Soup :: On The Tube Or Down The Tubes? Is DMG Superbike Going Off The Air? :: 01-30-2013
:readThe current situation regarding DMG's Superbike television package is that only a handful--if that--of races will be televised in 2013. At this time, only Daytona and the Laguna Seca MotoGP/DMG round will be televised on Speed. It is expected at some point in 2013 that Speed will morph into a Fox branded sports network and show selected motorsports programming along with mainstream (ball and stick) sports.
A group of concerned individuals are currently petitioning motorcycle manufacturers, aftermarket firms and outside industry (energy drink) companies for funds to underwrite a new for 2013 television package for the DMG Superbike series on either Versus/NBC or CBS networks.
Presumably, there is a tiered level of support available to companies being asked to underwrite the programming and production costs. One OEM source said last week that they were pitched a level of support with a price tag of seven figures for the ambitious project. This was framed as this OEM's contribution.
This development, petitioning the manufacturers for support for a component of the series, is either deliciously ironic or massively humbling, depending on your perspective.
Ironic: when the DMG takeover of AMA Pro Racing was announced, numerous persons in the DMG power structure stated that while, admittedly, the series they purchased had somehow plodded its way into a degree of success with support largely from the manufacturers and the motorcycle industry as a whole, the only way that the series could achieve "the big time" was for it to be released from the manufacturers' influence, support and control. Only when the series was released from the claws of the manufacturers and the motorcycle industry could it attain real success, with support from outside industry companies, like those seen sponsoring cars, teams and events in NASCAR. DMG were going to change the state of motorcycle racing as we knew it but they could not do so with those factory transporters in the paddock--they needed to be outside doing demo rides and autograph sessions.
Now a consortium of people, presumably with the knowledge and consent of DMG, are petitioning those very same motorcycle manufacturers who had the factory teams they wanted out of the paddock so that the series can have the same level of television that it had in the mid-2000s (when most races were live on Speed). This is nothing short of deliciously ironic.
Humbling: It goes without saying that Jim France and the Daytona International Speedway are titans of American motorsports. A beach blanket is shaken in Daytona Beach and the forces of that move are felt all over the United States. The folks in Daytona Beach are renown for their ability to solve complex issues in motorsports with a phone call. NASCAR has marched like General Patton on the American TV scene, with a new $2.4 billion dollar TV package signed and sealed two years before the current one even expired.
It is widely speculated that France and company, if they so chose to do so, could cure every ill that faces the Superbike and Dirt track series' in less than a month and without ever leaving their offices. Need sponsors? Call existing NASCAR sponsors and ask for support of Jim's other properties. This is what DMG suggested they may do, remember, in order to bring in new companies from outside the motorcycle industry.
Instead, by and large, DMG has not made the investment in the series that most expected that it would, nor have they attracted the sheer number of advertisers and sponsors that most expected they would. That said, nearly anyone with a vested interest in the series will profess that the series is much improved now, and in every possible way. Maybe it is, for those few who still have jobs in the paddock.
Regardless, it must be a remarkably humbling experience when a billionaire and his partners can't bolster his pet series into a successful venture or land it a TV deal. And that inability has now forced them to return on bended knee and plea for help from some of the very motorcycle manufacturers that they at one time wished to remove as a factory team presence from the paddock.
Proponents of the series suggest that there is a difference between old DMG and new DMG. If that is the case, then maybe this is a great opportunity for new DMG--if it exists--to pay for the sins of the former.
How about as a "make good" to the motorcycle industry for its previous colossally stupid act of arrogance, DMG underwrites the new TV deal?
All of it.