Do you like rock concerts? The AMA announced yesterday that it is ending its relationship with Clear Channel Entertainment, its current promotional partner in connection with the AMA Supercross series, following the 2002 season. Beginning in 2003, JamSports, a division of Chicago-based Jam Productions, known primarily for rock concert productions, will assist the AMA in running and promoting the supercross series.
Some industry insiders have been concerned that the AMA was “stuck” with Clear Channel for the foreseeable future, simply because Clear Channel has certain important supercross venues “locked up”, and unavailable for a competing promoter. The AMA’s press release (printed in full below) acknowledges that this is an issue (look at the Q and A section at the end), but indicates that Jam Productions should have no problem securing many of the same venues for supercross competition, as well as some new venues.
Will Clear Channel promote its own, independent, series? Will there be a legal battle over the name “Supercross”? If Clear Channel has, in effect, an exclusive right to promote motorsport events at a given venue (such as Anaheim Stadium, for example), a rival series might be inevitable. Take a look at the AMA’s press release below, and stay tuned for further developments.
AMA Pro Racing Announces New Partner for AMA U.S. Supercross
Championship Series Commencing 2003 Season
PICKERINGTON, OHIO–AMA Pro Racing has selected JamSports and Entertainment as its new promoter partner for the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship Series commencing with the 2003 season and extending through the 2009 season. JamSports is a division of Chicago-based Jam Productions, the largest independent producer of live events in North America.
The decision was made by the Board of Directors of AMA Pro Racing after evaluating proposals from several companies, including ClearChannel Entertainment, the current promoter of AMA Supercross events. This current promotional agreement between Clear Channel and the AMA expires at the end of the 2002 season.
“We’d like to thank Clear Channel Entertainment for its significant contributions to AMA Supercross over the past several years,” said Scott Hollingsworth, Chief Executive Officer of AMA Pro Racing. “The board felt this was the appropriate time to take a long, hard look at our expectations for the future of AMA Supercross and, in particular, the type of relationship we should develop with our business partners. Several proposals were considered, but JamSport’s stood out, as did the quality of executive firepower they were prepared to commit to the future of the sport.”
Mark Tuttle, chairman of the AMA Pro Racing board of directors added, “I am pleased that after considering a variety of complex issues, at the end of this arduous process the board of directors reached a decision regarding the best long-term alternative without dissension.”
Jerry Mickelson, a principal of JamSports, stated, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the AMA and AMA Pro Racing and appreciate the trust they have shown us by placing part of their 75 years of racing history in our hands. Our objectives are to deliver powerful and successful live events along with great television coverage–the platform for turning AMA Supercross riders into household names. We expect to provide the manufacturers and sponsors value for their investment beyond their highest expectations.”
Tony Dimitriades, also a principal in JamSports, added, “We are convinced that the growth of Supercross is best accomplished by strengthening even further the relationship among all participants, by respecting the differing points of view and recognizing the contribution of each.”
The 2003 season will feature a 16-race schedule at stadiums in major markets, including some major media markets not currently on the AMA Supercross schedule. Early confirmation of some events for the 2003 season will be made in coming weeks and a ground-breaking new television agreement is underdevelopment.
The 2002 season of AMA EA Sports Supercross presented by Speed Stick kicks off on Saturday, January 5, at Edison Field in Anaheim, California, in what’s sure to be another exciting year of racing. Go to www.ticketmaster.com for information regarding ticket availability.
Founded in 1924, the American Motorcyclist Association is a 270,000- member non-profit organization. The association’s purpose is to pursue, protect and promote the interests of motorcyclists, while serving the needs of its members. For more information, visit the AMA Web site at www.AMADirectlink.com, or call 1-800-AMA-JOIN.
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for professional motorcycle sport in the United States. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, please contact Connie Fleming at (614) 856-1900.
JamSports is the sports division of Chicago-based JamProductions, the largest independent producer of live events in North America. For more information on JamSports, please contact Larry Solters at (213)639-6169.
A BRIEF LOOK AT AMA SUPERCROSS AND JAMSPORTS
As the AMA Supercross championship enters its 28th year in 2002, AMA Pro Racing will continue to manage race operations, rules making and all other sporting functions. The 2003 season and beyond will see AMA Pro Racing undertake a significantly expanded role in which it will manage the marketing and television exposure for the series. Only by taking a more active role in these two important areas can the sanctioning body ensure the commercial development of the sport is shared among the stakeholders in a balanced manner. When teams, riders, promoters and the sanctioning body are healthy a sport can prosper, and balancing the often-competing objectives of these stakeholder groups–along with fans–is the role of an independent sanctioning body.
AMA Pro Racing has already found a high degree of success in attracting
non-motorcycle-industry sponsors such as Chevy Trucks, Mazda, Speed Stick, EA Sports, Progressive Insurance, and MBNA to its championships, and expects to continue this trend. AMA Pro Racing and JamSports will work closely together to determine the most effective means to generate further corporate interest in the sport and, when necessary, seek out other partners who can contribute to the commercial growth of the series, its teams and riders. Through the management of marketing and television, AMA Pro Racing can address the needs of team sponsors at events and during the broadcast, a powerful combination that will lead to new opportunities for all.
JamSports’ role has been tailored to its strengths — the production and promotion of live events and the development of stronger ties to the music and entertainment industries. JamSports’ experience in managing large tours in stadiums throughout the U.S. and internationally ensures AMA Supercross will maintain access to all major venues, including those currently on the schedule. JamSports intends to deliver a highly entertaining environment for fans, with new twists to extend the evening’s festivities, and provide several forms of entertainment.
JamSports principals’ extensive contacts in the music, television and motorsports areas are expected, over time, to provide unparalleled opportunities to cross-promote the sport to new audiences. Leading this charge will be Tony Dimitriades, currently the manager for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, among other entertainers. Tony’s experience developing and extending the careers of his clients will serve well the stars of AMA Supercross — its riders.
JamSports will also manage, with significant input from AMA Pro Racing, the merchandising surrounding the Supercross series. It is the intent of both parties to create a collaborative merchandising campaign with the teams and riders, providing a common mechanism for the distribution of approved Supercross, team and rider licensed goods at events and other channels of distribution. We expect this effort to add significant value to participants over time, especially those outside the top five who have relatively fewer opportunities.
The vision shared by JamSports and AMA Pro Racing was extremely important in the decision making process. In managing the careers of its artists and racing driver clients, JamSports’ perspective on the competing interests of promoters and participants is entirely consistent with AMA Pro Racing’s perspective. The structure of the agreement between the parties provides incentives for both to build and develop the AMA Supercross brand while including the teams and riders in the growth of the sport.
AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing personnel assigned to this project and the responsibilities they will hold include:
Scott Hollingsworth, chief executive officer, will continue to manage the daily affairs of the sanctioning body, including both racing and commercial operations. During his tenure, AMA Pro Racing has expanded its available resources, hired high-profile personnel, increased televised hours in Flat Track and Superbike racing, devoted significant resources to safety improvements and increased rider payouts. He will continue to maintain primary responsibility over long-term planning for the organization, including further strategic partnering. Prior to joining AMA Pro Racing, Hollingsworth worked for 12 years as an investment banker, later serving the motorsports and broader sports market. He has an undergraduate degree in economics from LSU and an MBA from Hofstra University in New York.
John Farris, Viice President of Commercial Development, will be primarily responsible for the management of this important project. Farris will collaborate with our business partners in Supercross. Farris joined AMA Pro Racing in April, coming from General Motors where he was marketing manager for the company’s highest volume brand, Chevrolet Silverado. While there, he orchestrated the cooperative efforts that brought financial support from Chevy Trucks to individual race teams and entire AMA racing series partnerships that introduced significant levels of sponsorship from a high-profile, well-respected outside industry source. Since joining AMA Pro Racing John has played an instrumental role in maintaining crucial commercial relationships with sponsors, the media and promoters. John has ridden and raced motorcycles nearly all his life, owns eight motorcycles today and, on occasion, still competes in motocross. John holds a degree from Central Michigan University.
Chris Bradley, Associate Vice President Commercial Development, will expand his role in the execution of marketing programs, an area where he has played a significant role in creating value for sponsors by integrating their event and television presence. Chris is currently leading the development of a merchandising strategy for several AMA U.S. championships, and will assume greater responsibility for helping the commercial development of the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship Series to move forward. Before joining AMA Pro Racing, Bradley worked as an analyst with Andersen Consulting, and also as a marketing associate with the Department Of Athletics at Ohio State University, where he interfaced with America West airlines, Huntington Banks, Shell Gas and Oil, Kroger Food Co., and AAA Auto. Chris earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Ohio University with a double major in marketing and management information systems, and received his Master of Arts from Ohio State University, with a major in sport management, emphasis on sponsorship/marketing.
AMA Pro Racing expects to open an office in the Los Angeles area to better serve the needs of its stakeholders. This person will act as the key contact person for the companies within the motorcycle industry. Additionally, this person will serve as liaison with any agency relationship that may subsequently develop.
The following is an abbreviated listing of key individuals within JamSports, the responsibilities they hold, and a brief description of related promotional experience:
Event Production and Promotion; Routing; Venue Relations; Merchandising Opportunities
Jerry Mickelson and his partner Arny Granat have been producing and promoting concerts, sporting events, theatrical productions and special events since 1971, when they co-founded Jam Productions, which is today, the largest independent event promoter in North America. Jam is a privately held company headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Minneapolis, Seattle and Los Angeles. Jam employs more than 70 people who produce approximately 1,000 events per year. The company’s annual revenue exceeds $100 million. Mickelson has produced live events in stadiums across the country, including the Superdome in New Orleans, the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the TWA Dome in St.Louis and the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, as well as stadiums in Chicago, Denver, Washington D.C. and
Los Angeles. These events involved musical acts such as the Rolling Stones and Madonna, mayoral and gubernatorial inaugurations, and sporting events. Jam’s stature and reputation continue to gain it access to the best venues in the best cities in North America and around the world. Jam’s corporate client list includes Phillip Morris, IBM, the Archdiocese of Chicago, Ameritech, Inland Steel, Kraft, Motorola, Nike, Mills Corporation, and S.C.Johnson.
Brand Development; New Technologies and E-Commerce; Merchandising and Entertainment Industry Liaison
Tony Dimitriades is regarded as one of the most experienced, successful and respected personal managers in the music industry. He started his career as an attorney in the UK, specializing in entertainment, commercial and constitutional law. Since moving to America in 1975, he has managed the careers of numerous
high-profile artists, including a more than 25-year management relationship with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which continues today. Through out his career Tony has managed or worked with many music industry notables, including Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Yes, The Cars, Joni Mitchell, Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. In 1988, he was one of three managers responsible for the creation of the Traveling Wilburys, which included former Beatle George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and ELO leader Jeff Lynne. Tony has earned the reputation as a manager who challenges the status quo and whose main priority is always the long-term career of his artists. He and his clients have produced tours grossing hundreds of millions of dollars, including some of the largest grossing tours ever, in venues on every continent. He has been a principal of East End Management since 1988 and most recently added corporate consulting to his responsibilities, with clients including MP3.com, which became the world’s largest Internet music site before being acquired by Vivendi.
Sponsorship Development; Event and Consumer Promotions; Strategic Alliance Development; Business to Business Opportunities
Michael Held has been actively involved in professional motorsports for more than 15 years. He has represented sponsors, drivers and owners, serving as their guide to professional motorsports while raising more than $70 million in sponsorship revenues. Held co-owned NASCAR and CART teams with driver Robby Gordon in 1999 and 2000. A mechanical engineer, Held began his career in 1985 working with B.F. Goodrich in the racing tire division, creating a grass-roots sales program still in existence. In 1987 Held became the director of racing for Bell Helmets and in 1990 was hired by competitor Simpson Race Products as a vice president. In 1990, Held earned the Louis Schwitzer Award for the most outstanding engineering development in the design of a revolutionary racing helmet for open-wheel race car drivers. Over his tenure in motorsports, Held has worked with: Newman-Haas Racing, BobbyRahal/Team Rahal, Rick Galles, Robby Gordon, John Menard, Penske Racing (both NASCAR & CART), Uniden Corp. of America, Sony, LensCrafters, Goodyear, Firestone, Quaker State, Delphi Automotive Systems, Advanced Micro Devices(AMD), Futaba Corporation, Georgio Brutini Footwear, Mac Tools, ICI Paints, Menards, Duracell, Turtle Wax, and CD-2.
Rider Profile Enhancement; Rider Marketing; International Growth and Development;
Motorsports Industry Liaison
Mr. Graves’ 20-year career in the music business includes managing the touring finances of Michael Jackson, Prince and Sting, and the personal management of Fine Young Cannibals, Herbie Hancock and many others. He has promoted numerous music events including The Georgia Jam (attendance: 200,000+) and the Rainforest Benefit with Sting, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley and Paul Simon. He co-produced “Coast to Coast,” a live studio and behind-the-scenes music television series with the Showtime Television Network. Graves currently manages the career of Indy Car and Driver Formula Atlantic Champion Memo Gidley, whom he has guided into the world of Champ Car racing, taking an under-financed Gidley from Formula Atlantic cars to driving for four-time CART champions Target/Gannasi Racing in just two short years. In 2000 Graves became the Champ Car sponsorship liaison to DirecTV, Viewsonic and the L.A. Auto Show. Donnie also manages the career of British F3 driver and Formula Palmer/Audi Champion Philip Giebler.
Mr. Graves raced motocross throughout his teens, and began his automobile motorsports career as an amateur racecar driver four years ago.
Event Financial Management
Spencer Churchill has worked in the live-event business since 1978, starting as a stagehand in a small concert hall in Atlanta and moving on to become a tour manager and tour accountant. He co-produced a traveling music festival and project-managed major tours. In 1987 he served as the tour accountant for the European tour of the artist Prince. In 1992 he began working for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Tony Dimitriades of East End Management, a relationship that continues today. He also worked on the Lollapalooza Festival, a traveling music show that sold out every major concert venue it played. In 1993 he co-produced Lollapalooza. Churchill’s specialty is understanding and managing complex touring deals between artist and promoter and to supervise and negotiate production and venue expenses. His experienceincludes supervising the tour accountancy and settlements for Barbra Streisand’s final live performances, which became the highest grossing event ever for the venues it played.
Event Management and Production; Logistics; Television Production Liaison
Robert Richards has been in the music and television event production business for 20 years, initially working as a tour manager for several internationally known acts including Devo, Ministry and Berlin. As tour manager his responsibilities included travel production, promotion, budgeting,and representation of the artists with vendors and record company representatives in each local market. In 1984 he joined Lookout Management, one of the largest management companies of its time, and worked directly with one of the principals, Tony Dimitriades, handling the day-to-day management of British rock band Yes. Richards later managed the careers of artists including Sheryl Crow, and also branched out into concert event consulting and producing of worldwide concert broadcasts before returning to work with Dimitriades at East End Management with Lindsey Buckingham and Billy Idol. Robert Richards is an avid motorcycle racing enthusiast. At the age of 12, he became a member of the AMA while living in Southern California, and was a shop-sponsored motocross rider until the age of 16.
Creative Director and Public Relations Manager
Kinnon Marshall has worked as the public relations and marketing director for Robby Gordon and Team Gordon for the past two years. Last season, Marshall’s first on the NASCAR Winston Cup Tour, he was voted one of the top-five driver PR representatives by the publication Speedway Scene. In addition to coordinating
Mr. Gordon’s media, Marshall acts as the creative director in preparing sponsorship materials and implementing sponsorship programs. Prior to his involvement in motorsports, Marshall worked in the entertainment marketing industry for
family-owned and -operated Norm Marshalland Associates, the industry leader in product placement and corporate movie tie-in promotion. There he was involved in developing, designing and creating promotional opportunities for corporate clients such as USA Today, Miller Brewing Company, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Jack in the Box, and Dunkin’ Donuts.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: What are the details of AMA Pro Racing’s partnership with JamSports for promotion of the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship series?
A: This is a seven-year partnership beginning with the 2003 season and extending through the 2009 season. JamSports will be the exclusive promoter of races that are part of the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship Series.
Q: Can you explain how this new business partnership differs from the current structure and describe how it will benefit the average Supercross competitor?
A: The most significant new element is the shared vision both organizations have for the future development of the sport. Under this partnership, both AMA Pro Racing and JamSports have incentive to build the value of AMA Supercross, and the agreement contains a mechanism for sharing that benefit with all participants.
For example, the multi-faceted issues related to staging an event in a major media market could serve to illustrate these dynamics. The economics of the event may not appear to be financially advantageous for the promoter, but the value it provides to team, rider and series sponsors and the media may be significant. Our agreement provides an incentive for the promoter to continue with that event, thereby delivering value to all.
We also view the teams and riders as our most crucial contributors. It is the job of an independent sanctioning body to maintain a level playing field, provide the safest environment possible and offer commercial assistance to teams and riders so the economic viability of motorcycle racing improves. Our new partnership sets a priority on facilitating development of team sponsors and honoring those commitments. We will also place an emphasis on producing a marketing platform that delivers exposure across all media (live event, TV, print, Internet) and provides value to teams for their sponsors.
Q: Why make a change in AMA Supercross at this time?
A: AMA Pro Racing’s existing contract with PACE/SFX/ClearChannel expires at the conclusion of the 2002 season, and negotiations have been ongoing for some time. After considering proposals from a number of potential partners, including PACE/SFX/Clear Channel, the AMA Pro Racing Board determined that the approach offered by JamSports is best suited to meet our mission of developing our racing series on a balanced basis with shared benefit among promoters, participants and the sanctioning body.
Q: What effect will this have on the 2002 season?
A: None. Our working relationship with PACE/SFX/ClearChannel at the event level has been very good, and we expect that to continue this year. We will put every effort into making the 2002 season the best yet,and we are confident that PACE/SFX/Clear Channel will do the same.
Q: Will current venues remain on the AMA Supercross schedule in 2003?
A: Work is just beginning on producing dates, cities and venues for the 2003 AMA Supercross Championship Series and we expect many of these events will be held at familiar locations. In upcoming weeks, we will announce the new cities that will be included in the 2003 season, and we expect to finalize the balance of the schedule soon there after. JamSports has long-standing relationships with top venues throughout the country, so the ability to obtain contracts with stadiums for Supercross events will not be an issue.
Q: Does this partnership mean that AMA Pro Racing is now in the race promotion business?
A: No. Throughout the 27-year history of AMA Supercross,various companies, including PACE, SRO, Micky Thompson, International Speedway Corp., Speedway Motorsports and others have promoted AMA Supercross races. AMAPro Racing, after a long and deliberate review process, has simply selected a new promoter for the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship Series.
Q: What will this mean for riders, teams and sponsors involved in AMA Supercross?
A: The AMA championship has long been the most sought-after title in Supercross racing. That reputation has resulted from a number of factors, including the AMA’s 77-year history of running national championship racing programs, the AMA’s 27 years of developing the Supercross concept, the commitment made by motorcycle manufacturers to showcase their products in this series, and the exceptional level of talent brought to this series by riders from the United States and overseas. All of those factors have combined to make the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship Series not just one of the most exciting forms of motorsports on earth, but also a great opportunity for sponsors looking to promote their products to an enthusiastic audience.
We expect this partnership to enhance every element of that previous success, meaning that the AMA U.S. Supercross Championship Series will offer greater opportunities for riders to develop into internationally recognized stars, for manufacturers to demonstrate the technical proficiency built into their machines, and for sponsors to be connected with racing at the most professional level.
Q: You note that the new partners at JamSports have a long history of developing the careers of musical artists. How can this experience and skill benefit a Supercross competitor?
A: Building and enhancing careers is just as vital for artists as it is for Supercross racers. JamSports’ expertise in increasing exposure for musical artists such as Tom Petty can be applied to the stars of AMA Supercross. Jam will work with the riders’ managers to develop plans benefiting individual racers and the entire sport.
Q: What effect will this partnership have on the television package for Supercross racing?
A: AMA Pro Racing and JamSports are hard at work on a new television package that dramatically increases exposure for the sport. We expect to significantly increase the television fan base and, as a result, improve the public awareness of our sport and its riders.
Q: Will that new package include pay-for-view events, or do you anticipate securing airtime on broadcast and cable networks?
A: With our anticipated television package announcement, there will be no need for fans to pay to watch AMA Supercross on TV.