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AMA Supercross: Recession proof sport?

Published February 1st, 2011

Is the sport of Supercross in America “recession proof”?

In some ways – no. But in some ways, a resounding “Yes”.

Almost every facet of life in America has been impacted by the economic downturn that started in late 2007.

And that includes motorcycling as a whole, which should have an impact on supercross. Dealerships have closed. Sales of many models are down. Jobs and salaries were reduced and/or eliminated.

Look outside of motorcycling too. I start with all realms of housing – sales, building, and home values have plummeted in many regions.

Wall Street, specifically the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped to a low of 6,443 in March 2009, after being at a high of 14,198 in October 2007.

Banks suffered tremendous loses, mostly due to bad loans, which caused a liquidity shortfall across the entire banking system. In the first 8 months of 2009, the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Company) closed down 89 failing banks across the nation.

Unemployment in the USA: In February 2008 it was 4.8 %. In April 2010 it was just under 10%.

A bleak picture.

But Supercross, at least attendance and interest in the AMA Supercross Series, has almost seemed “recession proof”. A unique situation in America – even compared to many “mainstream” sports in the USA.

Let’s look at just a couple of sports …

Football – the king of sports currently in the USA, specifically the NFL. From September 1, 2010, in the USA Today online edition: NFL Attendance likely to fall for third straight season in 2010, to lowest level since 1998.

Also from the USA Today, the July 21, 2010 online edition, regarding NASCAR:

According to NASCAR estimates, attendance has dropped in 14 of the first 19 races of the season, and the average crowd of 99,853 projects to 3.6 million – which would be nearly a million off the total in 2003, the last season before the Chase for the Sprint Cup made its debut.

Back to AMA Supercross – the number of spectators, and the media interest, seemingly has not been affected. Attendance numbers in 2009 and 2010 – even as many thought the number of fans would decrease, has stayed the same at some venues, and increased at others. The overall series attendance has actually increased in those years.

And if 2011 is any indication, Supercross in the USA is healthy. With four events run so far in 2011 (Anaheim, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Oakland) attendance is very healthy, with an average of almost 45,000 fans per event.

Congratulations to all that contribute to the success of supercross. Teams, riders, sponsors, fans, and others. And to Feld Motor Sports (producers of all the AMA Supercross races in the USA except for the Daytona event) for continuing to improve a product. A product that provides great entertainment and value for fans worldwide, has tremendous action, excitement and enthusiasm for it’s racing, helps to make the athletes of supercross into “household brand names”, and is well poised for more success in the future.


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