AMA Pro Road Racing Signs TV Deal with CBS Sports

04/23/2013 @ 3:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS


Good news for American road racing fans, as AMA Pro Road Racing has inked a TV deal with the CBS Sports Network. With live flag-to-flag coverage of the National Guard SuperBike and GoPro Daytona SportBike classes, as well as a 30-minute preview show before-hand, it looks like the USA is getting proper coverage of its national motorcycle racing series through the 2014 series.

The news is a huge sigh of relief for AMA Pro Road Racing, which has been without a proper tv contract up until this point, despite being already one round into the 2013 season. For the riders and teams, this also means that their ability to attract sponsors has just been greatly improved. Able now to properly show national TV coverage, support, and attention, sponsors will be less gun-shy in handing over their marketing dollars — though one has to wonder how much damage has already been done.

For AMA Pro Road Racing, the deal means a step-back from the edge of the cliff, which could have seen the motorcycle racing here in American fall into the abyss of obscurity had it not made it onto the television screen of fans and wouldbe followers. With the deal good through the end of the 2014 season, hopefully the series can build some much needed momentum as the economy recovers. The full press release is after the jump.

AMA Pro Racing and CBS Sports Network Announce Television Agreement to Showcase GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 23, 2013) – CBS Sports Network and AMA Pro Racing, in conjunction with Chet Burks Productions, announced today a television agreement to showcase GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing as part of the Network’s CBS Sports Spectacular series. CBS Sports Network will air flag-to-flag race coverage of the premier National Guard SuperBike and GoPro Daytona SportBike classes through the 2014 season. Programming begins Saturday, June 1 (2:30 p.m. ET) with a 30-minute preview show before live coverage of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. (3:00 p.m. ET).

GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing telecasts are produced by Chet Burks Productions, long-time partner of AMA Pro Racing programs. The initial telecasts will be presented in afternoon weekend time slots, with several events airing live. In addition, encore broadcasts and an all-new 30-minute weekend preview show will air on CBS Sports Network.

Leading up to race weekends, the 30-minute preview shows will get fans up to speed with on-site coverage of qualifying sessions, highlights from previous rounds, as well as vignettes on the history of the sport and the technical aspects of motorcycle road racing. Hosted by a panel of industry experts, the show will provide insider insight on the latest paddock news, as well as interviews with riders and celebrity guests.

“We’re excited to add AMA Pro to our CBS Sports Spectacular lineup,” said Dan Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports Network. “GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is a high octane, action-packed sport featuring some of the world’s best motorcycle racers and is a great addition to our live programming this summer.”

“We are incredibly proud of this television package and excited to begin our new relationship with CBS Sports Network,” said David Atlas, Managing Board Member of AMA Pro Racing. “Through the live action and in-depth features, we will present fans with the most intense immersion into our unique and exciting racing that the sport has ever seen.”

“This agreement is the result of a tremendous amount of time and commitment from AMA Pro and is a significant step for motorcycle racing in America,” said Chet Burks, President of Chet Burks Productions. “We look forward to producing an exciting television experience for CBS Sports Network viewers.”

Source: AMA Pro Racing; Photo: © 2010 NHK / ANDiDAS.COM – All Rights Reserved

  • Michael

    Glad to hear we still get to see racing this year but please God, let the coverage be better than Speed. I cant stand Ralf S or Scott Russel anymore. Scott’s talents on a bike are undeniable but his verbal communication skills leave something to be desired.

  • Kyle

    I always enjoyed listening to Freddie Spencer commentate AMA racing a few years back.

  • That is terrific news for Bike fans, I guess Speed was not interested because that would have reduced their Nascar coverage to only 21 hours a day.

  • geoff

    I can only hope this means I can watch it up here in the great white north as well! 2 years ago I could watch motogp, ama, csbk and wsbk…now im down to motogp only. :(

  • TheSwede


    I agree, Speed’s coverage is terrible, but nobody is worse at race commentary than Randy Mamola. I’d rather have no commentary than his awkward stuttering..

    Glad to see AMA get some coverage, me and a buddy were just lamenting that fact. Perhaps this can give the series a kick in the pants and we can find our next American GP star..

  • So does this mean we can have AMA at Sears Point? Seriously disappointed about this.

  • JoeD

    Good to read of this. Sadly, Speed has NEVER cared about bike racing. I have written several EMs to them concerning their abyssmal coverage without so much as a “Screw You” reply. Now, if sponsorship and audience numbers rise, perhaps our racing scene can operate with a bit more polish and get away from some of those podunk looking venues.

  • Damo

    This is exactly what AMA needs, professional coverage on a basic cable channel. As an American I want to see more sponsorship, money, etc. start flowing back into AMA, otherwise we’ll never see American champions in WSBK or MotoGP again.

    Plus the more motorcycle racing I can watch, the better.

    Side Note: I think Scott Russel has more racing insight that just about any commentator out there, but homeboy’s accent is over the top. Not is fault though, really.

  • I’ll need to see if I get this CBS Sports Network channel. It almost sounds too good to be true. (Comcast claims to offer it, but that doesn’t mean a thing.)

  • Philly Phil

    can we please get WSBK on regular TV!! or at least on more than one channel that’s not even on all major providers…

  • geoff

    Aw crap….this is a cbs sports specialty channel? Yet again another channel I cannot get up here likely….@#$%^&^

  • LarryS

    Really glad we’re going to see AMA racing. I have to agree that Speed is now all NASCAR all the time. Used to be a huge NASCAR fan but quickly became oversaturated when Speedchannel changed to Speed and became left turn only. Never watch NASCAR any more and seldom Speed. Have to disagree with the negatives on Scott Russell’s commentary. He really knows what he’s talking about and provides phenomenal insight into what’s happening from the perspective of someone who’s actually been there.

  • dpearce

    This is awesome news! Hopefully the AMA can get back on track with some support; the racing of the last few years has been great!
    Regarding Scott Russel, I like having him in the booth… he has a southern accent, get over it.

  • jr2


    Chet Burks Productions, is the group that produced the AMA Superbike programming shown on Speed… (Watch the demo reel)

    They also have created many of “those” reality TV shows we tend to… well… not like…

    I’ll wait to see what the programming looks like… maybe CBS will have an influence…

    And the CBS Sports Network is NOT a basic DirectTV channel, it requires a higher level subscription

  • Singletrack

    I’m not sure it’s any advantage having AMA Superbike on CBS-SN. It’s still a specialty cable channel, with limited viewership compared to the ‘over-the-air” standard CBS network. And, like Geoff lamented, not available in Canada :(

    Speed TV, despite all its warts, was at least known for MOTOR racing. Motorcycle Racing on CBS-SN will likley just be filler between Arena Football (???), Lacrosse and Bull riding.

    And if the Supercross experience on CBS is any indication, the broadcast video quality suffers, the commentary and content gets dumbed down for a ‘new’ audience.

    But, some TV coverage is better than none…
    How is WSBK faring on BeIN sport network? Anyone seen it lately?

  • singletrack

    However, to cut Chet Burks Productions some slack, back in the day when they produced the only motorcycle programming available, it was good stuff for a kid raised on motorcycle magazines.
    Lets keep our fingers crossed for a quality production.

  • David

    Are you serious?

    There is still AMA road racing over here.

  • Gidgester

    @ Geoff / Philly Phil, etc.:

    “StrongVPN” has a VPN (virtual private network) service to the UK that you can purchase for ~ $50-$60 / year. Once the VPN is set up, you can get access to Eurosport’s UK web-based viewer for another $4-$5 / month. This nets you all the BSB, WSBK and MotoGP coverage that you would get if you lived in the UK!

    Very cool….

  • CBS Sports doesn’t subscribe to Nielsen — which, for all its flaws is still the best independent measure of TV audience size — so it’s hard to find good audience data for the network. The statement, in the press release, that it’s available *to* 100 million households is somewhat disingenuous. That’s the number of homes that could watch it, though most would have to spend a few buck to upgrade their cable subscription. The popular stick-and-ball ‘sports talk’ host Jim Rome apparently draws about 40,000 viewers on CBS Sports — far fewer than he did on ESPN.

    I get what previous commenters are saying about production value, and I get that the very small existing audience of AMA Superbike junkies can now get a TV race fix; those people will spend a few bucks if they have to, to watch the races, and they do care about production value. But the dream for the TV package is attracting new viewers, the kind of people and the kind of numbers that will attract sponsorship dollars — hopefully from non-endemic sponsors.

    That will not happen unless AMA Pro markets its show outside CBS Sports. As I noted on my blog, let the audience outreach begin.

  • G

    This is awesome! I was so depressed about what Speed….excuse me, FOX! did to AMA coverage. Glad to see CBS pick up the contract. I only hope that CBS strips Fox of the WSBK and MotoGP contracts also because Speed….im sorry…NASCARcirclejerk Network, has done a disgraceful job of covering those two world class series.

  • singletrack

    Hey, G

    True, Fox has stripped SpeedTV of most of it’s motor racing appeal, but don’t set your sights too high for CBS.

    See my notes above “Motorcycle Racing on CBS-SN will likley just be filler between Arena Football (???), Lacrosse and Bull riding.”

  • Norm G.

    re: “Regarding Scott Russel, I like having him in the booth… he has a southern accent, get over it.”

    another vote here for the chief. great addition to the broadcast booth. same as schwantz, it’s important we appreciate their contributions and willingness to give back to the sport we claim to love with so much lip service. his sister sherri was also actively involved in the industry, having worked for Cycle News back during their print era. but see, most wouldn’t know that because they’ve never had the pleasure of meeting either one of them.

  • Sportster

    We’ll hopefully see big and positive changes in AMA since Geico has taken over sponsership and is injecting some big bucks. And it’s going to real tough to beat a 350-pound Buehl with a quick-thinking, 2-ounce gecko rider, right? Heh, heh, heh!!

  • Norm G.

    re: “Sadly, Speed has NEVER cared about bike racing”

    not true, they cared for more than a decade, i know because i have the recordings (bostrom vs mladin at loudon anyone?). the problem was over that same decade WE failed to match their care with our WALLETS. nascar stepped UP, we stepped DOWN. we made the classic mistake of taking things for granted. as a cause/effect, our proverbial “chickens” have now come home to roost. anybody who says different just doesn’t know what they’re talking about. and honestly, even if we HAD stepped up to the plate, our squeeze out was inevitable.

    it’s a simple game of numbers people. there are EXPONENTIALLY more of them (ie. nascar fans) than there are of us. stepping up would’ve only bought us the VARIABLE of time, but whether we lost our coverage in 2013…? or 2017…? the CONSTANT in this equation was, we were ALWAYS going to be handed our asses at some future point. guess what, the future’s now. from what i’ve seen, we’re damn lucky to have made it this far. hope you didn’t miss it.

  • Norm G.

    deleting truths just because they’re “inconvenient” helps no one…