SBJ/Dec. 6-12, 2010/This Week's Issue

New sponsors help drive supercross revenue


HOPPENWORLD

In addition to the new deals, the Monster
Energy Supercross series renewed deals with
the U.S. Air Force, Toyota, Parts Unlimited
and THQ.

The Monster Energy Supercross series has signed five new sponsors and renewed four key partners for the 2011 season, increasing its annual sponsorship revenue
5 percent to 10 percent from a year ago.

The series, a division of Feld Motor Sports, signed new agreements with DC Shoes, Smith Optics, Amsoil, Falken Tires and Traxxas, a remote-control car manufacturer. It renewed partnerships with Toyota, Parts Unlimited, U.S. Air Force and THQ, a game publisher. Terms of the agreements were not available.

The only sponsor not returning from 2010 is Spike TV. The series also is looking to add one more partner before the season that will be the presenting sponsor of the holeshot award, which recognizes the rider who gets the early lead in a race.

The additions come during a season that will be highlighted by the series’ first event at Dodger Stadium. The season opens Jan. 8 in Anaheim.

“Nobody’s going to do a handstand and say (the series is) growing 50 percent a year, but by any measure, supercross continues to have an arrow pointed up,” said Ken Hudgens, Feld’s chief operating officer.

Supercross saw attendance increase in 2010, improving to an average of 46,329 over 17 events from an average of 46,289 in 2009. On TV, it averaged 200,000 viewers over 18 broadcasts on Speed, and approximately 1 million viewers during nine hours of programming on CBS.

Hudgens said that one of Feld’s biggest priorities is improving supercross’s ratings. The series bought time on CBS on Dec. 26 to broadcast a season preview show that organizers hope will boost interest in race broadcasts throughout 2011.

The series expects promotional support from new and returning partners to help it continue to boost attendance and ratings. One of the most important new sponsors it signed is DC Shoes. The footwear brand has been active in the sport for years, but it’s typically sponsored riders and not sponsored the series.

“Our heritage in motorsports has been around the characters of the sport and we’re looking for that next chapter,” said Brian Cassaro, DC Shoes’ sports marketing director. “We’re ready to start engaging our customers, which we’ve never done before.”

Cassaro said DC Shoes will activate on-site at supercross events by setting up a tent that emphasizes the footwear brand’s history in supercross, as well as its involvement in skate, surf and BMX. It hired IMG to assist with activating its sponsorship.

Toyota’s renewal means it will remain the official vehicle and truck partner of supercross. The company, which also provides support to the Joe Gibbs Racing motocross team, estimates 15 percent of supercross fans now own or lease a Toyota.

THQ, the maker of the game “MX v. ATV,” signed on for its eighth season of sponsoring supercross. Its one-year deal is valued in the six figures, and it plans to activate in the pits with gaming consoles and giveaways.

“We would want to be there regardless of the fee,” said Michael Lustenberger, THQ’s vice president, global brand management online. “It’s a tremendous value for us.”

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