Thursday, February 6, 2014

I was wrong. #XGIceRace maybe #IsHappening

I stand corrected.

There really were only a couple of hundred tweets in the Twitter search response, when I searched the #XGIceRace hashtag.

But, Paul James corrected me, pointing out:

#XGIceRace generated more than 6,000 tweet and retweets. And after tallying media coverage from the weekend's activities in Aspen, more than 400 media outlets (mostly mainstream) covered the H-D X Games Ice Racing stunt and Street 500/750 introduction news, for a total of 34.2 million media impressions. Good result for H-D, good for the racers, good for the sport. We view it as a success. See, we can be creative…

I still wonder, though, whether ESPN was really excited. I scoured the X-Games own website and found nothing connected to the ice race. If they thought it was more than a marketing tie-in, wouldn't it be mentioned?

Harley-Davidson was onto a good thing, conceptually, introducing a model at an X-Games demonstration event. It was a rare moment when, looking at a marketing effort from the motorcycle industry I found myself thinking, "I wish I'd thought of that."

I was a little underwhelmed by the promotional video they released to the moto-media...

...but the way they'd set up their promotion, it didn't matter what I thought. What mattered were how many people Tweeted their approval of the ice racing show. Presumably, there was some threshold response that would've made ESPN consider including ice-racing as a medal event in coming years.

But using Twitter's search function for #XGIceRace (which was promoted on air, as well as heavily touted on motorcycle web sites, and by Harley itself) turns up only a couple of hundred mentions in the week following the event. I doubt if that's enough Twitter traffic to impress the X-Games, which has something like half a million followers.

Part of the wan response can be put down to the fact that H-D's existing fan base is lukewarm to the new water-cooled 500/750cc models. When it was over, there was no mention of ice-racing anywhere (that I could find) on the X-Games own website; no photos or video. Nada.

There's a ton of great ice racing, on MX-based bikes here in North America, where races are held on outdoor ovals, and indoor short tracks (in hockey arenas). There are also a few epic races held on long "road courses" plowed out of frozen lakes. Check out this helicopter view of the famous "Numb Bum" course in Alberta...'s literally and figuratively cool, eh? At the end of the day, the question is, "Should there be ice-racing at the X-Games?" The answer to that is yes, but sorry Harley, it should be this kind:

You gotta' love a race bike carrying so much lean angle that the left handlebar has to be cut way down to prevent it catching on the racing surface.

1 comment:

  1. Ice Speedway racing came to Knoxville TN about 10 years ago. I don't think it was a sellout, but the local arena where we have Southern League hockey was nearly full. Sadly, the ice racers never came back.