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Author Topic: Concerned about our future  (Read 7554 times)

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GSXR RACER MIKE

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Concerned about our future
« on: January 21, 2003, 06:47:53 pm »
     I noticed in the license renewal brochure that the gate fees are going up to $15/1 day, $25/2 days, and $35/3days. I very much question if this is overall beneficial to our sport? I have had enough trouble convincing people to come out to the track at $10 per head - I imagine it will be really difficult now at $15 for 1 day! I personally think that the more people we can get spectating our sport the better. More spectators = more sponsers, more potential media coverage, and more potential future racers. If it had not been for a freinds persistance in getting me to spend the money and go spectate at BHF, I may have never gotten into this sport in the first place (sadly the gate fee was deterring me from going on my own).
    As much as I hate to say this, I would be willing to pay these higher rates if it meant that the non-racers could get in at a lower rate. Once you get into double digit gate fees people are alot more reluctant to spend the cash, especially when multiple people are attending from a family. If Mom, Dad, and the 2 kids were to go at these prices it would cost them $60 for 1 day - truely discouraging this from being a family activity to attend multiple times per year. I think that $8 or $9 is much more in line with drawing crowds (costing this same family of four $32 or $36).
    Am I totally off base with this or do the rest of you agree?
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fans must travel juRe: Concerned about our future
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2003, 07:38:52 pm »
I'm cheap, so I hate it when stuff costs more.  I suppose the ever-climbing insurance rates could be to blame.  Are we entertaining enough to charge $15 per day to watch us?  Absolutly.  Would $15 a day deter someone who actually wanted to watch?  I don't think so.  
I used to ride 20,000 miles a year when I had a street bike.  Most street riders do 2-3 thousand per year.  They just don't like to ride for long distances.  No one lives close to any race track, so there's travel involved.  This is the problem.  I've tried to get hundreds of riders to come to the track, even offering to pay their gate fees.  I've had maybe 20 actually show up, and most have eventually become racers.  People just aren't willing to drive 100 miles each way, and commit their entire day or weekend to going to an amateur race.  Look at the miserable turnout we had at Road America for the F-USA/CCS weekend.  MAYBE 1000 people who weren't in some way connected to a competitor.  Compare that crowd to the June Sprints car race there.  This for a Pro/Am motorcycle race at one of the most famous circuts in the country?
I was equally bummed by the turnout at the ROC in Daytona.  I've been to the SCCA car runoffs at Mid Ohio and Road Atlanta, and they had ten times as many people watching.
I sure don't know the solution.  Speed Channel coverage would sure help.  What American viewer really cares about Grass Track racing in the communist bloc?  I would think that at least our Runoffs would be worth a later-date airing.  Until the public becomes aware of what we do, there won't be a real spectator base for us.  Free gate fees for spectators wouldn't change that.
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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2003, 08:46:27 pm »
One thing we could all do to promote our sport is to give local dealers information on CCS.  Specifically race dates and locations.  I'm sure if all the dealers in one town of say 100,000 know of the event, at least a few people may be inclined to go watch or participate in the LP track day.  Just my $0.02.

Chris Watts
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GSXR RACER MIKE

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2003, 09:16:26 pm »
     I live in Rockford,Il. which is right next to BHF and am use to having this luxury. I guess in the case where you don't live near a track it wouldn't make near as much difference about the gate fee if you have to travel to get there anyway.
    I compare this issue to the local 1/4 mile drag strip which charges similar gate fees to spectators. I can't even count the number of times that I have heard potential spectators complaining about the gate fees for their family to go to the drag strip - even for a semi-major event there. I have freinds that have told me if the fee was less they would go all the time to watch my brother run his 9 second Camaro.
    Similarly is our local 1/4 mile paved oval speedway. It is entertaining enough, but almost everyone I have ever talked to (that is going purely for entertainment) has complained about the gate fee, and that they would like to take their kids more often but can't really afford to.
    As for the die hard enthusiasts, I don't think that the price is as big of an issue to them. But they are the majority of the spectators currently, not too many non-enthusiasts looking for entertainment are coming to our events. I do agree that advertising locally (to the track) is a definate requirement, but finding economical ways to do it is the key. Even cleverly placed picture ads in the newspapers local to the track could help. By the way, Rockford is in Winnebago county, same as BHF, population of nearly 1/4 million!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2003, 09:22:36 pm by 2xtrm4u »
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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2003, 02:34:42 am »
Boy, this is a hard issue.  

CCS racing is sportsman racing.  But it is pretty intense.  The gate fees are there, they are high in some ways, but they are pretty comperable with other events.

TV, etc...

CART is a really terrible organization.  Why is it so big?  The teams promote themselves and the races that they are going to.  That's what draws the crowd and the TV.  THIS IS THE KEY!

Organizations are kind of like meetings...  Nothing really important was ever really accomplished by either.

AMA Superbike racing really exceled recently because the manufacturers and teams started investing in their racing and advertising what they do and where they do it.

The opposite problem happens in FUSA.  The teams are relatively fragmented and under funded.  

Scott Zampach was a good racer.  He did get beat on occasion.  Usually when he did, it was at places where there was no press.  But he won at places where there was great press.  That helped his program get the help it needed to go on to do what he did.

CCS spends loads of money making really nice wall hangings for dealerships.  But unless the dealership hangs it in a place where someone can see it...

And if you're "sponsored" by a dealership, unless they let their customers know that it sponsors you....

And unless you actually type out a list of results for your dealership, they don't knonw how you do.  And even if you did poorly, they would be happy to hear how you did.  Afterall, they probably can't do what you're doing.

Comments?
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Super Dave

ecumike

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2003, 04:41:16 am »
I agree with Chris, Chris & Dave.
If someone wants to come watch, there gonna pay the 10 or 15 $.

OK So think about it like this.. say it's $15 on Sun... racing (is supposed to) start at 10:30 and go till ~4:30, with 1 hour break... that's 5 hours of racing = $3/hour. OK, so not really, ya wanna get technical?... then go with 14 races.. that's $1+ per race.

Look at what you pay for an AMA event, the 'per race' or 'per hour' rate. Sure the experience/environment is there... but if you (friends, family) just want to watch a live motorcycle race who cares? The better bang-for-your-buck is a CCS race :) PLUS you're the one racing!

I have friends that came to watch me on my first race weekend in April, my engine seized in morning practice on Sun. I had 8-10 friends come out ~11a just to find out that I wasn't gonna be racing, but they hung out and watched. They liked it so much, that they are now gonna come to all the races @ VIR this year. And every time my one friend comes, he brings another one. Now he loads up his SUV w/ people & beer and drive the WHOLE hour to VIR :)

The gate fee issue is pretty beat. We want it less, CCS wants it same/more.. it's not gonna budge... so instead of making it seem like too much, talk up the races... make people believe that $15 is worth watching 14 races!
It's all about marketing... word of mouth costs nothing, a 30 sec. ad on the networks costs a lot.

Even if you lower the price... how many more people would that draw.. honestly probably not too much... I think laziness/drive/interest is the deterring factor, not the price. Whether it's $5 or $15, ya still gotta make people aware that there's races going on.

How much does it cost you to make up a stupid little flyer and drop it in people's mailboxes, take it to dealers, stores, schools, etc.?  not much.

IE: I keep getting this flyer from this dude Henry De Gouw, in FL. It's a color flyer promoting the CCS races at Homestead. I think it looks good. That gave me the great idea of copying/making one for the VIR races and distributing them here.
If you haven't seen it, I can scan it in for ya and post it here.

Whew... sorry, just my .02
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schpreck

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2003, 05:27:23 am »
IE: I keep getting this flyer from this dude Henry De Gouw, in FL. It's a color flyer promoting the CCS races at Homestead. I think it looks good. That gave me the great idea of copying/making one for the VIR races and distributing them here.
If you haven't seen it, I can scan it in for ya and post it here


Hey now...Flyers...Why didn't I think of that?!  I would love it if you would post that flyer so I could steal the design for my area.  or e-mail it to schpreck@cox.net.  
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Jeff

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2003, 07:03:32 am »
I guess my only real comment of value (if I can jump on the band-wagon full of whine) would be that I think it sucks to be a competitor and have to pay the gate fee...

I'm providing the entertainment!  

I'd like to see 2 gate entries with license purchase/event registration.  But that's cheap ole me...

As for the sponsor thing and promotion thing...  I run a pretty good promotional program for all my events and sponsors.  It's beneficial back to my sponsors.  To the point of 10's of thousands of dollars each year in some cases added to their bottom lines.  

Does this affect the crowd at a race?  Dunno... I suppose by a few people it does.  But nothing "massive".  

TV coverage would be nice and draw larger crowds.  I think it sucks that high school football/basketball/hockey are covered on local channels, but road racing is forgotten.

Friggin Nascar mentality...  >:(
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GSXR RACER MIKE

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2003, 08:12:19 am »
     I agree that word of mouth is defenitely a good way to promote our sport, but it does have it's limitations. I also agree that our sport is alot more exciting to watch than so many other things that people could be doing on their day off. I personally have never seen a CCS advertisement at a dealership before and I have been thinking about doing something about that. Kinkos can make relatively large banners fairly economically, I just have to find out what the dealerships will display (size wise). I assume that CCS has some type of advertising budget figured into all the fees that they collect, and I have an idea on how to put it to good use.
    Cycle News has a deal where they will print race coverage - if you write it! If I remember correctly they give you some type of an info kit to help you get started. What I think would be a good idea is if CCS would offer to individuals the opportunity to do a little of the leg work for them for free. If CCS were to provide banners, flyers, local advertising coverage at their cost, then an interested person could do the work of getting this material out to the local area near a track. I live so close to BHF that I would have no problem offering myself to go to all the local dealerships in the area, get ads published, etc. as long as CCS would help with the cost. A packet similar to what Cycle News provides could be used to help guide myself and other volunteers along the right path to effective advertising. I believe that there is at least 1 person near every track CCS uses that would be willing to offer their time to help out.
    Lastly I had an idea of having business cards printed that have all the race dates for that region, directions to the local track, CCS's web address, and even my own e-mail address to provide answers to questions. Boxes of these could be left at the dealerships so people would stick them in their wallet for immediate reference if they ever got the desire to attend our races.
    Though I believe these things would help, I also believe that this advertising is still more focused on the current enthusiast. Non motorcyle related advertising such as in the local newspaper or on the radio might prove very beneficial. Live radio broadcast from the track (on a locally popular music station) might prove very effective and usually is preceeded that week by random advertising for the event coming up.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2003, 08:38:03 am by 2xtrm4u »
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Mike Williams - 2 GSXR 750's
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magyar

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2003, 09:41:23 am »
How many times have you met someone and told them you race motrocycles, only to have them respond "motocross"? The only way our sport is going to get any recognition is if the AMA does a better job promoting it. Like it or not it is the premier "brand" in our country. Motorcycle road racing is by far the most exciting racing there is. The red neck wreck fest called nascar pales in comparison, yet look at it. Most "common" people don't even know of our meager existence. Unfortunatly if our sport ever gets the recognition it deserves ,that will only drive up gate fees. So there in lies the problem. Do we remain do we remain small potatoes and increase our gate fees by a few bucks each year. Or rocket into the main stream and make gate fees so expensive it will be impossible for the competitors to afford the already costly weekends. And that's the rest of the story
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GSXR RACER MIKE

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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2003, 10:32:15 am »
     I believe the reason that NASCAR has such a large spectator base is the whole association thing with driving. Pretty much everyone drives cars or trucks and has been for as long as they could, therefore each person has their own idea as to how they would do it themself if in the racers position, based on their own personal ability. The same applies to sports such as football, many have played or still play the game at a purely recreational level and have their own ideas as to how it should be done which inturn creates an association. The motorcycle community does not have this massive association factor in it's favor, and ultimately riding motorcycles can be somewhat intimidating to those who do not ride for themself.
    I personally never got into the football thing and would not normally seek it on TV, but if I stumbled onto it I may watch it for a while for entertainment. I think that our sport is in much the same position, if presented to the general public more aggressively they might at least go see what it's all about and possibly find it entertaining.
    Another issue that many may not consider is that race tracks often come under attack by locals who didn't think ahead and moved right by a race track, and now are complaining about the noise/traffic. The last several years have seen BHF, the Rockford Speedway, and Byron Dragway all come under attack locally because shady developers are building new housing right by these tracks and mis-leading the home purchasers as to the minimal noise levels generated by racing. Byron Dragway has already seen strict noise restrictions implemented and had their operating hours limited by the county due to complaints. The more people we can get involved in our sport the more people that will be on our side in these issues.
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Re: Concerned about our future
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2003, 10:59:59 am »
Quote


I guess my only real comment of value (if I can jump on the band-wagon full of whine) would be that I think it sucks to be a competitor and have to pay the gate fee...

I'm providing the entertainment!  

I'd like to see 2 gate entries with license purchase/event registration.  But that's cheap ole me...

 
TV coverage would be nice and draw larger crowds.  I think it sucks that high school football/basketball/hockey are covered on local channels, but road racing is forgotten.

  >:(


your stomach ever turn at these high school students getting drafted into the pro's for millions simply because they can dunk and shoot a basketball, and a little taller ??      reason is, people pay to see them perform, to entertain...
i'd think the police and school teachers and fire fighters would be the most important.... go figure.....

for my tu sense...
im ok  to pay a bit to enter and use the facilities for myself, but if there are people paying to see us, we should at least get a discount, if not millions......
making a three pointer is not life threatening ......

ikedrty
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