After bringing event promotion largely in-house, MotoAmerica decided to do the same with the television package for 2019. One of the post-recession changes has been sports TV. Now the series produces its own shows, rather than partnering with an outside company to create them as had been done in years past. There are three separate legs of the strategy — streaming video, a live show and a highlights program.

“Now, we’ve opened it up where the network is on more homes in the U.S. That’s been a tremendous help. It’s helped us to open the door and have a lot of attention from corporate sponsorship and it is more accessible than it was,” Rainey said. “But for that to happen, we had to make the investment to pull it off.”

Since most fans see the races on television, Rainey feels it is important to produce a great show.

Josh Herrin (2) leads during Sunday's MotoAmerica Superbike race at Road America. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)
Josh Herrin (2) leads during a MotoAmerica Superbike race at Road America. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

“When we first started, we had Fans’ Choice. Then we were with BeIn Sports and Dorna helped us with that since MotoGP and World Superbike were on that network. We’ve taken all the TV in-house, so we’re in charge with what the show looks like and we’re happy,” Rainey said. “We’ve got it out on FOX Sports 2 on the live broadcast for Superbike, then we have a one-hour highlights show, ‘Inside MotoAmerica,’ which is on at a later date on NBC Sports. That’s a show that explains what MotoAmerica is, the riders, teams and sponsors, what road racing is. And we also have MotoAmerica Live+. That’s been a real hit. People love to be able to watch all the races inside the series.”

TV is closely tied to sponsorship and the ’87 AMA Superbike champion thinks there will be a bigger jump next year.

“We would have liked to announce this last year,” Rainey said. “We started working on it in July of ’18. We were able to pull it all together and announce it in January of ’19, so I think we will see the benefits in ’20. What I know from behind the scenes, ’20 is going to look a lot different.”

The streaming package is for hard-core fans but also allows fans from outside the U.S. the opportunity to watch the races, creating worldwide interest for MotoAmerica. “Our TV package is now available in Europe and Asia and South America,” said Rainey. “We’re getting some amazing views from the rest of the world and they can see we’re alive and well and thriving.”

MotoAmerica is to the point now where some stability is in order.

“I don’t see anything changing much for next year in any of the classes,” said Rainey. “I think having stability so these teams can make an investment and know they don’t have to invest in a different rule or technology that is going to come down the pike in year two or three. As for Superbike, next year will be about the third year we’re in for these electronics, but I don’t see much changing for next year. I do see more teams and maybe another manufacturer will be on the starting grid and I expect more depth in the teams and more corporate sponsorship.”

What’s the next project for MotoAmerica?

“I think for us, what we are really focusing on now, is the event itself. It might be changing a bit down the road. The last five years, we’ve done a carnival atmosphere for the fans,” Rainey noted. “We want more kids to come to the track. We want families to come and have a good time. Basically, we want them to see motorcycles, and smell and touch and watch. I think we’ll be focusing more on trying to build the event and I think it will look a little different than what we are doing.”

As a racer, Rainey was analytical and determined, a fighter who didn’t give up. In running a series, he shows those same traits. There is still more to be done, but after stepping into a very bad situation, Rainey and his group have won some hard-fought improvements. MotoAmerica has strengthened the foundation of the series.

“We’re starting year five and I think we are starting to reap the fruits of our labor,” he said.