News has dropped that the Michael Jordan Motorsports (MJM) team will not be returning to AMA Pro Racing next season due to the fact that the National Guard would also be ceasing its involvement with the domestic motorcycle racing series (the Army National Guard was the chief sponsor of Michael Jordan Motorsports, and was also the title sponsor of the AMA Pro SuperBike class).

Talking to RoadRacingWorld on Tuesday, MJM’s Kreig Robinson confirmed that the National Guard’s lack of renewal with DMG stemmed from AMA Pro Racing’s waning TV viewership and dwindling event crowds.

With sponsoring AMA Pro Racing no longer making smart business sense for the National Guard, Robinson said he had little to argue with in regards to the National Guard’s decision.

Citing issues like DMG’s inability to secure a 2014 calendar thus far, despite the fact that the 2013 season is well past its conclusion (virtually all other domestic and international series have a provisional calendar for next season already together), Robinson’s remarks to RRW echo what many have been saying about operating within the framework of AMA Pro Racing.

Because of these difficulties, Robinson says that Michael Jordan Motorsports is considering moving its racing efforts into another series, likely to either World Superbike or MotoGP.

At what level within those championships MJM would operate wasn’t clear from Robinson’s comments, however one point was made abundantly clear: the team couldn’t operate in the uncertain business environment that currently clouds America’s domestic road racing efforts.

One example of the uncertainty was the mid-season news that only certain AMA Pro Racing rounds would be televised, with the Laguna Seca rounds initially omitted from that plan.

With that fiasco being  a tremendously detrimental event for riders and teams who had inked deals with sponsors based on a full-season of televised motorcycle racing, the withdrawal of the National Guard is likely just the first of many stories about money leaving AMA Pro Racing for 2014.

The running joke in the AMA paddock of course was the news that British Superbikes was able to secure a TV deal in the United States for its last few remaining rounds of the 2013 season, while AMA Pro Racing’s season finale at Laguna Seca, which was run with the World Superbike Championship, was relegated to the AMA’s online feed.

While Michael Jordan Motorsports seems set to find greener pastures next year with what sounds like a series of wild card rides, before making a full commitment to a new racing venture in 2015, the real story here is that AMA Pro Racing has lost one of its elite teams.

With young riders already looking abroad for growth opportunities in the sport of motorcycle racing (some we talked at length about with Kevin Schwantz earlier this year), we have now witnessed our first team-level exodus, and that does not bode well.

Source: RoadRacingWorld (1x2x); Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • paulus

    No viewers… no sponsors!
    If nobody is able to watch, what is the incentive to invest sponsorship money?

  • BrianZ

    MJM will probably still stay with Suzuki equipment if I had to guess. They will probably run machinery under the new EVO class structure so as to not look foolish in comparison to the teams that have the WSBK experience. They made a valiant showing at Laguna with the full on WSBK machines, but Danny Eslick and Rodger Hayden both knew their machines were not the same level of sophistication as the WSBK works bikes.

  • Conrice

    Man, DMG needs to get their sh*t together…. But more than that, I can’t fault MJM wanting to go to a bigger stage.

  • Conrice

    I wonder if they’ll keep their riders? I think Danny has the talent to race on the world level. And Roger, he’s been there before. Keeping it American would probably help MJM considering their market for their gear is almost solely American…

  • Craig

    Great idea for MJM even if I hate the fact that we can’t gather a series and make a decent season… All said, they should hit BSB or WSB… either is good and the equipment will be close next season. I think a few US companies would get on board for some overseas exposure…

  • Marc

    Man what the hell happened to US Superbike? It used to be a premier series with many riders going on to bigger things from here. DMG really screwed the proverbial pooch on the entire series. Can it be saved?

  • Norm G.

    re: “No viewers… no sponsors! If nobody is able to watch, what is the incentive to invest sponsorship money?

    no ROI… no sponsors…! if nobody comes off the dime even after they DO watch, what’s the incentive for an entity to CONTINUE it’s sponsorship after they’ve come on board?

    (big picture)

    “fan-sumers” aren’t the only one’s watching, so are the accountants.

  • JoeD

    US Roadracing? Wow. Spectacular. Top notch. In what universe?

  • Aj

    This is’n’t a surprise. When DMG decided that Daytona needed to be their premier event and therefore, eliminate (real) superbikes, they were doomed.

    Fans of EVERY sport want to see the best in the world at that sport. They want past, present, or future champions. Unfortunately, that quality left the AMA when DMG arrived. All due respect to the racers in the series, they haven’t been able to hold their own against the best in the world.

    The best thing for racing in North America is for DMB and the AMA to fold up completely and open the door for someone else to do it right.

  • John D’Orazio

    Another nail in the coffin of what used to be the finest production based racing series in the world. Nice work DMG….

  • David S

    I’m with most others here. Nice work DMG- you are effectively ruining such a wonderful sport. Your “deals” with networks and promotion of events is woefully inadequate. The attempt at online media was a weak try as the production is of poor quality. If you want to know how to do it, go to MotoGP and ask them. There are ways to get quality without having to spend a fortune. How on earth can BSB be produced and delivered with such inherent quality and our racing just looks amateurish and of low quality. Sad.

  • smiler

    Does anyone watch moteorsport in the Us anymore apart from monster racing? Seen articles about AMA, INDY and now Nascar.

    Perhaps it is the farsbook, twit ter and grand turismo generation unable to watch and do something in reality?

  • Ken C.

    AMA is way more exciting to watch then MotoGP, simply because they don’t have all the electronics that has turned MotoGP in the Marq Marquez / Jorge Lorenzo show. I have literally fallen asleep watching MotoGP before. That said, Valencia will be fun to watch, I’m sure.

    The lack of TV presence is what’s killing AMA, in my opinion. If DMG wants more people watching AMA, they have to provide the means to do so. It’s a catch 22, unfortunately, since they can’t get networks to cover them without the viewers.

    Sadly, all the US motorcycle coverage is in motocross now. Nothing against motocross, but I just don’t really enjoy watching it. I just can’t relate.

    Anyway, if Michael Jordan Motorsports wants to sponsor another team, I’m wondering if they should wait for the Suzuki factory team to start racing. They have a good relationship with Suzuki, and Suzuki’s return to MotoGP is highly anticipated. Attaching their name to those bikes would be a huge marketing opportunity. I just doubt that MJ would be willing to invest that level of money into doing it.

  • Singletrack

    Sadly, I haven’t been interested to watch a single AMA roadrace this year. I agree with Aj, that when 600’s became the ‘premier’ race at Daytona, I stopped caring.

    But just who would National Guard be advertising to in WSBK or MotoGP? Russian’s, Malaysian’s and Europeans? Are they recruiting offshore, or looking for outsourcing opportunities?

    Hardly anyone can watch WSBK in North America thanks to lousy broadcast arrangements.
    And sure there are two (three?) US rounds in MotoGP, but no US riders currently have a chance of getting TV time unless MJM can get their riders on a factory Honda or Yamaha.

  • TexusTim

    hey the manufactors who pulled out and dmg making stupid rules like the saftey bike at laguna……switching venues during the season,.. chasing of mladden…no regular channel coverage shit like that has ruined ama…what do you expect from a bunch of cagers? free telivised it like nasca??..not going to happen, from the outside looking in you wonder how the series will survive..I truly thing there kiiling it off to sell it to dorna and wrap it in wsbk for a true international series……….look laguna is gone to us,,indy (sorry) is not a motorcycle race track everything they do there for us is like putting a diamond on a pigs ear…….doesnt help the smell

  • irksome

    I grew up a 1/2hr away from the pre-NASCAR track at Laconia, watched the old 2-stroke AMA, watched the ’80s Rainey/Lawson et al races and photographed AMA races at various venues around the country when the AMA was giving the world Scott Russell, Miguel Duhamel and the Bostrom and Hayden boys.

    What a sad state we’ve sunk to. Thanks, DMG!

  • Bill

    Time to start a competing series.

  • Anvil

    It sure does seem that DMG screwed the pooch. But let’s also remember that AMA roadracing was a mess befor DMG took over. They’re not the only problem.

  • Flight23

    Ohhh I hope MJ really does enter a team in WSBK!!!

  • Flight23

    MJ has the money and connections to run his own WSBK team and he is close with Suzuki. Jordan grosses over 30 mil a year anyway.

  • TexusTim

    okay so if he tries wsbk next year on a suzuki then that may prime them for a motogp run in 2015 and with any luck and now maybe a miracle MJ and suzuki might convince ben spies to come out of early retirement and join there effort….who knows maybe thats the plan all a long and ben wanted to totaly recover and waite for mj and suzuki in 2015 and retirement was just a ruse for a comeback…guys that would be the feel good story for the american contingent we need right now.

  • paulus

    MJM being primarily US sold… would a move to MX make best sense?

  • proudAmerican

    AMA Racing has been a joke since Ben Spies and Matt Mladin advanced/quit. For the past few years, the wife and I would watch an AMA race, and wonder how many laps it would be until the race was red-flagged, due to a minor crash.

    I was infrequently amazed when an AMA race actually wasn’t red-flagged at some point!!

    The series needs to end soon, so someone can properly start a new series–one that draws fans, big-name racers, sponsors, media coverage, et al.

    I’m guessing the loss of The National Guard will start a domino effect of major sponsors leaving/declining to renew. I feel sorry for the riders who have nowhere else to go.

    I’d be willing to bet that there isn’t any AMA racing in 2014.

  • mikaelkn

    And you wonder why the Spaniards are taking over MotoGP!

    Lazy observers will accuse Dorna or the passport. Although that’s partially true, reality is clearer – popularity of the sport in Spain. Also heavy investment in their development programs. So much so that some foreigners had to pack up their bags and went over there at an early stage. Casey Stoner being one of them.

    Going back to the problem in the US, you can’t pin it down to the organisers. End of the day if no one turns up it’s hard to plan ahead with limited resources. Maybe the US’ car culture has something to do with that.

  • jet

    He might as well dump that junk ass suzuki brand for an up-grade,Kawi has proven great stride’s…

  • sunstroke

    Nearly every national series has declined since the introduction of the 1000cc Superbikes and the current WSBK rulebook. Even WSBK has difficulties filling the grid. The global credit crisis is an integral part of the decline, but the problems started 15 years ago when the MSMA and FIM were hammering out the new future of Gran Prix and Superbike. What began with so much promise has led to this– a world where BSB and CEV are basically the only healthy national series, NASCAR is using AMA as a latrine, and GP/SBK trip over one another constantly.

    Weak products. Bad technical regulations. Terrible business model. DMG is just the latest chapter in an epic of ineptitude. Hopefully the SBK Commission will get the industry moving in the right direction, and DMG will desist with their effrontery by using a familiar technical regulations and class structures.

  • Grey Matter

    It seems WSBK will be invaded by Americans next year. With EBR moving and MJM ditching AMA, it will be a full field since we would have to include 4 more riders. On the other hand, there’s no way of telling who’s going to riding those GSXR’s or the second EBR bike. I highly doubt MJM will even think about GP since it takes millions in sponsor money and don’t think ofr a minute MJ himself was flipping the bill for that AMA team, he wasn’t. He just was able to bring the sponsors on board. I guess the question is, will it be a Nike sponsorship on those bikes or Gatorade?

  • TexusTim

    I believe if MJ and Spies teamed up in 2015 for a MotoGP run that they would get plenty of american and international sponsors..Suzuki, MJ, Spies, are you kidding that’s a dream team.

  • JoeD

    Ben was hyped out of his league after WSB. One may be able to go home again but it will not be the same. The world moves on.

    Mud Bog. Demolition Derby. Tractor Racing. He Ya’ll Watch This. Nascar. Supercross. All of it more about show than go. Remember when there was REAL motocross? Natural terrain.

  • Grey Matter

    MJM will not go into GP. First of all, MJM knows how to run a AMA team, not a GP team. It would take a couple years of team building and sponsor signing just to get there. WSBK is better suited to MJM. Does anyone know how many employees/team members are on a GP team? Most GP teams have more electronics guys than entire AMA team personel. Unless MJM has been doing homework overseas for a couple of years and have secretly signed some folks from GP, they’re not going. It is possible with all of the team disolving and partnership jumbling that he could put together a small team but I dought enough for two bikes.

  • Norm G.

    re: “Going back to the problem in the US, you can’t pin it down to the organisers. End of the day if no one turns up it’s hard to plan ahead with limited resources.”

    and there it is.

    re: “Maybe the US’ car culture has something to do with that.”

    car culture, basketball culture, baseball culture, NFL culture, WWE culture, MMA culture, Hollywood celebrity “star-eff” culture, Justin Beiber/Miley Cyrus culture, PlayStation/X-box culture, ultra wealthy culture, iPhone/FaceTube/YouBook culture, soccer moms in minivans culture, Walking Dead (I heart zombies) culture, and the list goes on…

    we got 10,001 distractions in the “land of plenty”.

  • TexusTim

    @ nailed it on the distraction..most of it plastic and not real in anyway.
    @ grey 2015 would be enough time ,what makes you think this hasnt been coming for a long time.
    my guess is wsbk first then motogp.I think he wants and will end up with a motogp team. he aims high and knows nothing is impossible..consider he is the most reconised athlete in the world dont think for a minute redbull or monster energy isnt salivating of a MJ motogp team IF HE DOES IT SPONSORS WILL FLOCK TO HIM…NO DOUBT ABOUT THAT.

  • Bruce Monighan

    Not sure I have a lot more to offer than has been said. But I will repeat it anyway. AMA had made a mess of pro racing, we all know that. It was however at one time popular and very good racing and easy to watch and I watched a lot of it on tv and out at track. I am lucky enough to live close to Laguna Seca, and Sears Point and if AMA was racing I was there. Then DMG took over and it was one mistake after another, bad attitude to manufacturers, racers, fans and promoters. They ran it into the ground and created a lot of bad will and I walk away from spending money on watching it. Their second and third year they tried some new things but I don’t think they every really understood the fans, the manufacturers or the teams. WSBK had taken off and that became my race of choice to watch in addition to MotoGP. This year I decided to give another chance but other than watching that phenom Cameron Beaubier riding the wheels off a 600 there was not a lot to love.

    The death spiral has started; no promoters committing, sponsors departing, teams leaving, riders looking at Europe. DMG needs to did deep into their pocket and pony up for good TV coverage, get a set of rules that mirrors WSBK or at least BSK, lose the whole love affair with Daytona and understand that motorcycles fans are intelligent about their sport and want a quality presentation that does not cut races short, leave out whole chunks of laps as they ramble on about other stuff. Go make nice with the manufacturers, give them some respect a a place to market their product.

    It ain’t over but it is deep into life support. DMG needs to look inside at themselves and realize that they are the problem and if they are not capable of changing then it is done. Only question remains is if they want to bury the series or own something that has value that we all want to be a part of.

  • jzj

    1. Broadcast races live on the net, which requires fewer sponsor dollars but increases sponsor exposure.
    2. 5 classes: Harley; electric (which could be run with the Harleys); 400 and under; 600; 1000.
    3. Keep the engines and transmissions as stock as possible, have a spec traction control ECM or remove all traction control, and allow any tires, suspensions, and sprockets.
    4. Emphasize prize money.
    5. Reduce ticket prizes.

    This will assure full grids, close racing, and only enables factory teams to win through buying the best riders and not through controlling the ability to run the best (rare) equipment.

  • TexusTim

    if ama and speedvision didnt sell out to nascar(dmg) dmg wouldnt have been able to mess it up so bad.remember two wheel tuesday ? they promoted the ama had many races on the show had the wsbk and the motogp races on and reran them as well ? they had a lot of traction and dont blame the economy it had nothing to do with 2006/7 when they just tossed it in the air and now look you cant even find the us motogp round on regular tv like cbs.they all want to rape and pillage and shouldnt surprise anyone how it has turned out…even dave dispain was always about motogp back then, and all the good work getting racing popular again in the u.s….for about 6 years it was great then dmg took over, speed vision went nascar 24/7 and dave dispain now has a case nascaralitis.
    it all started when they gave Mladdin’s team a hard time over the finish on some crankhafts even though they left spies one case spies had the same one and passed a tear down inspection.this is what drove mladdin to leave and then spies went to wsbk and the ama has been on a slide ever since.
    cagers just dont get what roadracers want, when they run a series into the ground like this for everyone to see you have to wonder “isnt there someone who want to see the us strong in roadracing” ? or are we so pc were caving into scared moms and the car culture ?

  • AMA SBK is being hit from all angles and not just DMG – How many times has AMA run events where local people had no idea what was going on, the manufacturers are thin because Honda like others just doesn’t give a shit and they race at tracks where most of the action can only be seen on the big screen in front of the stands. Every single AMA event should be a manufacturer, parts supplier, bike show orgy. Instead of the extension of a bunch of fat old lazy people that blame the economy for making racing boring.

    As far as MJM going anywhere else it would make more sense to go to MX then put there riders into the mix at a world level.

    Unless they can get Spies into the fold or some other high level talent there’s no business model for getting your ass handed to you.