Friday, March 6, 2015

Friction between "AMA" and "AMA Pro Racing"

The other day, DMG-slash-AMA Pro Racing—in the guise of Fan's Choice—issued a press release saying that as part of the run up to the season opening GNC short track races down in Daytona, they'd broadcast the "DAYTONA Flat Track Amateur Championship".

When that phrase showed up on my monitor, I thought, Hmm it's a little early in the season for the Amateur Championship. But, I chalked it up to promoter hubris. After all, although the press release put the amateur races in the context of the AMA Pro Racing season opener, the claim was only that it was the 'Daytona' championship, not an AMA or national championship.

But within a day, the AMA issued a pissy clarification.

Through the purchase of specific professional racing assets from the AMA in 2008, the Daytona Motorsports Group acquired the right to use the AMA Pro Racing name in conjunction with specific professional motorcycle racing disciplines. Daytona Motorsports Group's use of the d/b/a "AMA Pro Racing" frequently causes confusion between Daytona Motorsports Group and the AMA, the not-for-profit 91-year-old membership association and sanctioning body. Daytona Motorsports Group is an independent for-profit company and is not governed by the AMA.  

Daytona Motorsports Group's issuance of a statement as AMA Pro Racing stating that an amateur flat track event held just prior to a professional flat track event they are promoting conveys the apparent authority to grant amateur championship status. Daytona Motorsports Group has no authority over any amateur racing activity, nor does it have the authority to designate an event an amateur championship.

I can't say that I can remember any recent incidence of such a detailed, passive-aggressive clarification of the admittedly confusing AMA-has-nothing-to-do-with-AMA-Pro-Racing arrangement. And, I was surprised when AMA Pro didn't immediately pull down the release or issue a retraction of its own.

Expect more of this kind of thing, now that the AMA is back in the pro racing sanctioning business, courtesy of MotoAmerica. Don't be mislead by the fact that MotoAmerica is asphalt-only (for now) and AMA Pro Racing is dirt only; the two are competitors for fans, sponsors, and status. And although we're all told in no uncertain terms that the deal for the Daytona 200 has nothing to do with DMG/AMA Pro, the people who own the Speedway control DMG. You can be sure this year's '200' is a burr under the MotoAmerica saddle.

One thing DMG should do, to eliminate this confusion, is drop 'AMA Pro Racing', which is a less-than-worthless trademark anyway, considering the bad memories associated with it. The only flat track trademark worth anything is 'Grand National Championship'.

The GNC is the real American motorcycle racing championship, and DMG needs to firmly re-establish it, if it's to have any hope of maintaining or improving its status. Those aren't footsteps DMG hears behind them, that's the sound of MotoAmerica's engines warming up.

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