Supercross relaunches as global rival to GPs and WSB

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Supercross aims to rival Moto GP and WSB now that American-owned Clear Channel Entertainment has joined forces with Dorna to promote the world championship.

Clear Channel is the company promoting the American supercross series – the biggest bike sport series in the US. Dorna holds the promotional rights to Moto GP and all the major off-road world championships.

Imagine a dozen or so countries, around the world, all hosting a supercross title round in their own huge national stadiums with 50-60,000 airhorn-weilding fans going mental as riders like Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana do battle 30 foot in the air.

Clear Channel Entertainment, formerly known as SFX, is one of the world’s leading promoters and marketer of live entertainment, promoting over 26,000 events annually including rock concerts, theatrical performances and major sporting events including golf, tennis as well as motorsport events.

It also represents over 200 athletes including basketball stars Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, golfer Greg Norman, tennis star Andre Agassi and Manchester United’s David Beckham.

The fact that a company with that sort of portfolio is interested in supercross immediately legitimises a sport that has lacked credibility on this side of the Atlantic.

CCE and Dorna have been in discussion for some 18 months, but the American company established a supercross foothold in Europe when it bought the rights to UKSX last year.

The UKSX series comes to a close next weekend at the London Arena, Docklands and has all the trappings of a made-for-TV climax with both the open and 125cc championships going to the wire.

While we don’t have the plush American-style facilities, CCE has used its experience to improve the presentation of the shows. They’ve also extended the championship tour to take in five cities with two nights of racing in Belfast, and the final in London added to the regular Birmingham, Cardiff and Exeter rounds. And there’s more to come next year.

Spanish company Dorna has owned the promotional rights to MotoGP road racing since 1992. In 2001 it expanded it’s bike interests include all the major off-road world championships and its TV package of these championships extends to 112 countries.

Most of Dorna’s championships are successful series in their own right except supercross. Neither the FIM nor Action Group, the company which held the promoting rights to outdoor world motocross prior to Dorna’s take over, managed to make world supercross work.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO and managing director of Dorna said: ” Clear Channel Entertainment’s Supercross has long been recognised as the premier supercross series. Dorna is very pleased to work with Clear Channel to help bring supercross to the global marketplace and to the next level.

Charlie Mancuso, President of Clear Channel Entertainment’s motor sports division, added: ” We have dreamed of elevating our supercross series from a domestic championship to one that is worldwide. Realising that dream could not have been possible without partners like the FIM and Dorna. We are excited about taking supercross to the next level by promoting the FIM Supercross World Championship. ”

London Arena has its own Docklands Light Railway station which is 20 seconds walk away. If you’re going by bike or car, exit the M25 at the A20 if you’re coming from the south, use the M11 and A13 if you’re starting in the north and west or take the Limehouse Link if you’re coming from central London. The Arena will be signposted from all of those. Advance tickets, including booking fee, cost £28.50 for adults and £19.10 for under-15s. Contact: 08705-121212

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff