin Bieber.

  • Geoff

    Be glad you could at least watch it and wsbk on bein, I cant get either channel up here in the great white north.


  • ?

    Who’s DMG ,,,?

  • proudAmerican

    AMA racing has been a joke for a few years now. The wife and I used to make bets on how many red flags and re-starts a race would have.

    Heck, we were in shock a few times when a race actually went flag-to-flag w/o a red!!

    And oh my gawd, don’t get me started on having Scott Russell as a commentator, “…theese boys are racin’!” No shit Scott?! Thank you Captain Obvious.

  • Norm G.

    re: “In the few calls I have had with teams in the AMA, the news comes as a shock, though some are less surprised than others.”

    like I said, welcome to the land of Nascar and Harley Davidson. spend-thrift motorcyclist’s will get nothing, and like it.

  • TexusTim

    so wsbk could absorb ama and link wsbk rounds in america to help promote the american leg of wsbk ?
    there both production based and me thinks it would be better than dmg draging it behind the tool shed and finaly killing it……..what good is it to own a series and just watch it go down the tubes every year?

  • Norm G.

    re: “Scott Russell as a commentator, “…theese boys are racin’!” No shit Scott?! ”

    yes, he’s from the south, he’s got an accent. so do the other 6.5 BILLION PEOPLE ON THE PLANET. get over it.

  • Earl Shives

    Old Guy is exactly right. John Ulrich is complicit in this. His magazine has gone to shite as well with every issue serving only to shovel more AMA agenda fecal matter all over american racing.

  • zipidachimp

    singletrack: you’ve got the wrong Duhamel. The best era was YVON Duhamel and all the 750 2-strokes!
    them racers had b*lls!!!!!

  • Brian J

    AMA is an also rand and has been for decades. They represent 2% of riders but act like they speak for all of us. I’ve lost all interest in motorcycle racing and it’s not going to get more interesting, for me, if it’s not on TV, just sayin…

  • Spamtasticus

    I’m 4 years AMA free and quite glad. There should be a pin for that. These days I enjoy watching CCS sprints more than DMG races.

  • Tanker Man

    Perhaps DMG is trying to kill SBK altogether because their pea-sized brains (if their brains were dynamite they couldn’t blow their noses!) think SBK competes with NASCAR for viewers. Unbelievable.

  • sunstroke

    Laguna is the biggest event on the calendar. DMG probably wanted to sell the event as a one-off or perhaps get the race on network TV. It looks like they failed. If the series is on life support, does it really matter if they engage in high-risk treatment programs?

    I don’t know if this signals the death of AMA Pro Racing, but it looks like the death of the current format. The SBK class is not producing, and the SBK rules do not follow DMG’s format so SBK as we know it is probably on the chopping block. DMG like to equalize the bikes with manufacturer-specific rules to keep costs low and maximize entertainment value. If DMG move that direction in SBK, I will definitely stop watching. I’m not interested in DSB, either.

    If DMG and the AMA Pro Racing teams were smart, they’d discard the SBK class and recreate a class similar to FX. The middleweights sell better in the US market, the top class could race the 200, and 600’s are not a bad place to cut your teeth if you have GP ambitions. Honda and Kawasaki will be happy to have a proper 600cc class again, and the manufacturers may be willing to invest. DSB can be the undercard, but with a name change. A new privateer class for high-displacement nakeds will be created using the DSB name.

  • Mike Litoris

    AMA Superbike is dead. It used to be reasonably good, but what’s happened in the last few years proves there are some incredibly stupid, bull-headed people with a lot of money in the world.

    Hopefully SBK will re-arise in the USA someday, but the reality is that it might have been killed for good with the juvenile and pathetic idiocy that DMG exhibits.