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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This comment was made by someone other than me. I was asked to post on his behalf.

"Why doesn't the American rallist let (NASA), along with the SCCA replacement(Rally America), who are both keen to promote the sport of rally racing in the US, privately work out the differences and come up with a solution that works for competitors and organisers alike?
From what I can see the recent forum based topics of conversation relating to this subject, started, by people who think they know it all, are doing more harm to this sport than they can imagine. Do you really think either organising body has a chance of attracting title sponsorship when at any time, prospective sponsors can log on and witness the secondhand idle chatter, which inevitably leads to public
mudslinging and irripairable hostility.

If these people stopped this poor form of public mis-communication, and spent the same amount of time in their garage working on improving the rally cars they want to race each weekend, the sport of rallying in America would witness an expotentional rate of growth for sure!!
 

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>This comment was made by someone other than me. I was asked
>to post on his behalf.


Did you forget to name the person, or did he want to post anonymously?
 

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Ryan frankly I find the fact that the sides are split to be a bit ridiculous, but hey that is the facts. The problem with getting a title sponsor is not related to internet chatter so much as nobody (SCCA are you listening) has ever been able to show the value for dollar that Rally provides to a corporate sponsor. Save sonoco I have never seen a company that uses it's involvement in US rally in any marketing that includes subaru (they did use Tom Mcgeer (spelling apologies) in an ad but that was it. mitsu nothing, hyundai nothing, fram nothing, so the sport needs to be marketed creatively because most people will not touch it. Private or not this is a chance for people to get involved and do away with all the secret back room meetings perpetrated by the SCCA which led to distrust and suspicion. Ugly or not sometimes a family must drag everythign into the open before it can address it's problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This person asked me not to put his name. I kind of agree with him in a way though. Everyone started talking before anything was said. Think about that, I think it makes sense. I read most of the posts and it seemed like high school all over again. Everyone was talking about something that they new nothing or very little about and it just caused more problems and rumors. Its great that we have specialstage to voice our opinions. But we also need to sit back and relax and see how things play out before we jump to conclusionsand start rambling on about nothing.
The only people that have taken sides are those that think there can only be one group putting on rallies. Trevor put it best in the post about the USRC, give me a place to play for a reasonable price and I will be there. (Not a direct qoute) All I know for sure is rally is rally. It shouldnt matter who puts on the events just as long as there are events being put on.
 

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> This person asked me not to put his name.

Right or wrong, it is shameful someone would post anonymously to a public forum and not have the courage to face those he would accuse.
 

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I have said the same thing before in other threads. I will go on the record and say again I think people are not helping this situation.

But I am not an insurance man, nor a rallist. I'm just a guy trying to build a car.

Josh
 

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Actually, that's not true. The AFR spent quite a bit of money on magazine ads featuring the Group N Subaru and on magazine and TV ads featuring the Focus.

Greg
 

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Ryan:

After reading your comment, two things come to mind.

The first one is your youth, when wants to say something, let them do it, and specially, let them stand behind it. In this case, somebody talked you into it, and you walkes right in to it. I am not questioning your love for the sport, I personally know how much rallying means to you, it's in your blood, you grew up going to rallies.

Second, insurance companies are run by business people, and they can care less about what we say on this or any other forum. They are in business to make money, and, contrary to what some people wanted us to beleive, rallying is a good business proposition for the insurance companies. They are in the business of insuring risk, and in return for their financial support, they ask that certain conditions be met, and a certain premium be paid. No more, no less, it is a business transaction. They do it with airplane racing, swap buggy racing, and certainly they will do it with rally, the only question is how much the premium will be.

See you at the Ramada Express

Tony Chavez
 

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Greg if you read what i said AFR was left out of that it was more aimed at manufacturers and the title sponsors. I saw one or two different AFR commercials with rally. Now AFR was willing to invest in the series but they obviously did not feel that they were receiving a fair return on the investent. AFR felt that they would be spending their money in World Challenge which (for the record has marginally better viewing and spectator numbers but a vastly improved television package) may or may not provide a better return on the investment. Who's fault is this? I would say that it is all of ours. To make a sport popular you need loads of promotion and frankly the last three years have had less than stellar promotion, cancelled events, poor television coverage, and an anti-spectator dogma. Now there are some valid reasons for that an many of you would like it to remain that way but I on the other hand do not. I felt that this was the perfect oppurtunity for the sport to take a step forward but it has turned into a turf war in a sense for reasons that seem to escape me. When you have split sanctioning bodies nobody wins look at cart and irl they have basically deep sixed open wheel in this country and fueled the NASCAR boom. Before the split CART was very popular and NASCAR was not the juggernaut it continues to be. IF we are to survive this split then we will need to be able to handle some healthy arguement and discussion.

Greg perhaps you can share with us why AFR felt that Pro Rally was a poor investment? Maybe people can learn from World Challenge, do they offer better corporate hospitality? How do they proote AFR I think that all of us could learn from previous mistakes, a critique from a former series sponsor would be much appreciated.
 

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Really, the whole thing comes down to return on investment. There are two ways to attack that problem. One is to raise the value of the sponsorship by increasing fan interest and viewership whether live or on TV. The second is to reduce costs to the teams so the money required to run the season equals the amount of viewership that is currently out there.

It is not too hard to ballpark the value of a sponsorship using average crowd size, TV numbers, and media coverage as a few of the factors. When the cost of running the season far outweighs the potential sponsorship value that's when you run into problems. If the gap is small there will always be wealthy sportsman or factories that are willing to pay the leftover burden in order to participate. When the gap becomes too large for them then the problem becomes critical.

I believe that is the problem the IRL and OWRS have faced although OWRS has come a long way in cutting costs by basically going to a sealed spec engine and, almost a one-make chassis series. I think you will see the IRL go to a cheaper engine formula here in the next year as well.

Rally wasn't a bad investment for us. I still get calls from companies wanting to use our livery in their games. Rallisport Challenge 2 has sold over 600,000 copies with our car in it so we are happy about that. Sega's new rally game is coming out with our car in it and that should be a big seller as well. Ford Racing 3 and Ford vs. Chevy also called concerning the rally car but, after discussion, they decided to use the World Challenge car as the games are more asphalt based. The fact is that people love rally cars and their image is easy to sell.

The problem with rally was that the cost to be competitive far outweighed the potential return on investment after the factories left. Say what you want, but the factories brought the media attention with them as well as a decent TV package. If rally's TV package was such that we didn't have to pay for it to be on it that would have gone a long way toward us staying. We had to factor the cost of the TV into out budget which is something we don't have to do with World Challenge. If we run up front in WC we will be on TV without having to pay to be there. That makes a big difference.

I'm sorry to say, there is really no comparison between rally and world challenge. World Challenge is run on tracks with full time management staffs to operate them. If I need something they are there to help me get it. There is food, drink, bathrooms and good viewing areas for the spectators and they are near major population centers for the most part. The track pays for the local promotion of the event. There is ok media coverage of the races. Not great, but still more extensive than rally.

SCCA Pro Racing brings as staff of like 30 people who handle everything from credentials to pre-race activities to tech and stewards. They are the same guys every week and we know how to interact with them. The rules are enforced in a consistent manner.
We have hospitality services as well. This is why I pushed for rally to be handled by Pro Racing when we were there but it just was too much of a money loser for them. They have the staff and the budget to run the races.

There is a long term TV deal with Speed that broadcasts the races within the next week at the latest but mostly on the same weekend and sometimes live. Depending on when we race the crowd size is very large compared to rally. We have pre-race activities that we participate in with fly-over, color guards, and constant PA presence. There are signage opportunities at the tracks.

To be honest we are still spending what we did in rally to be competitive with Subaru and Mitsubishi. So we are getting all that above at no extra cost.

Look, I obviously love rally or I wouldn't still be checking out this forum, but I don't think anyone could look at what has happened in the sport in the last few months and say that it wasn't a very good business move to leave last winter.

Remember this is only my opinion. It doesn't mean I am right but I will defend my position if someone wants to discuss it. I hope discussing it here will help the sport in some way.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Because this person is involved with building rally cars here in the U.S. he did not want to post because he thought his business might be affected by his comments. This made perfect sense to me. He would also get flak if he used a fake name. This actually all came from my dad and I did it as a favor to him not the person who made the comment. Now if your dad asked you to do him a favor I am sure you would not hesitate.

On another note I think that a lot of people jump the gun on certain issues. That is just my opinion. I really try to stay out of all the big issues on this forum because I know things before press releases or postings go out about the issues. I just think its better that we here from the people, group, or company invovled before we start commenting on things before anything is said or done.

He does make a good point though, work on your car instead of your typing. Please do not take this out of context it is just a joke and is meant only in that manner.
 
G

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it's been pointed out many times before that most other forms of racing have dirty laundry and air it publically.

I wouldn't get too concerned about internet chatter, although, given the choice, some more intelligent and thoughtful discourse would be fantastic, but that's asking a lot most of the time.

NASCAR is flourishing and they routinely seem to bare fists at one another.

I would be apt to think the concern about "public commentary hurting sponsorship potential" may come from people who are looking for reasons rally in the US is difficult to sell.

Take a step back in time, pre-Specialstage, or pre-public forums and decide if a person can reasonably say that sponsorship was better then, or that it would somehow be any different if rally were a wholesome sport like Football or Baseball or another sport flowing green with outside money.
 

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>it's been pointed out many times before that most other
>forms of racing have dirty laundry and air it publically.
>
>I wouldn't get too concerned about internet chatter,
>although, given the choice, some more intelligent and
>thoughtful discourse would be fantastic, but that's asking a
>lot most of the time.

I think the discussion on SS has generally been productive. We all have something of an investment in rally, be it your time, a rally car you built, an event you run, whatever.

Confronting problems head on and trying to come up with either new ideas or decent solutions in a forum like this (which really isn't all that public) can be productive.

Just assuming everything will be OK because series organizer X or Y has our best interests at heart is a big mistake. Everyone should stay involved and take an interest in the direction the sport is heading.

My view is that I'm a consumer of rally, it is entertainment, because I pay to keep my car running, pay to travel to and enter rallies. The people that organize events and/or series are the suppliers. I would rather have good communication in both directions than let them just offer whatever they want and for me to walk away with my money when/if it doesn't match my expectations. Rally as an economic system can't afford that.

Glenn
 
G

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I would like to add something that came up related to the SS discussions of our terf war,problems, etc with rally in the USA. I found out that besides possible sponsors seeing our laundry. The DNR / Forest service in my area has found SS. I did not tell them anything about this forum. I have been blamed for a problem with a scca rally (non-pro) and other club rally stuff. I on the record, did not do what I was and am accused of. I too love rally. Nuff of that. Hopefully water over the damn.
A high up person in one of the positions that can give or refuse use permits for rally in my state happens to be a road race fan,or actually the son of this person is. In this teenagers flow to the web sites of various racing clubs etc. He came across stuff on pro rally. He knew his parent had had something to do with them, at work,so off this kid
went. He found SS and showed it to his parent,which lead to one of the before mentioned problems. And now I 'm am getting static I had never had before in my working with this department. I'm confident I can and will over come these now known internal problems. However if I don't or can't I personally will
not suffer...rally will,as I am setting on ATLEAST 2 MAYBE 3 small inexpensive events here in my area. Once the bickering stops maybe we can all go on and do events the way the permit people tell us we have to. After all with out the roads and permits all the sponsorship in the world won't get these powerful people to say yes.
I am not looking to start a debate,just to give us another avenue to remember, that must be totally content or we have nothing to sponsor.

Thank you stevieZ66...A.K.A.
SCOOTER
 

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RE: Thank you Greg

Greg,

Thanks for your comments and sharing your views on the sponsor side of this business.

It good to hear your still keeping an eye on what is going on in Rally. Hopefully the Air Force Reserve will be back someday.

Question. Instead of stages in the forest, do you think a one day event at a stadium would be more marketable? Stadium full of people and easier to film.

Paul Nelson
 

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RE: Thank you Greg

Paul

I wouldn't say better. I think it would be easier to put on and potentially more profitable for the organizer. Also it would be much cheaper to televise. But it wouldn't be the same sport

Rally is definitely marketable. If I could get the same set-up listed above at a rally as they have in World Challenge I would prefer to be in rally because I think it is a much more distinct sport. There is lots of road racing in this country but only two, very similar, rally series.

The bottom line is, however, that someone is going to have to write the checks to pay for the development of the sport. Without that, you can hire all the consultants and marketing guys you want but if someone doesn't sign checks then nothing is going to happen. Either one or two guys can write the checks and take a big loss at first or a lot of people, read everyone in the sport, can foot the bill in the form of entry fees etc. Or both. If the latter path is chosen then expect the sport to take a looooong time to develop. That's not necessarily a bad thing. There is no moral imperative that rally has to be as big as NASCAR in 4 years! However, sponsors are going to want to be assured of a good return on their investment before they invest real money in a sport.

Again look at the IRL and OWRS. If either of the owners of those two series decided to stop writing checks today their organization would not last very long. Neither is profitable or even supportable by their income. Remember, these are two "top-level" racing organizations.

The first thing I look at when evaluating a sponsorship opportunity is who is paying the bills and why.

Rally has the further complication of liability insurance hanging over its head. From a business standpoint it is hard to make a big investment in building something when the loss of insurance would wipe out you out in a minute. That's a problem that won't go away and must be addressed.

For the record, my opinion is that a crew running over a 6 year-old in service while rushing to a MTC will wipe out the sport a lot faster than a driver or co-driver fatality (although I hope that neither ever happens). Protection of the general public should have the highest priority.

With all that being said I still think the sport can still flourish if managed properly.

Greg
 

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> or that it would somehow be any
>different if rally were a wholesome sport like Football or
>Baseball or another sport flowing green with outside money.

Hmmmmm, If you were including Basketball, then it must have been prior to the Detroit- Indiana game?????:p

Bill Westrick
Silly Side Co-Driver
 

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The thoughts, ideas, etc expressed on SS are the reality of the people in the sport. In the long run reality always comes out, trying to make a softer kinder SS just keeps the issues out there longer.

Derek
 
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