What had seemed like a possible end to the 2020 season is looking like an extended break. The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series has announced their projected schedule, and Feld announced their intentions to complete the Supercross series after the outdoor series finishes. This scenario is all dependent on the COVID-19 crisis, wrapping up and not being a long-term issue.
(an optimistic schedule has been released for the Pro Motocross series)
I reached out to super-agent Lucas Mirtl, and I asked him what he thought; does he think the series will continue, and he said, "Yes, 1000%, expect a full series. Worst case (scenario) September/October/November." Lucas is about as connected to the inner circles as a person could be, and if he says the series isn't over, I trust him. He also floated some ideas about wanting to be one of the first sports to compete after the shutdown, as it would bring an unprecedented amount of attention.
(action sports super agent Lucas Mirtl on the left with BMX star Logan Martin at the X Games)
Unfortunately, Feld is a promotion company and not a media company. They make their money from ticket sales. Holding a race in an empty stadium is a risky proposition for a company that lives on ticket revenue. The benefits of racing in an empty stadium would help the entire sport along with the series sponsors. Unfortunately, Feld would be taking a considerable risk. Depending on the stadium and event costs, they might not produce immediate returns and would likely lose money. This strategy could pay dividends for Feld's television ratings and leave them in an excellent position to negotiate a more significant TV contract. If Supercross could be one of the first sports back in action, it will bring an unprecedented amount of attention, which would surely be beneficial to the overall health of Supercross. I don't envy Feld's position right now; this entire situation is unfortunate, but it's times like these when they earn the truckloads of cash they have been collecting in recent years. Doing the same old stuff and hoping for the situation to organically rectify itself is a dangerous strategy. I am not implying this is their strategy, but I am recommending they work extremely hard on updating their business plan. Most major sports leagues have been slowly transitioning from in-person events to media monetized shows.
(is filling stadiums with thousands of people a thing of the past?)
Sports like professional Football, Baseball, and the UFC profit from ticket sales, but their more substantial income is from television contracts and PPV revenue. Feld has been slow to embrace this digital world; their entire business model is based around promoting live events for the masses. They primarily use television and other media as promotional tools to sell tickets. This model has been hugely successful, but as the world changes, they will need to adapt fast!
It's possible that this COVID-19 virus has a vaccine or cure very soon, but what will be the lasting effects of this crisis? Moving forward, will ticket buyers have to maintain a social distance? Is there going to be a limited number of people allowed to attend? Will you have to get your temperature checked upon entry? Any new regulations will surely disparage people from attending live events. I think we will always have a substantial number who want to see things in person, but to ensure long term success, Feld needs to focus specifically on TV and increasing the ratings and PPV (NBC Gold) numbers. If you doubt what I am saying, pay attention to the first sport that returns to live-action, they will receive an incredible amount of attention. Being first will surely give whichever game holds an event a significant bump in viewership, now and in the foreseeable future. Hopefully, NBC and Feld can spice up the broadcasts and ensure long term success for the sport.
(can Tomac continue his winning ways in the fall?)
Here is hoping we can stop talking about the Coronavirus and more about Roczen vs. Tomac. Not sure about you guys, but quarantine isn't my favorite activity, and I hope we get some normalcy soon.