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The Toad
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If you think that Speed (or any channel) is going to fill their prime viewing slots with abysmally low watched events like motorcycle racing then you are dreaming.



Maybe start your own channel?
 

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Dude, ESPN shows people playing poker. Why? Because poker players wrote them letters? No, it's because (for some godawful reason too frightening to contemplate) it gets ratings. Networks don't make programming decisions based on impassioned letters, they make decisions based on money. Because they are a business.

Do you go to work in order to entertain others, or do you go to make money?
 

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Agreed on ESPN showing poker and such. Its all about viewership. You've seen a rise in dart championships on ESPN and now dominos for God's sake. I'm sure next year they'll have live coverage of the rock, paper, scissors tournament...



As motorcycle racing fans, we just have to take what we can get and be happy they show ANY form of two wheeled sport at all. Same day delayed or month after delayed as it were.
 

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I see a lot of the replies to SuperSquid's post seem to dismiss the problem as simple "ratings economics."



But there is definitely a "chicken and egg" element to viewership. I.e., which comes first, the audience or the station's commitment to building an audience?



Even the best network shows crash and burn when dumped into a bad time slot or left without promotional support.



For years, one of the best shows on Speed was the World

Rally Championship. But a constantly-changing late night time slot, zero promotion and near xenophobic reluctance to cover something so spectacularly "unamerican" (the races are held virtually everywhere except North America) guaranteed poor viewership. (After a few years of religious viewership, I gave up trying to find the show in Speed's ever-changing shedule.)



Historically, there are numerous examples of viewer write-in campaings that pushed networks to do the right thing.



One of the best-known examples is Star Trek. The original TV series earned a small but devoted following. When the network pulled the plug, they were flooded with letters from fans. The show returned for another season and eventually became a huge hit, spawning movies and countless other "generations" of TV series.



The bottom line: yes, TV is all about ratings; but ratings are a function not just of show quality or viewer/advertiser support, they are also a function of network commitment and vision, which vocal viewers can and do influence.



So don't be shy, tell Speed what you want. Chicken or egg, if enough viewers are vocal, they will eventually listen.
 

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whoa whoa bikejunkie! careful not to upset MO paranoiac purple person vibe...

Sure they pay attention to reader letters, in fact Dave deSpain is a huge bike guy. I am sure the more ammo he has to show people at Speed, the better the chances are of more bike racing.

MOTORCYCLIST mag yanked their entire reader forum after one guy started abusing Boehm. It was gone for years, just recently it is Baaaadck...
 

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"The show returned for another season and eventually became a huge hit"



Huh? It had a three-year run. It was never a huge hit. That's why it only lasted three years.



The franchise didn't get going until ten years later. The second series did OK enough for a five-year run, the space-station spin-off performed decently enough, the Voyager series limped along, and the latest crashed and burned. The franchise was a financial success primarily because of merchandising and multimedia (movies and home video). On ratings alone, it was never very strong. Motorcycle racing does not have that kind of merchandising and multimedia potential.



 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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"MOTORCYCLIST mag yanked their entire reader forum after one guy started abusing Boehm."



So how much abuse did you heap upon him until they pulled it? Did a sic your boy KPaul on his ass?
 

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"Historically, there are numerous examples of viewer write-in campaings that pushed networks to do the right thing. "



Offhand, I can't think of any. The conventional wisdom is that letter-writing campaigns have no effect.



But hey, go ahead and write. Even better, though, is to preach. When ABC showed the MotoGP race, I went to the local sports bar and asked them to put it on one of the screens. I chatted with some of the other patrons about the racers, the speeds, etc. Played up the whole Rossi-vs-the-American-upstart angle. They dug it.
 

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I think the power of promotion is highly overrated. People watch what they like. Poker wasn't crammed down our throats. It was televised and slowly built an audience organically.



Motorcycle racing has had YEARS to build an audience. It hasn't. If it was going to be a ratings success, it would have done it by now.



We should be grateful that a niche like roadracing gets filled when the vastly-more-popular "extreme" sports get comparatively little coverage. We get AMA races, World Superbike, and MotoGP, and we often get them on Sundays when football season is out. The occasional tape delay of days is a hell of a lot better than nothing, which is what we got before Speed came along.







 

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Acutally, 90s FOX series "Party of Five" lived for several seasons on the strength of a vocal audience and was saved twice ( I believe) by a letter-writing campaign.



(And thank God, because it was the first place we got to see Jennifer Love Hewitt's boobies.)



There are a couple of rare instances of other shows that were saved by fans bombarding the networks with letters and e-mails, but I can't think of them right now. Maybe "Arrested Development" was one, but we all know how that turned out eventually.



It's worth a shot, but people have to start watching or it won't matter. I preach, to varying degrees of effectiveness, too. Word-of-mouth and buzz works well.
 

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It used to be the only motorcycling I saw on TV was the occasional Evel Knievel jump spectacular. I'm just so grateful that we even have Speedchannel to begin with, and that there is so much to watch, regardless of what time of day it's on. And ESPN2...crazy! I remember when ESPN launched and everyone thought it was nuts: How could you have a whole channel dedicated to just sports? Now we have multiple ESPNs and even SPEED and we're still not happy?



I have my peeves. I wish I could order SPEED, OLN, and ESPN2 "a la carte" rather than as part of a $108-per-month digital cable internet package. I wish they still aired the 250 MX races, immediately followed by the 450 MX races, instead of on different days. But wishing for prime-time? At least X-games is on during prime-time!



It's amazing we can get stuff like MXDN, MXGPs, European enduros, even trials events.
 

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I think you're right, mostly. Motorcycle racing does need to grow organically and promotion can only do so much. But I do think that it can be promoted better and it will have an effect.



The success of televised Poker isn't so mystifying to me. People watch because they enjoy the personalities and the tension. The actual game play is secondary. Plus, I think everyone can imagine sitting at the table playing along. It seems accessible.



Motorcycle racing, on the other hand, is mostly about action. The personalities are important and interesting, but they're not so accessible unless you're already a fan. They wear colorful suits and helmets and we don't see them until the race is over, and then only for some canned interview-speak. So I think the action needs to be promoted. And because most people don't imagine themselves on a motorcycle, a fairly stiff shove to help get the unwashed curious wouldn't hurt.
 

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ESPNs

Did you catch the Carpet Shampooing World Championships on ESPN 8 'The Ocho'? It was scintillating, until the shampoo's antibacterials stunted the growth of the organic audience.
 

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SPIKE TV or USA network. I say the enthusiast start a petition and lobby one of the two or both to carry roadracing and put Greg's garage back on TV.
 
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