FIM Motocross World Championships look ahead to 2009
Following the recent decision taken by the Motocross GP Commission, the FIM Motocross World Championship promoter Youthstream has announced further improvements for the series. The common goal is to continue the growth which the World Motocross Championships have seen since 2004, the year Youthstream started control over the series promotion on behalf of FIM, and to give better opportunities to the participants.
Over the last four years, the FIM Motocross World Championships have made some significant improvements. The series has increased exposure, impressive world wide television coverage, and racing venues have made many improvements with the tracks and infrastructure.
The FIM and Youthstream work closely together to make the right strategic and political decisions so that the FIM Motocross World Championship can blossom as the prime off-road championship in the world. Four years ago some strong decisions were made for the series as a whole and it’s growth, and were criticized by many. Teams, sponsors, riders, and more now realize substantial, correct choices were made. In addition, many international sponsors have entered into the sport, supporting the majority of professional teams. The importance of this cannot be overlooked, because most teams today operate with sponsors money, and this permits most of the riders to be employed by a team instead of the old way were many riders had to pay for their own travel expenses and racing.
Always, more work and fine-tuning must be done to further the growth of the sport.
In the image below, you can see the FIM Motocross World Championship is well covered via television and media over five continents with 51.5% in Europe, 19.6% in Asia Pacific, 11.5% in Asia, 6.2% in Africa/Middle East, 5.8% in USA, 3.5% in Latin America and 1.9% in others.
As far as Television, in 2007, there were: 694,806,863 viewers, over 900 hours of coverage, in 133 countries (58 countries received the live program).
As far as the Internet, in 2007, Youthstream had 3.5 million visitors, with 18.9 million page views.
The value of the Television, Internet, Magazine, and other media exposure has a value of over 50 million dollars for each manufacturer.
Youthstream, in continuing the process of fine-tuning and growth for the sport, realizes a true World Championship has to be covered worldwide not only by TV and media but also with the actual race events. It is fundamental to include events in the USA (the biggest motorcycle market worldwide), in Asia (the fastest growing motorcycle market worldwide), in Brazil (the biggest Latin American motorcycle market), in Australia (the biggest motorcycle market in the Pacific) and naturally in Europe and Africa where they are already present.
Some may think it is enough to have these events only in Europe and Africa, but have a very short vision of the future, or only look to their personal interest of today. A championship solely run in Europe and Africa does not deserve the “World Championship” title, and will not attract the same interest from multi-international sponsors. Big sponsors have started entering into the FIM Motocross World Championship for the simple reason that it truly is starting to go worldwide, and there are millions of TV spectators and fans. Manufacturers are more than happy to use the “World Championship” title to promote their brand all over the world, and to sell their motorcycles worldwide.
Teams are becoming more and more professional and need to be guaranteed their participation in the Grand Prix series. They need to be guaranteed to have world wide television and media exposure. They need to have professional infrastructures at the race venues. Youthstream has made a decision that it does not want only strong relationships with the top teams, but also with the semi-private teams. They do that based on their belief that Motocross is a very popular sport, is growing, and has a wide range of participation. (Since Youthstream has managed the FIM Motocross World Championship, the number of riders and teams participating in the MX1, MX2, MX3 and the EMX2 has doubled.)
In addition, Youthstream has determined a need for even wider exposure in order to gain more sponsors for teams and organizers. They have also determined to improve the quality of the show at every Grand Prix to make it a better value for the spectators, and therefore the Organizers and TV Broadcasters.
Youthstream has addressed five improvement points for the future:
1. Improve the quality of the show at the Grand Prix to provide more interest for the public and therefore aid the organizers.
2. Bring Grand Prix events all over the world to gain more sponsors for everyone and to improve the value and credibility of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
3. Support the semi-private teams with rules that guarantee their participation and TV/media exposure.
4. Continuously improve the infrastructure at each Grand Prix to give better comfort to the teams, easy and comfortable access for everyone, and to create interest from sponsors and a wider range of the public.
5. Continue improving the Media and Television coverage around the world for the benefit of everyone involved in the FIM Motocross World Championships.
Youthstream will realize these improvements starting in 2009:
a. Increase the number of overseas events, starting with USA and then with other important motorcycle markets.
b. 40 riders to enter and start in each class, MX1 and MX2. In order to stabilize MX1 and MX2, the factory and semi-private teams will have guaranteed participation in the FIM Motocross World Championship of at least two riders per class. In MX1 and MX2, all 40 riders will take part in the GP (2 x free practice + 1 race of 20 min + 2 laps on Saturday for the starting positions on Sunday. Sunday will remain with 2 races of 35 minutes plus 2 laps for each class). Youthstream will enter 38 riders per class (MX1 and MX2) and the FMNR will enter a maximum of 2 riders per class. Teams/manufacturers can propose to Youthstream a maximum of 24 riders in MX1 as well as in MX2. The remaining riders will be selected directly by Youthstream as wild card riders.
c. Improved TV production, including a live on-board camera, and, the world wide distribution of TV in markets where not already present.
d. Install personalized manufacturer double-floored pit-lane boxes. This will provide teams with a very professional, two-story structure, clean and visible to the public and Television, and where engineers and mechanics can freely work on the ground floor, and the upper floor will serve as an area for sponsors, VIP guests, etc., so they can be part of the action without interfering with the teams work. (This substantially increases value to each teams sponsors.)
d. Install personalized bike washing areas for each manufacturer. (Allows mechanics to work cleanly, not wait in line to wash the bikes, and these personalized bike washing areas will also provide more visibility for the teams.
f. Film and edit a four minute program on each officially entered MX1 and MX2 team, and these programs will be inserted into the FIM Motocross World Championship Highlight News Programs of each Grand Prix.
g. At the end of the season, Youthstream will supply to each officially entered team a 15 minute DVD, at no cost, and free of rights.
h. Improve the sport and technical staff to guarantee better services in the paddock areas. This includes cleaner sanitary services, better security controls on the ‘hot-spots’ (such as the pit-lanes and waiting-zones) and professional blue flag marshals on the race track.
i. Continue to develop and to professionalize the FIM Motocross World Championship without touching the ‘soul’ of the sport. This includes two races per class, fans as near as possible to the show and close to riders, keeping the popular festive spirit, increase the show and activities on Saturdays to allow fans to enjoy more, including the Womens and Veterans first races, and the MX1 and MX2 grid position races on Saturdays. Another goal is always striving to find the right balance between the professional, the amateur and the fans.
j. Following a meeting between Youthstream and the Media, the Media confirmed to Youthstream for it’s improvements made to the Media infrastructure and the general organization of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
After this meeting, Youhstream has agreed to the following for 2009:
1. ADSL lines will become more powerful.
2. There are now more than 250 journalists present at every Grand Prix (sometimes more), so the press rooms will be made larger.
3. A reserved area in the press room will be created for the permanent journalists who follow all the World Championship events.
4. Security control will be tighter on the hot-spots, such as the press room, the podium and pit lane area, and less media passes will be issued.
5. The passage around the race track will be made wider, and more gates will added to facilitate photographers work and allow them to easily pass from one side to the other.
6. After the important evolution of the FIM Motocross World Championship MX1/MX2, the FIM MX3 World Championship and the EMX2 European Championship, Youthstream has decided to bring more infrastructure and television coverage to the MX3 and EMX2. From 2009 there will be a highlight television program of 26 minutes for each MX3/EMX2 event broadcast worldwide on the current Television partners of Youthstream. This program will be broadcast one week after each event separately from the MX1/MX2 program. The program will be divided into equal time for the MX3 and for EMX2. In addition, practice and race highlights of the programs will include a big part dedicated to the teams and riders. Organizers will benefit from a one minute postcard with fine images and promotion on their infrastructure. Youthstream will install a permanent press officer, photographer and paddock manager, and will install a personalized pit-lane with 20 separate tents (two riders each), each with a live-timing screen. In 2009 a staff of eight Youthstream people will be present at every event in order to increase the quality and standards of these Championships.
After consulting with each manufacturer Youthstream will publish the provisional 2009 team list by the beginning of August 2008.
“The development of the FIM Motocross World Championship since Youthstream became the promoter is simply a demonstration of great success” stated Dr. Wolfgang Srb, President of the FIM Motocross Commission. “We work constantly with Giuseppe Luongo to improve the level of the Championships, having in mind that the FIM Motocross World Championship is the leading off-road series in the world. As a matter of fact, we strongly support all efforts to stage more events all over the world.”
Mr. Giuseppe Luongo, President of Youthstream said: “All these changes are made especially for the semi-private teams who currently live in the shadow of the bigger factory teams. We strongly think those teams need to be guaranteed their participation and to have the same (if not more) exposure as the factory teams, because factory teams have a large amount of financial support from their manufacturers, and the semi-private teams have to live with their money and the money they find from sponsors. It is Youthstream’s duty to give the tools to all these teams, so that they can create more revenue. Therefore Mr. Guido Becchis (Youthstream’s Marketing Director) and I are at the disposal of all those teams to help them with marketing programs, sponsorship research and to advise on how to reach certain sponsors. We have heard that some teams were worried to be excluded, … this will not be the case. All teams who have worked seriously and professionally over the past years, and who have always carried out their duties with their riders, mechanics and team managers will have their place in the future. Clearly, teams who want to use the title “World Championship” have to understand the world is much bigger than Europe, and we are sure that in four years time everyone will be very happy with our choices, and still more sponsors will enter our world.”