Published January 14, 2014
The PBR and AEG today announced that they have partnered to create the PBR Velocity Tour, a new bull riding series that will begin its inaugural season on March 14. PBR COO Sean Gleason said that the new series will reach 16-18 U.S. markets that the company’s leading circuit, the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS), has not regularly visited, such as Minneapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City. Many of the venues will be new and existing AEG facilities, he added, but the new series will also include events in non-AEG arenas. A key difference between the Velocity Tour and PBR’s Touring Pro Division events, which are also part of the qualification system for the BFTS, is that all the Velocity Tour events will be wholly owned, produced and operated by PBR, rather than sanctioned events. Gleason said, “Brand control is definitely a critical component of the strategy behind this tour.” If a particular market proves promising, he noted, PBR in consultation with AEG could move a BFTS show into that location and move the Velocity Tour event to a different site. The new tour will not be broadcast on CBS or CBS Sports Network as the BFTS is, but select events will be shown on PBR Live, a new CBS Interactive digital broadcast platform. Gleason said that the success of the eight PBR-branded bars across the country played a role in choice of sites for Velocity Tour events, including the inaugural event in Hampton Roads, Va. He acknowledged that while the Velocity Tour will sometimes feature BFTS riders, the tour’s focus is on bringing up-and-coming riders to less-served markets. Gleason said, "We’re not approaching this that all of these events are going to be as big as the Built Ford Tough Series events in the first year of the tour. We’re building a foundation." PBR Exec VP/Sales & Partnerships Terry Bassett said while there are no sponsors currently lined up for the tour, Ford and PBR have been in discussions on the matter. He added that PBR also is in talks with other potential Velocity Tour sponsors and is seeking a title sponsor.