The Money Situation: Dorna Owners Hoping To Cash In On Cheaper Loans

Behind the glamour, passion and engineering excellence that is MotoGP lies a world which receives a lot less attention, but is at least as important: the world of finance. For running a motorcycle road racing world championship costs money, and though the goal of any enterprise - including running a world championship - is to make a profit, in a world of declining motorcycle sales and economic uncertainty, making money in motorcycle racing is no easy feat.

That task is especially difficult for Bridgepoint Capital, the venture capital firm that took a controlling stake in Dorna back in 2006. Bridgepoint reportedly paid CVC some EUR 550 million for the stake in Dorna, an amount that was widely regarded even at the time as a very generous valuation, especially as CVC had acquired Dorna for around GBP 45 million just 8 years earlier in 1998. The purchase was funded in part by loans taken out by Bridgepoint from a range of banks.

Those loans are now coming up for repayment, and according to reports from Bloomberg, Bridgepoint is renegotiating the conditions on those loans. The loans are being extended, and the interest offered on the loans cut by 75 basis points, or three quarters of a percent, for seven-year loans and 25 basis points on the six-year loans and line of revolving credit Bridgepoint requires.

Translating from finance-speak, what this means is that Bridgepoint has done a new deal with the banks providing loans to the company to cut the amount of interest they are paying on the loans. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that Bridgepoint will save a total of around EUR 6 million over 7 years on the loans, though the exact details of the loans are not known and so these calculations cannot be regarded as completely accurate.

The reason for renegotiating loans right now is simple: interest rates are at a historic low - so low, indeed, that even a cash-rich company like Google is borrowing money to finance future developments -  and are expected to start rising in the medium term. Refinancing now is the sensible option, saving money against future loans. Given the relatively small size of MotoGP's profits - as we wrote some time ago, Dorna makes around EUR 5-8 million on a turnover of EUR 210 million - cutting interest rates on current loans can be a significant boost to the business' bottom line.

But the entire situation does make CVC appear to be the big winner out of the entire situation. Apart from selling Dorna at over 10 times the price it acquired the company at, CVC's decision to move into Formula One has been a real money maker. In contrast to MotoGP's EUR 8 million a year, reports from the BBC and Formula Money state that CVC earned some USD 137 million from Formula One just in 2010 alone. Those kinds of sums are so far beyond what is earned by Dorna it raises questions over just where MotoGP is failing to capitalize on its popular appeal. With MotoGP's TV audience numbers - some of the most unreliable statistics known to man, as witnessed by the 2 billion people alleged to have seen the recent Royal Wedding - around half of those for Formula One, it seems surprising that MotoGP's turnover would be a fifth of Formula One's, and its profits fifteen times smaller than the rival four-wheeled series. Surely it must be possible to make more money from the series than that?

Back to top

Comments

A venture capital firm financing a purchase? I thought the point of venture capital was for people with too much liquid assets, go give the firm their money and they in turn invest the millions/billions in cash in different ventures, like MotoGP, startup companies, other private firms? Maybe that is just around here.

Total votes: 195

Nice one clx. Anyway,this isn't about Rossi. Its about supply and demand.
One area where F1 has always eclipsed GP in the modern era is 'bang for your buck' so to speak.
A rule rethink (yet again) may be worth looking at. A GP runs a frenetic 45 minutes or so,whereas an F1 race has far more nuances to captivate its audience for up to 2 hours.
FI is the pinnacle on tarmac for 4 wheels as is GP on 2. The difference is that F1 throws up more long term suspence. Generally,these days, a GP race is fairly predictable after the first 1/4 of the race,barring the odd controversy and/or catastrophe. With F1,'Johnny come lately' is in with a shout at a surprise finish should he keep it together,merely because of race distance if nothing else.
Keeping a TV audience captive for a longer period of time generates more revenue. Demand drives the supply and the pair feed off each other generating revenue.
Lets face it. On any Moto GP or F1 Sunday, the vast majority of F1 afficianado's will devote Sunday afternoon to F1. The majority of Moto GP followers that I know in my neighbourhood dedicate about 1 hour on any Sunday to the sport we are fanatical about. You get the picture. 'I want to watch the GP race,so tell Aunt Polly we will be there a half hour late'. F1 Sunday 'tell Aunt Polly we can't make it Sunday..sssh, I'm watching F1'.
I reckon GP has to elevate itself in terms of support events. F1 is THE event of the day on 4 wheels. GP certainly is on 2 wheels, however, its captive audience time frame is too short. Dorna should perhaps consider thinking in terms of keeping any Sunday's semi-commited 2 wheel audience captivated by TV for the entire afternoon,by lengthening the spactacle from a 45 minute dash to maybe a full hour or 200km fast canter/gallop. The cream will rise to the top anyway,but the potential unpredictability of the spectacle will no doubt reschedule visits to Aunt Polly in line with F1 Sundays.
Any hardcore GP fanatic will not miss a thing from Red Bull rookies,through 125,Moto 2 and of course GP,but for the general GP neighbourhood fan, the organiser's may consider captivating the premier audience for more than 40 minutes on any Sunday.
If that means another 6 litres of race fuel coupled to better economic viability/ profits and spectacle for Moto GP,
Hell !!! Why not ?

Total votes: 189

Almost everyone can relate to F1 because they drive cars, whereas mostly motorcyclists are really following MotoGP during the entire season, which is a much much smaller potential audience.
Countries where MotoGP is very popular (Spain, Italy, Indonesia...) are also countries where many people ride on 2 wheels.

It is not to say that F1 can be compared to everyday cars or GP bikes to production bikes we ride, but on the global scale auto racing has always been more popular than motorcycle racing, just because most people like cars, and some people like bikes.

The entire broadcasting time could play a part in the audience numbers but not that much, especially because we already have such a good and long show with almost non stop bikes on track action on sunday from 9AM to 3PM (including the morning warm up sessions) or still 4 hours of coverage for the 3 races.
Much more racing time than F1.

And I think running longer races is out of question just because...well riding a MotoGP bike is more physically demanding than driving a F1 (some riders including Spies state that it's easier to run 2 short races in WSBK than 1 longer race in MotoGP).

GP events can drive huge crowds, over 100 000 people on some weekends, because there are some real commited fans of the sport all around the world. But the average Joe, outside of some specific countries listed above, doesn't really care about motorcycle racing, can not give the name of another rider than Valentino Rossi.
Smaller appeal to the general audience.
Who knows what does TT stands for outside of the UK, Spain, Italy and motorcycle fans?

Total votes: 197

Not being a finance guy I cannot really comment on the value of extending races. However, I can point out a couple of things that occurred to me when considering whether it would be a good idea.

Running races for an additional 20-30 minutes would definitely put more stress on the tires. Given that Bridgestone have produced a tire that - regardless of compound - will last the duration of the race, the guys who, in years past, were successful by managing tire wear no longer have any advantage. A return to tire management strategies would improve the overall show significantly as we would start to see late race charges that could very well alter the podium.

However, I do not believe that MotoGP can support the complexity of pit stops. Trying to keep track of who is actually in the lead when riders are on different laps is a non-starter. Motorcycle racing appeals to a far more visceral part of our nature than four-wheel racing.

Total votes: 200

I agree that Sunday is pretty open on race day. For me, if it's a Euro round (I live in Las Vegas) I wake up at 5am and watch the race live on motogp.com. I don't pay extra to have the speed channel; with horrible commentary, and too many interruptions for commercials, you miss 3/4 of the race with them. So I wake up early watch the 20-30 min. pre-race stuff and the post-race interviews, etc. Then I go back to sleep. My Sunday is then wide open!

If you've ever watched NASCAR they split the screen during commercials so you can at least still see the racing (even though the sound for the commercials are what you hear).

Maybe they can expand the races to 3 times the distance with 2 pit stops for fuel and tire changes?! The tire change might be too risky... for safety reasons.

Total votes: 182

Support classes are probably the most frustrating part of GP. Dorna understands that the support classes need to play a bigger role, and they understand that manufacturer interest is critical to improve the standing of the support classes. But what have Dorna given us? 600cc I-4s and 250cc singles. Where is the value for money? I can drive 10 minutes down the road and find a dozen wadded up 600s and 250 dirt bikes in the local scrapyard. I can watch 600s go down my street or I can go to a national event. Why should I pay $150 to get a MotoGP.com subscription to watch ordinary motorcycles?

No one has a clear vision for the product or for how to market the product. Dorna seem to think racing properties are like confectionery foods. Mix the ingredients according to the instructions, and people show up by the millions to gorge themselves. That's not how it works. If Dorna want to make big bucks, they've got to come up with something special. Using tired recipes and daydreaming about one consolidated international racing series is not going to cut the mustard.

Total votes: 179

+1

Total votes: 195

Me and most of my friends watch through motogp's videopass on their site out of necessity given the poor marketing efforts of Speed.
in addition to no marketing, there are too many commercials and limited background info on racers in motogp or moto2.
Speed compounds the fracture by not allowing any viewership of SBK races in any other format than their TV channel. If they spent 25% of their nasacr budget on roadracers it would be a drastic improvement. Speed is owned by Fox, right? Have you ever seen a promo on any Fox Channel? They are not pulling their weight in generating/promoting interest.

Total votes: 175

The delta in profits between Moto GP and Formula could probably be explained in merely the difference in sanctioning fees. From what I understand Moto GP charges only around $1.5 to $3 million for the privilege for hosting a race. Formula 1 on the other hand charges from $15 to $30 million.

For Moto GP to even charge half of what Formula 1 does per race, they'd have to dramatically improve the draw of Moto GP, and that would result in fans paying a boatload more money to watch a race. I certainly don't want that to come to pass.

That said, if Dorna could expand the fanbase of Moto GP significantly they could at least get better TV deals and attract more blue chip title sponsors. I'd imagine that'd be good for boosting their profits a by a few million per year.

Total votes: 183

Maybe this is where Dorna wants to go by having 3 GP rounds in the US. At the end of the day, Speed's coverage is horrible - 45 minutes of racing where we miss a couple of laps every commercial break, and 15 minutes of a completely lame pre-race show where the announcer simply seems to take pleasure in pronouncing rider's names properly.

If 3 races is able to elevate the US's perception of MotoGP (something which I have strong doubts about) then maybe Dorna would then be able to negotiate rights for a decent TV package that could bring in more revenue. If Dorna can generate enough interest and show the US market that their product is viable and has an audience, then maybe a major network or ESPN would be interested in the property.

Making the GP races longer would certainly help, but they should have enough content between the 3 classes to fill 2-3 hours on a Sunday. They just need a TV package that lets them string it together, instead of an hour at 8 AM, an hour later in the afternoon, and an hour on Tuesday for the 125cc race.

Of course that means that fuel limits would have to go, which I don't think should make anyone too upset.

Total votes: 194

"15 minutes of a completely lame pre-race show where the announcer simply seems to take pleasure in pronouncing rider's names properly."

Wish there was a +1 Funny button for that one.

But yea, Speed's coverage is TERRIBLE. The only thing good thing about it is they at least have to sense to hand over coverage once the race starts.

Total votes: 184

A better TV deal is certainly within Dorna's grasp if they want to spend the money to get better coverage on Speed. I don't know what the current deal is but I wouldn't at all be surprised if Dorna were actually buying time on Speed Channel right now.

For Moto GP to get on ESPN or the like Dorna would definitely have to pay at this point.

Hopefully if we do in fact get 3 USGP's it will expand the fan base in the US enough to justify a better TV deal. I'd love to get a full 30 minute pre-race show like F1 does on Speed. Just as long as it's with the world feed crew and not Greg Creamer.

Total votes: 179

And Thus revenue - By widing the awareness / appeal in the U.S of Motogp.

Many of my friends have no idea what motogp is and sending them a clip is pretty challenging as the fun police at Dorna have them down usually within hours. One thing dorna is extremely good at taking clips off of Web in record time.

If they'd let some of this slide they could attract more views, more advertising and subscription dollars? Just a thought. (I can't belive the audience they get for Nascar - not nearly as exciting as Motogp).

Great article David something I have had interest in for along time but had very little idea about.

Total votes: 192

You are so right here. Dorna is still thinking very much Old School here. Where all other company's all over the world would die for extra attention trhought Social Media and Youtube views, the old f#rts at Dorna keep on thinking people will want to pay to see for every second of the action. They just don't get it that spreading that one bold passing move on a zillion Youtube, Facebook or Vimeo video's will be the best ad for MotoGP ever.
On the other hand, don't expect something to change in the near future since Dorna just hates all digital media. Example: digital press is not allowed entrance to the races like the "paper" press, the websites have to pay (!) just to be able to write about MotoGP.

Total votes: 205

Dorna's policing of clips is a fine example of their ineptitude. Someone who would purchase a subscription to their video service is someone who wants to watch the whole race, qualifying, practice, etc. That person is not going to watch a few 1 minute clips on youtube and say, "I'm good, I don't need a subcription to Motogp.com anymore."

Dorna should set some guidelines and let fans promote the series for them. No clips longer than 90 seconds, give proper credit to Dorna, let 'er rip. Make it easier for current fans to expose people to Moto GP rather than worrying about protecting a minuscule revenue stream that's not going to get hurt by short clips anyway.

If Dorna is so ignorant about something that should be a no brainer, it makes me wonder other ways they are hurting the series with their actions.

Total votes: 169

spot on

Total votes: 188

You are right! If I was sponsoring any MotoGP event or team I'd love to see my brand go viral on YouTube and social networks. MotoGP will never increase popularity with this property rights tight a** attitude.

Total votes: 200

David will tell you the same thing he told me--the major TV companies (primarily the Beeb) are the reason Dorna has started policing videos on Youtube via Youtube's automated content matching software.

Why they acquiesce to the TV companies so readily is beyond me b/c the TV companies don't own the rights to broadcast indefinitely. I suspect Dorna are worried about protecting the rights to their classic media as well.

It is a marketing plan worth of a 15th century cave-dwelling troglodyte, but "the smartest people in the room" at the major TV networks seem to be driving the madness. The militant policing of videos did seem to coincide with the BBC deal. I was one of their unfortunate victims.

Total votes: 162

Bernie Eccelstone knows that television is where its at when it come to generating revenue, not so much the money that comes through the gate. So for the most part, F1 makes its money from the sanctioning fee and TV ad revenue. The gate, concession fees, track advertising, etc is how the promoter recoups his fees, and hopefully makes a profit.

Bums on seats are a huge liability, requiring a safe environment (not easy) food, water, toilets, policing, and safe entrance and exit strategies. So expanding the gate (can they possibly get more spectators into Spanish tracks?) or increasing the price of admission would only marginally increase Dorna's revenues. (through an increased sanctioning fee).

So Dorna has to re-think its entire marketing strategy and take some lessons from F1, which is seldom as exciting as a good m/c race, regardless of class, IMHO. Some good ideas have already been expressed, but unless all M/C race organizations find a way to make TV coverage more relevant, meaningful growth will never be realized.

Total votes: 176

ghostdog. The US coverage of GP on Speed is horrendous. 45min of racing, missed laps due to commercials, joke of a pre-race show and zero post race coverage of press conferences and interviews. How do they expect to expand GP's audience if they don't even give their current dedicated fans more to chew on? Look at F1: practice session coverage, 1 and a half hour qualifying show, half hour pre race show, long race with great analysis, post race press conference and analysis and dedicated round table shows later on for more in depth analysis. How can GP in the states compete with that?? I don't think longer races will ever materialize but they could definitely make huge strides with better coverage. My suggestion (if it was worth anything) would be to have a dedicated 30min pre-race show (similar to what all the major sports in the US have), show moto2 afterwards as the appetizer, GP as the main course after that and definitely have at least 15min of post race press conferences and analysis. That would be a solid 2 and a half hours of GP racing that current fans would kill for and introduce several more people to the sport. Of course this is just a wish and the odds of speed reducing its obscene amount of NASCAR coverage for motorcycle racing (something that used to return responses from friends of "Moto what??" when I tell them I won't make the Sunday morning ride because I have to wake up at 7am to watch a race out Portugal) but one can always hope...

Total votes: 197

Bridgepoint allegedly own 75%. Dorna owns 20%, and IIRC Ezpeleta himself still holds 5%. We don't know how they chop the pot, but let's assume that a vast majority of the expenses are run through the sport. If that is the case, Bridgepoint would be taking about 20M-30M out of MotoGP--barely enough to cover the interest on their debt (assuming they borrowed 500M euros).

As Suppo has pointed out, MotoGP spends all of its time plotting cost cutting, but raising revenues is the real problem. Let's suppose that MotoGP spends around 100M on the show (like F1), and let's assume they pay IRTA a piddling 50M to show up. If that's the case, Dorna and Bridgepoint are chopping up just 60M. Everyone is getting screwed by this arrangement. The manufacturers are not getting paid. IRTA are not getting paid. Dorna is not getting paid. The fans are tired of the piss-poor racing and the grid contraction. Bridgepoint is probably barely breaking even.

And so the dilemma presents itself. The fans hate the 21L rule, and outside manufacturers cannot play as long as the 21L rule is in place. If we eliminate the 21L rule and upset the apple cart, will it lead to significantly higher revenues?

The answer is yes, but half-a-billion-euro loans have a tendency to make executives balls shrivel. They will attempt to solve the problem by doing as little as possible. Unless they catch a break, it won't work.

Total votes: 203

Sounds a lot like my last job - they spent their time making nickel and dime cuts in cost, and never bothered to assemble a sales team capable of going out and getting more money in the door. Dorna really is in a tough situation - the racing won't improve until the manufacturers no longer have a stranglehold on the only race-winning equipment (and rightfully so, as they designed and built it) and really I can't see bringing in the more casual fan unless the racing gets better - and by better, I mean bikes scrapping for the win. Personally, if I want to see a good dogfight, I watch WSBK. I watch GPs because to me it is interesting to see who has been able to achieve the best setup and who can run the most mistake-free race - the race to me really is the culmination of the weekend's work, but unless something untoward happens, the result is usually pretty well obvious. Because I love and appreciate that aspect of the sort, GP interests me. I don't think a casual fan is going to get that.

Total votes: 197

Apparently Ducati sales are on the rise in the USA, not surprising considering they seem to be actually marketing using things like product placement. Recently I have seen the Ducati desmo prototype mentioned and pictured in two TV shows, and I just read it is featured in the remake of Tron. F1 does it (Iron Man 2), I'm sure they got a whole new bunch of casual fans from that venture into advertising. Also BMW pulls out of F1 and instead spends their budget on movie product placement.

I watch the ASP World Tour (surfing), they provide free live streaming of all events and free on demand viewing of sessions, I guess they do it to increase their fan base and visibility, If your visible and you have good products to sell, it does not take a genius to understand you will make money. I am not suggesting Dorna gives up its subscriptions, but their removal of free video from you tube etc is like marketing suicide.

60 Minutes Australia did a story on Casey Stoner & Chris Vermuellen in 2008, it was a human interest story, featuring some footage of MotoGP, amongst a lot of other things. Dorna removes it for copyright infringement, but does not make it available on their official you tube site. They just take anything of interest away and then it is gone, and tracking down a copy is way to much work even for a fan of the sport.

I wish Dorna would wake up, MotoGP really should have a huge fan base and not just in countries that have a high percentage of motorbike riders.

Total votes: 177

Maybe if Dorna would take note of the fact that blocking people from uploading things to YouTube is keeping their baby out of the public eye…

Sure, if someone uploads a whole race that's a no-good situation, but if someone uploads a couple of neat clips? That has no downside in reality.

Total votes: 183

whilst the Spanish Motorcycle Federations are doing such a sterling job of promoting riding academies and programs, they allow a fuster cluck like Dorna to progressively eliminate the opportunities for their many graduates to attain the results they aspire to.

The teams need to grow some cajones, organize a FIM sanctioned breakaway series with a competent promotional entity and tell the MSMA and Dorna to go forth and multiply.

Total votes: 176

On the American West Coast we have a company called In-N-Out Burger. It’s hard to imagine a business that generates more long-term loyalty - multi-generation loyalty. My parents took me there as a child; I take my children there. The respect for their business is somewhere between religion and jealous love – for a great product, but in no small measure for keeping it simple and pure in a topsy-turvy world. They have not let the market success, of say McDonalds, denture them from their obsession.

Product success is NOT measured by finance alone. I can’t help but think of Bernie and the F1 boys dreaming of ways to “get more of what MotoGP has”.

Bridgepoint/Dorna/MotoGP (granted, no In-N-Out, nor will they ever be) nevertheless should be informed by F1 but not let them, or anyone else, defocus them from allowing MotoGP to stay its own path to product righteousness.

Total votes: 192

And say maybe the mistake is that they are overestimating the size of the product they have to sell. As much as I love and live motorcycling it is not something that has (or will) catch the interest of the general population. And racing sport motorcycles is a niche part of motorcycling in general. Cruiser riders, a large portion of riders here in the US at least, for the most part have little to no interest in roadracing. Same for dirt riders. Do the hundreds of millions of scooter riders in Asia care about MotoGP or low gas costs? Given the limited appeal of the product, how can they possibly hope to compare to F1? F1 is a cultural icon worldwide. They have Ferrari, another worldwide icon. Not to knock Japanese mfgrs who are the backbone of GP bike racing but they have only rarely been producers of collectible exoticia and have nowhere near the cache of Ferrari or even Lotus or Mercedes. That is where F1's luxury multiplier comes from.

Add to this the problem with buying at the height of the market and expecting to expand and instead hitting decreased valuations and financial contraction there should be no surprise over the financial condition of MotoGP. Their profits are eaten up by interest payments on the huge loans. Yet another reason I find it funny that they did not fight tooth and nail to be able to keep tobacco and alcohol sponsorship. Yes, I would be happy to run a team with their sponsorship. Rossi along with many other racing greats did. Ducati still is though I wonder how long they will be allowed to.

An analogy is there's no sense building a huge stadium if you will never be able to fill it. You'll only look bad by having half empty seating at best and huge constructions costs to repay. If bike racing is only attractive to a small percentage of the population then plan accordingly. Never give up on trying to attract new adherents but don't make selling outside your core audience a main part of your plan.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 202

If a Briton in a Fiesta can relate to an open-cockpit single seat prototype formula car, then guys on cruisers can relate to MotoGP bikes. Furthermore, if millions of people who've never ridden a horse can watch Triple Crown horse racing, there is room for growth in MotoGP.

Sports is a personality-driven industry that exploits games and contests as a convention to place importance on various characters. Their societal relevance as celebrities is what brings in the punters who are interested in being part of the scene.

Imo, it is possible to thrust riders into the celebrity limelight without selling the soul of the sport, but in order to pull it off, the sport must have more going on. Manufacturers/brands to bring in sponsors and technical partners. Fortune 500 sponsors to expose employees and industries to the sport. Puff pieces about the riders in major media outlets. Viral videos and social media. If Dorna can get more manufacturers and sponsors, most of the work will be done for them, but they don't even seem capable of increasing the sports draw.

The sportbike market is just a tiny niche industry. The potential for growth is massive. The only thing holding the sport back is the idea that the sport cannot grow; therefore, the inbred country club must be maintained. The country club is falling apart so it is beyond me why Dorna continue to cling to it.

Total votes: 175

Its not that the cruiser riders cant relate. Its that they dont WANT to relate. There in lies the rub. My father is one of those guys. Sure if he sees me watching, he will watch, but he doesnt seek it out. He would rather just go out and ride and pretend he is Peter Fonda or Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider.

You are trying to battle a cultural thing and it wont work. None of the guys I know who ride cruisers have the slightest interest in motorcycle racing, and that includes Harley Davidson's racing program. Yes, HD does have a racing program. They are in it for something else.

And for the record, I have nothing to relate to in F1 and hence, I dont watch it. Had Jeff Gordon gone F1 racing 8 years ago, I might have had an interest, but since he didnt, and the American media, only puts Danica "Crybaby" Patrick in an F1 ride, so I have zero interest in the series.

You need a story too. And there really isnt a story in GP anymore. If there is, Dorna is doing a terrible job of selling it and pointing it in the right direction. The Pedro/Marco/Jorge thing seems pretty good and has made me take notice of Marco. But its going to end at some point and then what?

Total votes: 182

The outlaw biker era is long in the tooth and will not be with us much longer. Harley is so concerned with their aging demographic (and the demographics of the entire American industry) that they have parted ways with their ad agency, and appointed marketing guru from companies like Levi's to the Harley board. Some people believe that Harley even went so far as to kill Buell in order to market Harleys to younger buyers.

What you have said is certainly true in my experience, but the trend is temporal and the companies who benefit from baby-boomer bikers have already started planning for a future without them. MotoGP should do the same regarding the US market.

Total votes: 203

I get tired of being told that you have to be a motorbike rider to appreciate motorcycle racing.

I love watching MotoGP and I do not own or ride a bike. I love watching surfing, but I do not surf, I love watching tennis but I do not play tennis.

You do not need to do the sport, to be able to appreciate the sport.

Total votes: 169

I have roped a number of my friends (non riders) into watching... I always tell them that we can have beer and even if sucks it only last 45 minutes or so" Most love it... and come back for more.

The beauty of the machines, the sheer speed and risk, not to mention how colorful VR and other riders are. Makes it very appealing to watch for non gear heads. Not alot of rules - no pit stops just grip it and rip it.

I would dis-gree to some extent, that the time length, that this limits GP limits it for a U.S audiance. On the contrary. The length of soccer (football) has the problems that the events are too long for the U.S consumers limited attention spam.

Motogp could be a real ratings winner in the, U.S if we got toby and Julian comentary in the U.S! Dorna does not seem to have any motivation to appeal to non riders - very foolish in my mind...(though it sounds as if I am preaching to the converted).

4 races in six months is making me crazy!!

Total votes: 183

Soccer is short by American sporting standards. The problem with soccer is the offside rules and the c-list thespians who are hired to play athletes.

Total votes: 180

It's not the length of time necesarily (for football / soccer) it's the fact that there are no natural break points for commercials like time outs, half times etc to make it commericially viable for TV here.

No real problem like that for MotoGP, they could show the whole race with comercial break in an hour an half and people would definitely watch it- (Speed TV does an awful job however). Motogp could and should be a major draw in the U.S but it's not.

Dorna needs a better approach for sure. They're without question, the only corporation that I am awere of, in the world, that does'nt understand the value of the U.S. Market. Or if they do - do very very little to improve the profile of the sport here.

I would also agree with the statement about the movie Faster - I was already hooked by the time I saw it - it just made the addiction worse.

Total votes: 189

It is easy to get people interested in MotoGP, I've recruited most of my family and several friends without even trying, I don't understand how a large corporation can be so bad at it. Not having a realistic strategy to acquire the US markets really is a big lose on the part of Dorna.

Four races in six months is doing my head in too. Looking forward to the next two months, the season will finally feel like it has really started.

Total votes: 189

I totally agree. If I had read your post before I made mine (below) I could have saved a lot of typing.

Total votes: 175

I hope Dorna can help themselves this way but...

1) Just about everyone in the world can identify with cars (even motorcyclists). Relatively very few in the world can identify with motorcycles.
2) Actually only a small percentage of avid motorcyclists can be called motorcycle racing fans.

Even though motorcycle racing is far more exciting than car racing, because of the above mentioned reasons, it will never be as popular (or as profitable) as car racing.

As a die hard racing fan this does not concern me in the least.

Total votes: 184

MotoGP, or WSBK or any top of the shelfs motorbike competition, could attract far more viewers if given enough advertisement time. It's not about the show (cos we know it's exciting), it's about how much people are anticipating it. And how much you make them want it bad.

Give it enough budget and care, good directors, editors and a known tune below it and MotoGP would become a favorite cos it is spectacular and as said Acidraine, you don't need to be a biker to enjoy it.

There's an interesting thing happening here, in Belgium. RTL Sport, one of the biggest media corporation in Europe, is sponsoring a Belgian rider in Moto2. It's advertised on their main national channel and already attracting people outside the "motorbike niche". They have been sponsoring a Superbiker event for a few years now and this event attracts bikers, of course, but also families and people having little to do with the sport and it has become a major all sport event of the year, with tens of thousands of people showing up. Why ? Because RTL has made it look exciting, fun, thrilling (and dangerous while glossy) and they advertise it on prime time TV, numerous time, over and over, treating it like they would treat a soccer game finale or F1.

So, I reckon one of the obstacle to Dorna and FIM is to really believe it can indeed become a multi-million viewers event every sunday and start treating it like something that is indeed marketable: put ressources where it matters (outside the niche and make it shine).

Truth is, you don't even have to lie your way as the show IS exciting, fun and thrilling (and wait if you give back 24L to the 1000cc...).

Total votes: 184

Of course F1 may always have a wider audience but the ratio towards MotoGP is completely unproportioned.

There are more card drivers than motorcycle drivers but football (soccer for the over the pond) is enjoyed but loads of people more than actually play it. So is tennis and many other mainstream sports.

Dorna on top has (very soon had) a wonderful sweet spot by having in these days an extraordinary champion where some other sports are lacking a personality figure able to draw media frenzy attention. Just consider that Rossi is in the top 10 of most payed athletes in the word!

Thus I believe is legitimate to ask if something better could (should) be done to raise that commercial value of this sport.

I am not saying I have the answer or that it should reach F1 popularity .... but something better than this is not out of the equation.

Total votes: 183

i rode, but did not follow racing until i saw faster. i had seen races before but never cared i did not know the backstory, faster taught me this, then it began to spread, after motogp, ama 1000's and 600's, then wsb and wss, then the 250's and supercross, even bsb, and stopped with 125's. all started from faster, i no longer watch ama racing as the idea of nasbike does not excite me. the one thing i never see on any tv here is the us is commercials for any motocycle racing. just some background info on the racers with a montage of wrecks and passes is more than worth it's weight in gold, the friends that will watch it with me are mainly waiting for a crash, an awesome pass is not beyond them but i need to point out what happened for them to understand the beauty of it.
-2cents

Total votes: 168

I personally don't think the current state of GP racing will strike the hearts of the world anytime soon irrespective of how exciting they make it look through new advertising campaigns.

Over here in Australia one of the biggest (and most profitable) markets is V8 Supercars. Dinosaur technology and only two makes (Ford vs Holden) yet it strikes up passionate supporters through generations who all serve up their own version of one (red or blue) eyed support to the series. The racing is generally pretty close and unpredictable, and most of the year it builds up to the zenith of the Bathurst 1000 (the traditional 1000km race at Mount Panorama).

It's a simple concept but they are printing their own money.

I love motorcycle racing and have lived and breathed it since my old man and uncle used to drag me out to Oran Park to watch the Doohans and Gardeners of the time.

But MotoGP is often pretty lacklustre in excitement, and the racing relatively processional. A few flag to flag races and some press conference attitude aside, it's a pretty hard sell to the casual fan let alone trying to sell it to a complete outsider.

I know that I am simply stating one of the problems and not offering an alternative, but if WSBK can produce the grid numbers and close racing that they do at any given meet, I really don't see why the apparent pinnacle of the sport can't aim up and grab the sport with both hands, shake the living fuck out of it and bring back the excitement.

Cheers

Total votes: 169

V8 Supercars is a strange example, as they advertise, like crazy! Australian TV has recently been blessed with relentless ads, featuring Pink (the singer) as the new face of V8 Supercars (I'm sure acquiring the services of Pink put a nice sized dent in their advertising budget).

It is true, the series does touch to the very core of Australia, one make or team against the other (aka State of Origin) and it also has huge generational support, father to son pushing of the series, but even with that guaranteed audience they still see the value of large marketing expenditure to ensure increased support from untapped markets and to keep their current fan base excited about the series.

As far as processional goes, if F1 can keep supporters with the most processional series in existence than MotoGP should be able to secure a much larger market share than they currently enjoy.

Total votes: 181

There IS NO product righteousness in the 4 stroke era. The whole movement has devalued the RACING in favor of the machinery. The only hope for the series is to promote closer racing and racing personalities from ALL the major markets including S. American and Asian countries, which will bring more advertisers and TV money into the sport. Bridgepoint is losing and will lose a bundle on this deal. It's "buy low-sell high" not "overpay-then-overhaul"...these guys always think they are smarter than they really are.

Total votes: 177

I just finished the book “MotoGP Technology” and, ya know, it’s a must-read. Paramount information. I’m familiar with the esoteric nature of Formula 1, but had no i-d-e-a the depth of technical rigmarole in MotoGP. I knew it was hidden there somewhere, but it’s rarely discussed in broadcasts.

When reading I kept thinking about all the bellyaching I’ve heard over the years (online) about how “real racing” is now a thing of the past in GP. Many people look askew at high-electronics, fuel restrictions, and other recent developments and controls – the formula. I feel many such people are completely missing the point of a “prototype” series: they’re missing over half of what’s going on here.

What MotoGP broadcasts need is a Steve Matchett type character to highlight and discuss (with rightful glee!) the more technical aspects of the series – to bring the broadcast back into alignment with what the sport currently is – a constructor’s competition, as much or more than a riders competition or team effort. Maybe the trackside reporter can step it up a few notches (or be replaced?) All the current announcers can muster is inane discussion on prime tires – I mean hard tires – I mean white.., or was that red? They can’t even get tires ..squared away. (Although, in all fairness, Steve Matchett’s crew botches that one too.)

Consumer’s understanding what the product actually is seems to me a critical first step to financial success.

Total votes: 177