Win On Sunday. Sell On Monday. No More…

It used to be that manufacturers justified their big dollar investments in sponsoring and races by the sales that competition was generating. But in one month 2 major manufacturers have pulled their factory teams from the 2009 racing season. This week, Kawasaki is scheduled to make an announcement confirming its withdrawal from Moto GP. Early December, Honda was quitting both AMA Superbike and Formula One. Sport investments have become unnecessary operating costs. If the economy doesn’t improve, it’s probably just a question of time before other manufacturers cancel what is now considered by them non-essential programs.

7 Responses to “Win On Sunday. Sell On Monday. No More…”

  1. 1 Dave B. Jan 2nd, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    I think it is mostly a lack of interest as much as the economy… Maybe all wrong here, but after almost 25 years in the business I don’t know anyone who follows this type of racing at all. Drag racing… yes, NASCAR… yes, MotoCross or X-Games Riding… yes, even the Bonneville stuff, but no Moto or GP bike races, myself included.
    Perhaps in Europe, but not much of an audience in the states.

  2. 2 rodent Jan 3rd, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I don’t agree with Dave B. having covered both motorcycle drag racing and Moto GP. The stands at the drag races are allways mostly empty while huge crowds atend the MotoGP at Laguna Seca inspite of outrageous refreshment prices and sucko police attitude do to the fact that the Laguna Seca track is in a Monterey Ca. county park.

  3. 3 Ming1617 Jan 3rd, 2009 at 11:35 am

    as a business owner i have sponsored many events from music to sports and even went into motorsports.

    we sponsored F1 for a few reasons that could easily be true to motorcycle sports apart from one – quality of picture!

    F1 has sharp tv covererage and therefore you can see the sponsors, nascar is the same yet all bike sports use less quality and so only if you basically own the bike will your company ever be seen.

  4. 4 BB Jan 4th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Wow, can’t blame that on “W”. I quit watching MotoGP when they went 4-stroke.

  5. 5 aft customs Jan 5th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    It’s sad to see this happen.Racing is part of every marks heritage & mistique.Racing also brings technology & inovation.The cost of racing has skyrocketed due to insurance for one thing.A lot of the tracks are in the middle of no where because communities don’t want them making it a hassle to see a race.They were too stupid to see the revenue potential.Now many communities are on the verge of bankrupsy.Hopefully these companies will return to racing when the economy turns around.

  6. 6 Jim Gianatsis Jan 5th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    MotoGP like Formula One car racing, has always been one of the biggest fan based sports in Europe since WWII.
    Unfortuately like Formula One, because it is very expensive to compete and difficult to be competitive, 1-2 teams/riders can dominate the racing and it can be very boring at times to watch.

    Kawasaki is the smallest of the Big Four Japanese manufacturers and has never really competitive in MotoGP, and as such, when new bike sales are as bad as they are now in the World economy, MotoGP is the first place they need to slash costs.

    On the other hand, World Superbike, the Championship series based on production street bikes is extremely competitive and very exciting to watch with 7 major manufacturers involved in the 2009 Championship including Kawasaki, and now BMW, with a full 40-bike/rider grid. And the old addage “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” still applies. Ducati won the 2008 World Superbike Championship, and was the only motorcycle manufacturer to show an increase in World and USA motorcycle sales in 2008 (also thanks in part to their introduction of some exciting new bike models).

    Unfotunately in America, motorcycle roading just has never had a big fan or market base. I’d guess it to be around 100,000 fans based on American sportbike sales, low race attendance and the poor quality of the tracks here, low sportbike magazine readership and SpeedTV viewer numbers. The biggest attended roadrace venue in America has been Lagna Seca which has never pulled more than 35,000 spectators for a MotoGP and in 2008 only pulled about 15,000.
    The 2009 Indianapolis MotoGP should do better than this thanks to its great track facility and race weekend show.

    As for American Honda withdrawing from AMA Superbike roadracing, there are a number of factors here besides just the economy and drop off of new bike sales. The takeover of AMA Pro Racing by the Daytona Motorsports Group is another factor. But the major factor is American Honda Motorcycles and Hnnda of Japan do not have a good relationship. American Honda will not budget to buy competitive race Superbikes from HRC of Japan, choosing to build their own AMA Superbikes in house, which has proven to be a disaster over the last 5 years with no race wins. Rather than step up and spend more money to buy a competitive AMA Superbike team, American Honda has chosen to quit and run to save further embarassment (and wasted money). Just as Kawasaki did in MotoGP.

  7. 7 David Jan 6th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    They screwed the system up some years ago when it all got changed around. The classes were all changed so that it fitted each manufactures bike so Honda won this big race ;Suzuki won the next big race and Kawasaki won their big race or series of races.It was no longer Just the 600cc class or the 1000cc class.Everybody had to get a piece of the pie and therefore it strung out the competion and the fan base and ruined everything.

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Cyril Huze