A Very Interesting Press Release: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Speaks Out On Austin MotoGP Announcement

Shortly after the announcement that the track currently being built in Austin, Texas is to host the MotoGP series from 2013 onwards, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway press office issued a press release. It makes fascinating reading, more for what they don't say that what they do. The tone, however, is encouraging. Here's the official press release:


INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - A statement from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus about the announcement April 12 by Dorna Sports that a MotoGP World Championship event will take place at the circuit under construction in Austin, Texas, starting in 2013:

"We're pleased to learn of the addition of another MotoGP event to the United States. This can only help elevate the profile in America of this thrilling form of motorsport, which will benefit all existing MotoGP races in this country and enhance the global prestige of the World Championship. We're committed to the growth of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP and motorcycle road racing in the United States."


2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets: 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP tickets are on sale now.

To buy tickets, visit www.imstix.com, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. Ticket office and phone hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

The 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 26-28 at IMS.

Race Day general admission tickets cost $40, with Friday general admission $10 and Saturday general admission $20. A three-day general admission ticket is $60. A Friday-Saturday general admission ticket is $25.

Children ages 12 and under will be admitted free any of the three days of the event when accompanied by an adult with a general admission ticket.

Race Day reserved seat prices will start at $70.


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Read between the lines

It is interesting, especially the timing which takes a little thunder from Austin. Indy is making it known they want to host MotoGP for many more years. What's up with Laguna Seca? I know Monterey citizens are fighting to limit the amount of racing venues at Laguna. Hmmm.

Laguna Seca has a contract in effect through 2014. And I hope that it comes many years after that. Laguna Seca has become a yearly pilgrimage for me and my friends.

Also, didn't Yamaha spent a significant amount of money (as well as extend a contract) with Laguna Seca? I realize that they have a decent stake in AMA racing, but wouldnt it be in their best interest to push the premier class there as well?

As long as people say, "Moto-What?!" when you tell them you aren't going out to the bar because you have to get up at 3:00 am to watch four hours of live racing in the Czech Republic, there is a lack of exposure for the sport. Winning in a small or shrinking market is no real victory. I think in terms of growing the US fan base 75,000 people at 3 televised events is better than 200,000 at 2 televised events.

Can we get 75,000 people to 3 GPs?

Laguna and Indy have, in the past, posted more than that but with the economy as it is and expected to be for a while, can we expect that level of attendance?

Perhaps the fact that it is 1100 miles (1800km) between Austin and Indy and both at about 2000 miles (3200km) from Laguna Seca will help.

I just used those numbers for illustration, but maybe even a total lower number like 60K at three televised events would be better for exposure if the frequency increases. I think even a US F1 race will help to increase the familiarity of the words 'Grand Prix'. I think the key number would be to increase the number of unique and first time visitors. If a person wanted to really enjoy a race, watching on TV is better. The visit to an actual race is just a unique and powerful experience to get people interested in all the other races of the season.

In 2010 there were 51,436 people at Laguna Seca on race day (116,488 total for the weekend) and 62,794 people at Indianapolis on race day (136,184 total for the weekend).
For comparison, at Jerez there were 123,750 people at the last GP on race day and an average of roughly 85,000 people on race day and 200,000 people on the weekend at rounds in Europe.

Will Austin dilute or boost these low attendance numbers?

I doubt there would be more than 3 US rounds after 2012, too many new tracks to race, new countries to visit, new markets to enter.

Plus the Japanese sales numbers in the US or Europe are peanuts compared to what they sell in Asia.
Las year Honda sold almost 18 million bikes worldwide, 192 000 in the US, 258 000 in Europe (+ Africa + Middle East) and more than 14 millions in Asia (without China and Japan). Even if the benefits per bike are larger for US and Europe sales, they are not 100 times larger, Asia is clearly where they make their money.

The part of Asian sponsoring in GP is growing more and more (Air Asia, Petronas, Yamaha Indonesia, Astra Honda Motor (Honda Indonesia)...) and this is where the GP are heading towards. For example MotoGP is huge in Indonesia, not remotely comparable to what it is in the US (on average 1 million viewers for each GP), 1.5 million bikes sold each year.

Attendance statistics on http://www.motoracereports.com
Honda sales figures on http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/news/honda-global-sales-2010

Though I think that a 3rd GP in the US is not the best idea.

I would like MotoGP to be more popular in my own country and I'm a bit sad to see that MotoGP is not popular in the US neither. It's a shame, especially when you've had great riders, world champions, more famous in Europe than in their own country. And there are still very talented riders such as Spies...however he probably likes to be able to hang around unnoticed in Texas.
All in all I'm just trying to put things into perspective, and my perspective may be different ;-)

MotoGP needs to grow and needs to stay in the US. Austin looks like a wonderful facility and the participation of Schwantz gives it instantaneously lots of credibility. Indianapolis was a brilliant idea, take MotoGP to a legendary place where motorsports are very popular, that should work. However I am not sure it is, the attendance numbers are constantly decreasing since the opening GP, I don't remember but IIRC the MotoGP race is not broadcasted on a mainstream channel anymore...

My point is that most people seem to overestimate the popularity of MotoGP in the US and the importance of the US market on the worldwide scale (yes, Europe and the US do not mean much compared to the Asian market, with the exception of European manufacturers). Most comments revolve around the fact that Indianapolis or Laguna Seca grandstands are that big that they make the crowd seem small...
The fact of the matter is that attendance to GP in the US are amongst the lowest of the year (Qatar does not even worth mentioning for that) and that GP only air on SpeedTV (they beat Eurosport on the commercial/race ratio and it's quite a performance, delay the race by 15 min although they are able to air it live...), I don't have the numbers but I remember that the TV figures are (proportionally) ridiculous.

There is an upside to all that, it's that people in the US who care about MotoGP do care a lot about it, since it's so much underrated you have to be a fanatic to follow it.
I've been to Laguna Seca myself, lucky enough to find the track completely open and not under surveillance one evening, went walking on the track, I had goose bumps, took pictures at the corkscrew, it was magic! I doubt I would have been able to enter Mugello, Jerez or Le Mans in the same way, no idea what was going on at that time.

I understand that one way to grow the sport would be to multiply the number of events in the US but in my opinion it's not the way to go, simply I don't believe that the overall audience for MotoGP in the US would change much because of another event in the country.
On the other hand I believe that they should focus on making 2 US rounds more popular and I firmly believe that a GP in a country where MotoGP is popular such as Indonesia (people are crazy about MotoGP over there!), maybe India or even South America would have a much bigger impact on the global audience of the sport we love.

I think this has more to do with making the races more accessible to more people in the US. Assuming by your name that you are indeed French, Ill use France since you brought it up before.

France is a very properly shaped country. What I mean is that you are a closer to a square than a rectangle compared to the US. France lies barely in 2 time zones. The majority is in 1 time zone. The continental US lies very definitively in 4 different zones. From the simple google mapping I did, it seems that there is no part of France that is more than 12 hours by car from Le Mans. The farthest city I used was Cannes and I would expect them to go to San Marino. I think its closer. I didnt take into account your public transport system because I dont know any specifics.

From my town, its also 12 hours to Indy. Thats one of the major things that prevent me from going. If there was something more in the North Eastern part of the US, say Watkins Glen... Then Id be more inclined to go.

You guys also have on your boarders Germany, Italy, and Spain. With San Marino close and even the British GP accessible if you want to do the hike. You have 6 GPs directly over your boarders and a few more with a little bit more travel. Im not going to pretend I know how easy it is to travel around Europe. Ive never been so I dont know. But with 7, maybe 8 GPs within reach, you can pick and choose and plan many different vacations. Heck, a different one each year for almost a decade! I have a 12 hour drive to Indy... And thats it. Or I can go to Laguna for 5 hours on a plane, then some more driving, oh I forgot the part where I get groped by a high school drop out on a power trip who works for the TSA. And let me tell you, it was a NIGHTMARE getting out. We had some cops telling up to lane split and then other pulling us over for lane splitting, even though its perfectly legal to lane split in California. It was just a nightmare.

I guess my ultimate point is that while France only has 1 GP, its such a centrally located country that it has access to almost half of the GP races. Where as in the US they are very spread out.

Obviously these 3 GP in the US will be fairly well positioned, serving 3 different areas and maximizing the potential attendance without competing directly against each other.

For sure in Europe it's much easier to attend to different GP, this is why for example Sachsenring is important, not only MotoGP is very popular in the eastern part of Germany but also lots of peoples would come from eastern Europe. This is also why Brno is so popular, many people from various countries attend it.

It's also correct that it doesn't take more than 12 hours to travel across France. 12 hours from my hometown I can go to Le Mans, Valencia, Catalunya, Aragon, Estoril, Mugello, Misano or even Silverstone. Wow, I never realized I was that spoiled until now. I will just correct you on the fact that France is in 1 time zone (the same than our neighbors Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and others).

Clearly I overlooked the travel distances within the US but I guess my point still stands that a first GP in South America (Argentina?) or a second one in southeast Asia (Indonesia?) would draw more people to the track and more globally to the sport than a third GP in the US. Abu Dhabi would bring lots of money to the sport and India a huge market. In the end it depends if Dorna and the FIM are ready to expand the calendar over 18 GP a year and/or how many current rounds they are ready to drop (Indianapolis, Brno and Sachsenring would be the first at risk).

1) I just looked at a map yesterday and it showed France in 2 time zones. Interesting. Who would have thought you cant believe a map? I guess you guys just ignore it, which isnt uncommon. Our 4 arent drawn on the exact lines either. This makes my point even more valid I think. I take your word for it since you know... You are there.

2) The reason they havent put races in South America or Africa or more in Asia is because those places arent willing to spend the money to increase their safety or build a track to hold people. Phakisa in South Africa only holds 60k people. And the track in Brazil was demolished for Rio's Olympic bid. The China experiment was a failure because of the govt action. While it may increase visibility, the question is do the countries in question want the visibility? The US wants to invest money in MotoGP. We want to have races. While other countries may have the want, they dont have the money and the means to build. Look at what happened to Balatonring. Started in 2008, scheduled for 2010 and it still isnt done.

Indy has a one year deal to host the GP, I'm guessing that this round will be gone by 2013. I don't expect 3 US rounds.

Hasn't Indy lost money, and wasn't last year's crowd smaller than the year of the hurricane? Many people reported the crowd as very small last year.

First off, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not in the business of losing money on anything. The Red Bull GP makes money. Let me assure you of that. Perhaps not a lot, but it's incremental. The only hang up is title sponsor. As long as Red Bull is interested, I think you will see an Indy MotoGP round.

Second, reading between the lines, why isn't the Texas MotoGP event running in 2012? Answer: Because if will be running in the SPRING, and he track won't be ready until SUMMER 2012. So the first Moto GP will be SPRING 2013.

Austin, Texas, is damn near Mexico from a climate standpoint. So I would imagine that Dorna is looking at this site as one of the "Pre-europe" sites. Perhaps in March or early April. You could not race either Indy or Laguna Seca that early in the year.

This would be much more politically stable than some of the other pre-europe sites. Texans are rowdy, but there has not been a revolution there since the 1840s.

So this is my view of the schedule for 2013 in the US:


Texas MotoGP as one of the races in the opening "Fly-away" series, perhaps the second race after the opener in Qatar.


Laguna Seca followed by an open week followed by Indy. Or the reverse. That way the March race could be used as a promotion for when the Circus comes back to California and Indianapolis.


What country is the biggest single market for Ducati? What country is the most profitable market for Yamaha and Honda?

... and I have no proof on the subject either way. That said, I've never been able to understand how such a MASSIVE facility can live on only 3 events annually.

So, if there's any hope for MotoGP staying at Indy long term, I think it'd be because Indy would likely do anything to avoid only having 2 events a year.

No need to worry. Indy is over 100 years old. It's been paid for many years now.

When all your bills are small your profits are very, very good.

You could run Laguna anytime during the season, however with the weather as nice as it usually is in July (barring '06) why not run it then when everywhere else is dead of winter (southern hemishpere) or stupid hot (northern hemisphere)?

Besides running it the same weekend as the CA rodeo allows all of the hotels within 50 miles of Salinas/Laguna to collude knowing every room will be rented and gouge customers, thus making 4-6x their normal rates.

Is to stay in Monterey and take a helicopter in.

But besides that, camping is the way to go. The Salinas hotel experience leaves a lot to be desired. So much fun.

Hagetaka - Yamaha invested in Laguna Seca specifically for MotoGP. It was their money that built the new runoff areas required to host MotoGP.

While the fees are stiff to host an event, Laguna MotoGP has been the biggest spectator draw on the Monterey Peninsula since 2005. That includes their PGA tour event at Pebble. I don't think SCRAMP will be hurt by Austin.

I like the idea of a spring round at Austin. Seems like they still suffer bad weather, though. Late April or early May could be good...

I hope Indy keeps the event. I have no idea if anybody on this site can 'assure us' that the Indy MotoGP is a money maker, but it must come close with their sponsorships. Hopefully an early Austin event can cause more of us to visit Indy. I was there for the hurricane race and enjoyed myself more then I ever expected. It's a good place to watch the racing up close and personal. The rider's seem to like it, and the Indy Mile is Saturday night! How great a race weekend is that?

Three events isn't too much. I'm in Boston. I could make Indy and Austin easy. If I was in Denver, I could make all three. If I was in LA, I'd ride to Laguna and fly to Austin. I say bring it on!

I am laughing for ONE reason.

OK, it's more than one reason, but the main reason is because of the CATACLYSMIC ignorance that permeates so many parts of the (ostensibly) educated world concerning Texas. I say this mostly regarding the slagging and mud slinging that took place on jamesallenonf1.com when the F1 race was announced. Texas? Don't they ride horses? Don't they all carry guns and wear belts festooned with bullets? Those cowboys don't have a CLUE what F1 (or MotoGP) is!


There's a TON of F1 fans in the USA, and in Texas. Texas is centrally located, not only for the USA, but yes, also for Central America and South America. Time zone-wise, it is also a good balance between the East and Left coasts in the USA. Texas also happens to be the 11th biggest economy on Earth.

Austin has a TON of "only"s to its name, and I know so much about it NOT from reading articles about it, but from the fact that I've lived in the Austin metroplex for years. For a sampling, it's the only place that will have a dedicated F1/MotoGP road course located five minutes from an international airport and 15 minutes from a major metropolis. It's the only city with 3 of the 10 biggest US cities within 180 miles. Austin has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the USA. Austin is home to world headquarters or major hubs of Dell Computers, IBM, 3M, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, AMD, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Intel, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, and Sun Microsystems. Most importantly, Austin is a BEAUTIFUL city in a BEAUTIFUL region of Texas (Hill Country), and it's also the "Live Music Capital of the World", in more than just title. It really is. Stevie Ray Vaughan was only one of the luminaries of the music world to come out of Austin... Any night on 6th Street (THE epicenter of the music scene in Austin) is a night to remember, provided you DO remember it the next morning... :)

Perhaps the best part about the Austin race, (for me and my buddies, anyway) is the fact that I have a house on a hilltop in New Braunfels, which is about 30 minutes from the Circuit of the Americas. This house overlooks all of New Braunfels and the Comal River, has about 100 feet of river front on the windowpane-clear waters of the Comal, has truly peerless Largemouth Bass fishing, and is two miles from one of THE premier dealerships of Italian two-wheeled exotica in the USA (owned by two LONG-time friends).

It is there where I will be staying for the 2013 MotoGP race...along with at least one (and maybe more) of my friends here in the MM community.

There's also the fact that, along with all the aforementioned amenities, we have literally thousands of miles of twisty, challenging, fantastic roads...roads packed with elevation changes and jaw-dropping scenery...available for us to explore via primo machinery and cheap(ish) petrol.

Am I excited about the Austin race? Ummm...I'll have to put in my vote for "YES!" I HATED that it was a Tilke track at first, but seeing the layout, design, and elevation changes changed my mind. I find it reminiscent of Spa, amongst others...and that's good.

p.s. For any of you planning on attending, I would like nothing more than to be of whatever assistance I can be. We can disagree all we want about racing issues, but hospitality and helping others is something that Texans put above almost ALL other things. Whether you "hate me" here on MM or not makes no difference to the fact that I'll go out of my way to help you should you decide to pay a visit to this humble little piece of real estate called "Texas"...

Someone get this man a job selling race series on Circuit of Americas! You are like the Don King of racetracks! ONLY IN AUSTIN TX!!!

As if I didnt want to go enough as it is, this man just sold me from I want to go, to I MUST go!

...a one-off when it comes to my views on the race and possible "guests" for it, but I AM one with a big soap box from which to proclaim how MANY of us in Texas feel about not only the race, but how we will treat our "guests" if/when they decide to come!

Texans have a LOT of pride about where they live...because...they should! :) No, Texas isn't "better" than any other country (many Texans refer to Texas as a "Nation") It's just a place that has a lot of beauty and a lot of fun...and a lot of folks who are very hospitable to perfect strangers.

The fact that the races are going to be in Austin couldn't be any better for many reasons, but look up "Hill Country", and you'll see that Austin is a part of the most beautiful area of Texas. It's an area about the size of England, and it has a relatively LOW cost of living, friendly people, cheap petrol, MUCH cheaper prices on the same bikes as elsewhere on earth, friendly people, incredible scenery, TONS of great riding on thousands of miles of lightly-trafficked roads, and did I mention the FRIENDLY PEOPLE? :)

Texans are more than just outspoken, frank, honest-to-a-fault, confident, proud, and (occasionally seemingly) arrogant people; they are (often) larger-than-life people from a truly larger-than-life place. And yes, I DO take all of my friends (from Europe, Japan, and elsewhere) hunting or target shooting if they request to do so. It's quite a shock for most of them to find that guns don't have red, scaly skin, forked tails, and horns. They are also gobsmacked that punching holes in pieces of paper from great distances does NOT, in fact, cause great harm and bloodshed. In fact, all of them (thus far) have turned out to be quite proficient in punching holes in said pieces of paper with concentric circles printed on them.

The race track is going to be a GREAT one, and the race won't be the only lasting memory of the occasion. As many of you who can possibly come, please do so. I (and my friends) will do what we can to make it enjoyable.

with Mr Belskus' assertion that having three G.P's in the USA will "enhance the global prestige of the World Championship". 3 in America, 4 in Spain and a couple in the oily desert. There's half the world championship right there.

Im not going to look up the numbers exactly, but I bet that if you totaled the populations from the US, Spain, the oily desert countries and Asia, you should have close to half the worlds population. If you include China and India, you have a 1/3 of it already...

Also, if the rest of the world, sans the US and Arab world, already hold the championship in high prestige, increasing its value in places like the US and Arab(low value) countries does add to the overall "Global" prestige. Unless we arent part of the globe anymore...

USA Spain and the Arabian peninsula would amount to around 400m of a Global population of 6 bn! Don't know why you bolstered that fact with 'Asia'.

I'm not sure the rest of the world holds G.P in high prestige - most couldn't care less I dare say. The oily desert populace seems somewhat less than enamoured with the whole show. Their perceived prestige comes from the autocrats that run their shows.

China and India and perhaps other South East Asian countries are certainly countries that should have G.P's if the political will is there. From my motorcycle travels through Asia G.P's are popular (certainly in S.E Asia).

I just think the love should be shared around. But hey if Uncle Sam can run three good, highly attended G.P's then it's hard to argue against. Certainly this is one of the points in favour of Spanish venues.

In order to gain exposure in the US, Dorna NEEDS to contract with ESPN for Sportscenter coverage and they need to get Speed TV to promote the events. It would take all of 30 seconds to 1 minute to cover a couple good looking passes, a crash if it happens and the podium shot with the results on the side of the screen on ESPN. There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. There can be no more than 15 games a day because of this. Somehow, ESPN manages to fill 44 minutes of air time in the summer with all things baseball. Its too much. And I LOVE baseball. Sportscenter in the early-mid 90s was a great place to catch all the scores and highlights of almost every kind of sport. They covered F1, Champ Car, CART, NASCAR, MLB, NBA, NHL, XGames, MLS, even fishing tournaments! Now its like sports talk radio and we need to analyse this and that and speculate on this or that... Who cares? Thats what the sport specific shows like "Baseball Tonight" are for. In-depth analysis. I can miss the analysis show now because I know they will talk about 90% of it on the general show the next day anyway. Shut up and show the scores and the results. Why are we discussing what is going on at the NASCAR track on Wednesday when the race isnt until Sunday? Did someone die? No? Oh Jeff Gordon is dropping the PSi in his tires by one half of one percent. Oh that was news worthy! Save it for NASCAR Tonight or what used to be called "RPM 2Day." But since its only NASCAR now thats a pointless title. And again, I like NASCAR. Im not a NASCAR hater. But enough is enough.

I can understand why its tough right now because you have hockey playoffs, basketball playoffs, and the start of baseball season. Thats a lot of games to cram into an hour. But these races are once a week, every other week or so. I find it hard to believe that 18-36 minutes(1-2 minutes of coverage a week) a YEAR in totality is tough to find. Its not. I know this because they are finding time to show Cricket scores. Cricket? I mean I know its for the growing Indian population in the US, but I would think that race fans would out number that specific population.

It is not a question of getting on a major TV deal. Speed reaches 77 million homes. For contrast, ESPN and ESPN2 are just under 100 million. For a niche channel thats really damn good.

Im actually wondering if NASCAR was smart enough to protect its viewership interest and has a contract with ESPN that says they are only racing to be mentioned on Sportscenter. I mean there is no mention of any other racing on SC except NASCAR. No F1, no CART or whatever they are no, no NHRA drag racing, no AMA dirt or street. No nothing.

You can not expect word of mouth to push your figures up in a new or under exposed market. Yes it will do a little bit, but there needs to be advertising and promotion.

Building a fan base is about creating an emotional connection. Im not sure how to do this part. One of the major reasons why the traditional big 4 in the US do so well is because not only are people fans of the players themselves, but also the the teams they play for. Take the New York Yankees for example. They are an organization steeped in tradition, hall of fame players, World Championships and stupid and silly rules that make them the New York Yankees. As a fan, I know all of the traditions and silly rules. Like no long hair, no beards, and no sideburns. But moustaches are ok. They have more players in the HOF than any other team in baseball and they have more Championships than any other team in professional sports with 27. Now that Ive rambled, my point is simply that no matter who plays for the Yankees, Im always going to be a fan and always watch and attend their games. Even if they stink. The players I grew up watching will get old, and they will retire, but I will still be a fan and I will still watch. Where as in MotoGP and most modern racing, its about the players or driver/rider. My favorite rider is Nicky Hayden. When he was on a Honda, I was a Honda guy. Now that its Ducati, Im somewhat of a Ducati guy. I know that the marquees have done this around the world, especially in Italy. But it needs to be done here in the US as well. When Nicky retires am I going to be as interested in GP racing as I was? Probably not. This is one of the problems that Dorna has. If there is no rider or marquee that piques your interest, why are you watching?

if highlights of MotoGP were shown on ESPN (i.e. shown in most of the bars and cafeterias in the country) a much broader audience would be "exposed" to MotoGP, which can only be good for the sport.
Honestly it's amazing the number of screens on which you can see ESPN during a regular day, you don't even need to turn on your TV!
Sadly SpeedTV and ESPN don't belong to the same media group so there could be some kind of exclusivity issues.

I thought about that but honestly, it doesnt make any sense. Speed is owned by News Corp, and ESPN by Walt Disney Corp. But ESPN shows highlights from MLB when it is broadcast on Fox and also on the regional Fox SportsNet channels for teams that dont have a "dedicated" channel like YES for the Yankees or NESN for the BoSux. ESPN also shows highlights from TBS, NBC, ABC(owned by Disney) CBS and other major networks that arent owed by Disney. Its a choice they are making.

Unless there is a deal with NASCAR. I also wouldnt surprised if Dorna itself is behind it. They probably want more money for the clip rights on ESPN or something stupid and greedy like that. There is no financial loss right now. ESPN isnt paying you for them. Take the hit, even pay ESPN if you have to, gain the visibility, then return with some leverage. Thats how I would run any of the big 4, NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA. 1 large fee for the full game rights and another package and rate to ESPN for highlights and clips. But if I was trying to gain exposure, Id offer them at a drastically reduced cost, possibly even free. And if I wanted to really increase my visibility, id consider paying them a fee if I had to.

ESPN would GREATLY increase the visibility of the sport and thats the first step in gaining recognition. People have to see you before they recognize you.

You are right though. You walk into a bar, doctors office, waiting room, gym, you can find ESPN tuned in almost anywhere you go at least once a day.

I have seen a clip of motogp on the intro to SportsCenter twice, once last year with a clip from Rossi's gyrocam and this year on the sunday of Qatar they had Dovi going into turn 1. It shocked me.

I'm new here, but have ridden for 30 years and been to Austin on a bike 4 times to visit family and I will say this.

Austin is heaven. Friendly people, lovely terrain, 6th Street, the lovely coeds of University of Texas, it's the state capital, you name it, I could go on forever. Oh BBQ, don't forget that. I have been many places in the US and Austin and Portland are wonderful communities. Austin also has HISTORY in spades. Well, history for a couple hundred years. Texas was their own country and they are PROUD of that, yet not boastful. GO THERE! It has this wonderful redneck/urban sophisticate cachet that is hard to describe till you visit. Hill Country is wonderful also. Dallas sucks, Houston is a buggy, muggy hellhole, AUSTIN RULES, nothing left to say. I live in Peoria and have been to Indy every year, it's a great event and Indy isn't a bad town (go to Broad Ripple!) but Austin ,,,