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Marketing through Motorsports
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As a new organizer (Perforce Software Rally Sprint and Rally Cross, www.WidgetRacing.com/sms) I'm beginning to understand all the work that the big time folks do, even though I don't have 1/10th of the things to do that they've got on their plates.

I'm also reading about some events that are being directed to "go pro."

My question is this: why would an organizer want to put on a pro event instead of a club event?

From a business perspective I'd have to assume that the greater risks imply greater rewards, but is it something else? Personal satisfaction or its twin brother Ego? Contributing to the sport? Wealth and fame?

Just curious.... I have tremendous admiration for the people who put on rallies these days and am thankful I have a place to play.

[hr]

[p align=right]John Dillon
John @ WidgetRacing.com
www.WidgetRacing.com
 

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Local communities don't care about exposure. They care about motel room nights. Sponsors care about exposure. I hope Simpson Land is getting something for them allowing land use. Organizers get more headaches. Some hope to grow the event into a money maker for either them selves or the local SCCA region.
Richard
 

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>Local communities don't care about exposure. They care about
>motel room nights.

Exposure and hotel nights are linked. You don't fill as many hotel rooms by bringing a small number of local teams to a club event, as you do bringing the whole national circus to town, with sponsors and spectators.

Some local communities do care about the exposure, especially if they have a tourist economy or want to develop one.


> ... I hope
>Simpson Land is getting something for them allowing land
>use.

I doubt they get anything directly. I suspect it's a more of a back-scratching thing with the town of Shelton. Good corporate citizen facilitates bringing all this business to town. Town supports the company on resource management & environmental issues. That's certainly the approach we've taken when working with other forest companies. Make the town grateful to the company for them letting the rally bring additional business to the town. That tends to work best in smaller communities where those ties are close.


> ... Organizers get more headaches. Some hope to grow the
>event into a money maker for either them selves or the local
>SCCA region.

OK, I nearly fell off my chair reading that. Are there any bona fide money making events in the US or Canada?

I know that our approach with the Pacific Forest Rally was to try to make the tecnhical side of the event (insurance, volunteer expenses, route planning, printing etc.) break even on entry fees, and then raise sponsorships to cover things like posters, spectator guides, prizes, banquet etc.

If we had raised an additional $40K in sponsorships, the event wouldn't have made a $35K profit, it would have had a bigger prize fund, more spectator guides, PA systems for the spectator areas, jemba notes, etc, etc. And we would probably have still ended up losing money.

To the original question, why do we do it? I guess there's a fine line between volunteerism and masochism.
 

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>My question is this: why would an organizer want to
>put on a pro event instead of a club event?

A question I ask myself with increasing frequency...

Ben
 

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- Money!
- Fame!
- Girls.......Yes, there used to be "groupies" around....

- John, you could be the new John Nagel. You can put the pen on a paper, come along with all kind of folk and you're broad minded individual (road racing back ground, etc).

- John Nagel of Washington put up The BEST rallies I've been to.
- Examples:
- FRONTIER Nevada Rally. $ 10 000 CASH price in silver coins! Lavish parties, cheap rooms at the Frontier Casino & Hotel. This rally was won by 5-time Canadian Champion - Taisto Heinonen - in a Corolla 152E 16V.
- Second, and the best rally I've been to in the US (sorry - even if I was there WA WRC rallies can not hold a candle...), example of John Nagel's magic touch:
- First RENO INTERNATIONAL RALLY (after this others took over and it went belly-up).
- 100+ (I think) entries. $ 12 000 CASH price in silver dollars! Won by So African Sarel van Merwe (his son is up-and-coming F3 road racer in Europe now) in an Escort RS1800. There was a Marlboro World Team member from Norway (TR8) and entries from Ireland (Sweet sounding Blybenstein Chevette 16V - same car Pentti Airikkala run at 1000-Lakes), Canada, England, Japan, NZ, Sweden, Finland and Peru.
- Every evening John Nagel through a party. Every night!! 3-nights in a row. And it was NOT in a basement nor in a cafeteria, no - it was in a beautiful ballroom!
- One night I ended eating goose liver, lox, lobster tails and crackers, flushed down with a half dozen of Heinekens, with a famous rally writer Satch Carlson (SAAB Sonett V4)under a table...no standing room anywere.....
- Boy, that was a Golden Time of the US rallying...
- We also had other fancy pre-rally parties:
- Once John Nagel had this horse training facility with horse trainer GIRLS in tight shorts and tight bikini tops meeting as with a Texas size HUGE barbeque!! That was a party... All FREE, of course.
- You see; when you went to John Nagel's rally YOU, the RALLYIST, were THE STAR - NOT the organizers.... This may have been his first pre-WRC Olympus?
- He always had fancy parties before and during the rally, fancy award seremonies with real good food (If you've seen "John of old" you could tell he likes food....), CASH prices ( there was a rule - 80% of entry fees MUST be paid back!!),90+ entries, colorful personaties, good sponsors, great roads and nice local ladies "wanting to get to know rallyists"...

- Oh, well....times change...but at least I had a good fortune to be part of the beast time of the US rallying

- Thank you John Nagel for all this. You're the best so far.

- John Dillon - please, take a challenge and be our new, great promoter like John Nagel used to be!! And DON'T be shy to make MONEY. If it's worth, we'll pay to play....
 

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>Are there any
>bona fide money making events in the US or Canada?

I highly doubt it...but there could be.

The issue goes back to the age old question of "do we want spectators or don't we?" If an event wanted to make money...and offer a return to the workers, organizers, and even the competitors...they would need another body (or bodies) than just the organizer. They would also need a PROMOTER.

I think our current organizers have grown from the grassroots rallyhappy side of rallying...alot of them from days of TSD. What it takes to be a good rally organizer and what it takes to be a good event promoter are not likely the same qualities.

So let's say we have an event that has a great Organizing staff...and they work together with a great Promoting staff. Voila, you have notoriety and recognition, and with it will come sponsors and local benefactors and news coverage and tons and tons of spectators and...

...oops. Weren't ready for that, were we? Now we have a spectator "issue." We have roads closed due to too many drunks on them (after all, we drink beer and smoke Winstons when we watch racin'...its the Amurican thang to do.)

Read the drifting thread. It is taking some rally skills, adding flash, and cellophane wrapping it for easy consumption at a prepackaged venue. Yay! It is to rally what X games is to motocross. (BTW, XGames competitions are far more popular now than the motocross series...Metzger couldn't last one moto when he was racing.) If we can't learn to handle spectators, we won't ever be big.

In my opinion, of course.


edit--atroshus speling
 

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Some hope to grow the
>>event into a money maker for either them selves or the local
>>SCCA region.
>
>OK, I nearly fell off my chair reading that. Are there any
>bona fide money making events in the US or Canada?
Hope is the operative word. For the region, we hoped to make $1000 with a ClubRally. Lost $1500 instead. But compared to the $40,000 lost on a Club Race, that isn't bad. For a ProRally, don't know and don't want to (as an organizer that is).

As to hoping to make money, I don't think any one wants to make millions. I have known several people that at least make enough money from rally of some sort to actually have to include it on their taxes. Unless of course, they are good accountants. :)

All sustainable events have to make enough money to cover at least the out of pocket expenses of the organizers. Or have really rich organizers. The income may not actually be from the event but from what we call "bake sales." We try to put the occasional gimmick rally for various businesses under the SCCA sanction and charge a nominal amount to not only cover the insurance but to show a profit to our Board of Directors so that they are willing to risk the cash outlay of a performance rally. Otherwise, I am financing it and I ain't that rich.
Except in name
RICHard Miller

Edited to add: Look at the purpose stated for the ARG. This sounds like they want to make money. This is a good thing if you are a Republican and want to keep it. This is also a good thing if you are a Democrat and want to tax it. (That's a joke folks) In all seriousness, if events do not make money, they go away.
 

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>My question is this: why would an organizer want to
>put on a pro event instead of a club event?

That was answered in June, a ClubRally is subject to cancellation, ProRally is not because the yellow shirts (and TV cameras) make ProRally safer. Wasn't that all made clear in the PRB's "evaluation of all performance rally operational standards?"

Jim Culp
prorallypix.com
 

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In defense of "Lil Mike Metzger". If he hadn't hurt his hips when he was still "up and coming" we might have never known the name McGrath.

"Back in the day" at age 8 he was riding a KX 60 and spanking the much bigger kids on 80s. Corona, Perris, Saddleback, Indian Dunes..... Those were the days!

Jim
 

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Okay fine. replace Metzger with Deegan, Jones, Clowers, etc. Doesn't matter. They couldn't make it in motocross. (on Deegan's one supercross win he ghostrode his bike in an immature and extremely dangerous manner to draw more attention to himself. Good riddance.)

Sure, Blair is fast in Canada, and no one questions Pastrana's talent. He is fast and is taking the jump contest money, too.

So we should take his cue and go drifting to pay for our rally efforts.
 

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>Ever had a paper cut between your fingers?

Paper cuts are generally accidental.... and they hurt. You're saying some rallies accidentally become pro and cause pain?

I've seen software like that.
 
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