In a time when a lot of sports and a lot of businesses are struggling, the future of AMA National Motocross looks even brighter, thanks to MX Sports and its recent arrangement with Lucas Oils and the Alliance of Action Sports.
At a press conference in Lucas Oil Stadium, in Indianapolis, Indiana, MX Sports Vice President Davey Coombs announced a deal between Lucas Oil and MX Sports which will see the petroleum giant become the title sponsor for the AMA Pro Motocross Championship for the next three years. This announcement comes on the heels of the groundbreaking marketing and media partnership formed between MX Sports and Alli, around what will now be known as the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
Lucas Oil currently sponsors nine racing properties from off-road, to drag boat, and even AMA EnduroCross.
The partnership between MX Sports, Lucas Oil and Alli also brings with it an intriguing television deal, which will include live coverage on both NBC and SPEED, as well as same-day tape-delayed coverage. MX Sports will also be announcing a comprehensive international television package that allows fans all over the world to follow the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
“When MX Sports got involved in the overall series organization, I think a lot of people were relying on us to do some pretty big things. And with the help and trust that the industry gave us, we were able to get pretty creative,” said Coombs. “We reached out to Allied Sports, which is a real mover in the Action Sports world, to help us kind of transform our events and our series. And with that - since they are owned by NBC and MTV - came some television time. And of course, SPEED was on from the get-go. So armed with all of that, we were able to reach out to Lucas Oil and join forces. They have a very provocative approach to sponsorship, which is why you see their name on so many motorsports series. It was only a matter of time before you saw their name on Motocross.
So we couldn’t be happier to be working with these people. If not for these four aspects: NBC and SPEED on one leg of the chair, MX Sports on another, Alli and, of course, Lucas Oil, we wouldn’t be able to put all of this together. A lot of sports are struggling and for us to be able to take so many giant steps forward speaks volumes for Motocross itself. This is a great sport. People recognize it, television recognizes it, I think sponsors like Lucas Oil recognize it, and now we get to really start making things happen.”
According to Coombs, MX Sports got a lot of grief for moving the nationals from Sunday to Saturday. “It turned out, the thing that has been holding Motocross back, when it comes to a major television deal, is that Sundays are very crowded,” said Coombs. “Sunday is when you have NASCAR. Sunday is when you have football. Sunday is when everything stops at 6:00 because you have 60 Minutes. By repositioning ourselves on Saturday, we were able to open up a lot of different television opportunities: The live telecast on NBC and the same-day coverage on SPEED. We met with some resistance at first, but I think everyone sees the wisdom of that move. It will take some changing, but the riders asked us to give them a one day program, and the industry people – everyone from Mitch Payton to Jim Perry – asked us to move it to Saturday. We think it’s going to bring a new group of fans to us. We’ve done it for 35 years on Sunday; it’s time to try something different. And you know what? If it doesn’t work we’ll move it back. But I think right now it’s working pretty darn good.”
“Throughout this all, Supercross has been a very big help to us,” added Coombs. “The people at Feld Motorsports are putting on an unbelievable success story right now. I think there was a lot of doom and gloom about how 2009 would be, but we’ve seen fantastic crowds and fantastic racing. For years, Supercross has set the pace for our sport and our industry. And It’s up to us to step up and follow them and they’ve been very helpful in giving us direction, a lot of input, and ultimately, a good path to follow. If it weren’t for Supercross, Motocross would not be taking these steps forward.”
The races which will be broadcast live on NBC will be at High Point on June 13th, Red Bud on July 4th, and Budds Creek on August 22nd. The rest of the rounds will be same-day on SPEED.