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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think a big part of the dislike some folks have for Kurt Spitzner (I can't say I'm not one of them) is that folks in general dislike "marketing types", which Kurt is. It's kinda like the lawyer thing. He's tall, has executive hair, and spoos neuspeak. The fact that his organization has had difficulty making things happen while at the same time seeming to take the membership and organizers for granted has the effect of painting a big target on his chest. "Lookit me! Open season on the yuppie!"

In some respects, it hasn't really been fair for Kurt. Stage rally is not marketing friendly by itself, and hasn't responded well to marketing-oriented management. Videogames and WRC coverage have exposed the general population to rally, but the logistics of stage rally make the actual sport inconvenient as hell from a marketing perspective. So far, no rational package has appeared. I think Kurt and Co. could have made a better go of it, but events have overtaken the program and it looks like Kurt is keeping a low profile and the PRB is working harder and concentrating more on operations and organizational holes -- which is a good strategy. I expect to see more smiles this coming year, solely from having more people involved with the PRB and the new positions opening up. We are definitely stuck with Kurt for a while, but the things he hasn't been doing are starting to be done by others.

Marketing-based policies don't work with stage rally because operational realities keep it outside the marketing/promotion business model. There is currently only one input to the program (privateer hobbyists and their entry fees) and one bottleneck (local rally organizations and the number of events). The rest is hotly debated but largely irrelevant. Hordes of spectaters are not what we need. Beyond a certain point, they become an inconvenience and can cause an event to become unmanageable. For organizers, merchandising is a luxury and a distraction. Concentrating on keeping the hobbyists interested and expanding local rally organizations is the prudent thing to do. That appears to be the direction the PRB and the organizers are taking and I don't see a problem with that.

The marketing-intensive side of things needn't go ignored, though. Stage rallies offer opportunities in concessions and merchandising that haven't been tapped very well. That being said, closed stadium venues with ticket sales, concessions, merchandising, and wheel-to-wheel action would be a comparative gold mine. If Morgan and other marketing types want something to really use their skills on, that would be a better direction to aim themselves. A rational marketing-based business model appears: paid publicity results in physical attendance by thousands of people resulting in rich promoters and lots of TV time, carrying over into future attendance at attendance-friendly events, around and around (so to speak), growing the sport to Nascar-like proportions.

When a healthy spectacle-centric sport is going alongside the stage-rally series, then we will have the crossover and good juju that makes European rally so cool. I don't think marketing is bad, it just doesn't work to base it entirely on stage rally. Super-specials and rallycrosses will need venues, though. Groups of heeled rallyists need to come together (that leaves me out :) ) and buy land or persuade motorsports promoters to turn over their facilities.

andy
 

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I've tried organizing stadium style rallyX with the Carlisle Invitational to take place with their Custom Compact show with 30,000 spectators. SCCA regional politics got in the way then and now Carlisle complains the National office isn't interested in promoting it.

Working now on an RallySprint with Hyperfest http://www.hyper-fest.com/ for next summer outside of Pittsburgh PA.
 

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There is nothing wrong staduim spectacles but they are not rally. I think we can use them to promte rally if we so wish but we should not become a stadium sport.

I my self am working on a single venue event for 2003.

Derek
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
> I've tried organizing stadium style rallyX
(...)
>SCCA regional politics
>got in the way then and now Carlisle complains the National
>office isn't interested in promoting it.

Jah. The SCCA has historically been oriented toward the operations of its club road racing, club autocross, and TSD/stage rally, which is a good thing. Trans-Am, F5000, touring cars, anything that makes a big splash have suffered from the lack of serious promotion. F5000 is long gone, the touring car championship is run by Speedvision, and Trans-Am has been sold to another organization. Unless there is a sea-change in Topeka, their "pro"-motion won't likely ramp up to point where they can properly deal with stadium rallycross or, really, any kind of big-money motorsports.

I think if the SCCA focuses on club operations, that would be a good thing for stage rally. USAC, on the other hand, would be a better choice for getting sanctioning for stadium events. Hell, the last thing SCCA rally needs is to be distracted by a whole new venture, new rules, new venues, etc.

andy
 

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>I think a big part of the dislike some folks have for Kurt
>Spitzner (I can't say I'm not one of them) is that folks in
>general dislike "marketing types", which Kurt is. It's
>kinda like the lawyer thing. He's tall, has executive hair,
>and spoos neuspeak.

Ah that explains the flaming I got http://www.protegeclub.com/forum/images/smilies/SaiyanSmilie_anim.gif
Unlike Kurt, I don't have any hair http://www.protegeclub.com/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif
Since you have brought my name into this... I would say WRC and European rallying has responded pretty well to a marketing management.
The only thing that might work here would be to have Superspecials that either start or end each leg of the rally, like in the WRC, it seems to work well for them. But of course that is unlikely to happen here because the sport has not been marketed well, so the organizers don't have the sponsor money to even think about putting together a real Superspecial. Ramada Express Rally is the only rally to sucessfully pull off a WRC style SS in the US
Creating a stadium style rally sport would only detract from real rallying by eliminating the need for people to understand the intricacies of true rallying, which is part of what makes it special. It would eliminate the need for a co-driver, since the driver would be able to learn the course. It would create a diversion that would allow rallying to continue to go ignored
Having a daily superspecial, would give spectators a central location to continually go back to and see what's going on who's where and who's left in the race, etc. With the exception of the adventurous, most spectators at the rallies go to the Parc Expose and to a spectator stage (i.e. as in Maine), and service, they don't bother with the adventure of finding stages and hiking, etc.(you know, the best part of spectating rallies). based on that, I would gather that SS would be a good way to attract people

But this thread is moot anyway since it seems most people want to keep US rallying an obscure sport that no one knows or cares about.http://www.protegeclub.com/forum/images/smilies/dunno.gif
 

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Andy ;
What makes you think that this approch hasn't been tried? 15 years ago the SCCA Rally Dept was one day and one signature away from just such a series. What happened you ask? POLITICS. Certain people in the rally community decided that an 11 event series with a sponsor, A quaranteed 2-1/2 Million Dollars in prize monies, A Television contract and 10% of revenue returned to SCCA as well as a healthy sanction fee was just not what was needed to promote PRO Rally. A Stadium Rally Sprint Series was not the future they saw for PRO Rally. They wanted a different tract taken. They got their way. The contract wasn't signed, a manager was fired and the rest is history. Except that SCCA Pro Racing tried to steal the sponsor. So what makes you think that a different result will occur? Still no marketing of the PRO Rally concept has happened in the last 15 years. There Hasn't been a real management person in place at the National office in the PRO Rally Dept. PRO Racing still doesn't have a real Sponsor or a real TV package. If you think SCCA will let a "Weak Sister" like us have these things and PRO Racing not Think again. Remember everything always comes down to membership numbers and the BOD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
leprachaun writes:
>Andy ;
> What makes you think that this approch hasn't been
>tried? 15 years ago the SCCA Rally Dept was one day and one
>signature away from just such a series. What happened you
>ask? POLITICS. (...)

This was my point. The SCCA is not the correct organization to use. The SCCA Pro organization should be ignored at minimum and brutally subjugated and punished if necessary. We don't need a David Richards -like dictator in the SCCA, because that will screw up the club rallying, but without a spectacle alternative, there will always be an impetus to turn SCCA rally into some combination of NASCAR and the WRC.

With a separate series based on closed stadium events and maybe a few glitzy events like the Ramada Express, the club rallyists will have what they want, and the folks that want to deal with the big crowds and branding packages will have what they want.

Crossover between the two series could continue to happen, but the marketing-centric series would not be restricted by club concerns, and the club series would not have to continually fight to keep their organization focused on the needs of club participants.

andy
 

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>With a separate series based on closed stadium events and
>maybe a few glitzy events like the Ramada Express, the club
>rallyists will have what they want, and the folks that want
>to deal with the big crowds and branding packages will have
>what they want.

Its not so easy.
You need a sponsor. At first there won't be any championships, just a bunch of one-off events so you need a sponsor who can fork out cash for prizes to draw competitors.
You need a group of people to define rules, car classes, championship series, event procedures, and fill key positions with people capable of performing various duties.
You need experienced organizers willing to put on events.
You need venues.
You need teams willing to participate.
 

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>This was my point. The SCCA is not the correct organization
>to use. The SCCA Pro organization should be ignored at
>minimum and brutally subjugated and punished if necessary.
>We don't need a David Richards -like dictator in the SCCA,
>because that will screw up the club rallying, but without a
>spectacle alternative, there will always be an impetus to
>turn SCCA rally into some combination of NASCAR and the WRC.

Why not aim for something closer to the Asia-Pacific or British Rally Championship- CNAR maybe?
Stadium rallying would just make it another beer belly American sport
 

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morgan,
i agree it would make it another beer belly sport. (rally cross not rally) you would be building a fan base.
with your marketing savy you must see the benifit of the cash cow you would be tapping into.

we need a piece of the suv driving, beer drinking demographic, and maybe then us rally could "go pro".

but once again i am not the expert just my 2c
 

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Mickey Thompson stadium races

>Is the Mickey Thompson stadium races still going? Maybe tag
>on another class for rally cars.

Their course would be tough for rallycars. Rocky Mountain Rally in Alberta uses a Motorcross track for a spectator super special and their jumps are big air jumps, not yumps. The first jump shortened ACP's Evo and cracked the radiator in Erickson's.
Here is a pic of ACPs landing. Pretty bone jarring. I came home from Alberta with my dental work in my pocket.
http://www.musketeerracing.com/photos/2002/rocky/rocky11.jpg

http://www.musketeerracing.com/photos/2002/rocky/rocky20.jpg



It would be more like having to drive to finish than flat out racing than if we could develop our own courses with fast hazard-free yumps and watersplashes.
I can see a new market for ProDrive and Ralliart tear-away body panels like the Mickey Thompson trucks have.
 

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I realize this is about US rallying - but,

when I read this thread, two recent similar experiences come to mind:

1. coming over the hill on the transit to A1 at Defi 2002 - Mecaglisse (sp?) - Fields full of spectator cars - a slightly crazy gravel/asphalt, "wheel-to-wheel" super-special. In fact, it wasn't ACTUALLY wheel-to-wheel or head to head, but it appeared that way to the spectators. This was the first time since 1990 at Castledine's Crnr Tall Pines that I was able to hear the crowd over the noise of the car. And it was fun.

2. Tall Pines 2002. SS A1 - same "coming over the hill, tons of cars" experience, starting ramp, PA system, lots of people, concession stands, restricted entry/exit, MS X-Box bus, helicopter rides, two high profile pieces in the Toronto Star etc. etc.. This is the best Pines I've been to (despite driving off the road...)

These two approaches satisfied the stadium-type spectator friendly requirements without turning rallying into a Monster Truck spectacle.

Robin
 

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Does anyone have spectator numbers from the Wild West ORV park SS that dubbed as stage one? Seems like I remember a FULL parking lot despite people paying five dollars a head.

How about the SS spectator numbers from Ramada this month? What was the venue here?

Charles
Viva le MR2 #295!!!
 

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> You need experienced organizers willing to put on events.
> You need venues.

These are, to my mind, the biggest obstacles to all these ideas. Whether you produce a series of stadium events or add a stadium event to an existing rally, you need venues...and if they exist, they ain't cheap. Organizing one of these things isn't any harder than a stage rally, but it comes with its own set of problems. Adding it to an existing rally, gives the organizer one fairly short stage that - by the time you throw in crowd handling, concessions, announcers, setup and teardown - requires more people than a 15-mile forest stage.

It's easy to say we need such things...and I don't necessarily disagree...but they won't just grow overnight.

Bruce
 

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After visting the Network Q this year, I can attest the Super Specials are NOT about spectators (nor is any of the rally, in fact).

It is all about TV coverage.

All of the teams seem to dislike the Super Specials. Other than Natalie Barrett (who stuffed it) no one is going to win or lose a rally on a Super Special.

However, the big "arena" stages like Walters Arena and Margam Park are a great way for spectators to watch the action and see more of the cars than a quick fly by.

Glenn
 
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