January 03, 2009

FMS cancels Xmas, er, Supercross Live webcasts

I was done for the night, and was just starting to get fired up about going to Anaheim Saturday night for the first supercross of 2009. So I fired up my web browser and cruised over to read the first Racerhead of the year at Racer X Online, and DC hit me with the news in only the third paragraph:

The bad news, apparently, is that if you don’t have Speed TV or live somewhere outside the U.S., you won’t be able to tune in to Supercross Live! on your computer, as Feld Motor Sports made the surprising move of stopping the live webcast as a result of the economic downturn.

And yes, I actually blinked when I first read that. I'm still blinking, but that's only because blinking is normal. But I blinked the first time because it struck me that for the first time in a loooooong time... I won't be able to listen to supercross races on my computer at home... and this is my best computer yet, dammit!

Seriously, this news fails to compare to the horrible situation in Gaza right now, but damn, it's not good news. And by that, I don't mean, "man, this sucks 'cause I love supercross and I live in Rhode Island and I can't afford cable, so the only way I get to follow the sport is on the web" not good news, but I mean this decision by FMS shows a troubling lack of either foresight, money or both.

And apparently the races WILL be available on the internet to people outside the U.S. So it looks like FMS pulled the plug on Supercross Live, the entity that pretty much invented the supercross webcast, as opposed to canceling ALL internet coverage of the sport. And I guess Supercross Live had the lock on U.S. internet coverage, which would explain why Davey Coombs also wrote:

I hope that the decision is only temporary and that a suitable replacement (emphasis mine) or sponsor for the shows can be found, because come next week in Phoenix, I will be a couple thousand miles away, sitting in front of my computer, hoping to hear what’s going on in my sport.

I also hope that FMS reconsider and put the show, or any show, back on the internet. If this company has not yet figured out how critical the internet has become to building this sport, they better get their analysis going in a hurry. FMS might think all they're doing is chopping off some "low-hanging fruit" -type expenses, when they're really cutting off a vital lifeline.


Anonymous said...

Man.. That's not good. I too enjoyed the live webcasts since the races are usually a day or even a week delayed before they're air'ed. I guess I'll just quit going to Supercross.com and find another source for my SX information. Maybe they'll reconsider if enough people stay away.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. I attended Phoenix and Las Vegas last year. The webcast was the only way to stay in touch when supercross in not in your city. This year I'm not going to the live events in protest. The ticket prices are also higher. $65 for lower level???....I'll read it on transworld...

Paul said...

Everyone has to do what makes sense to them, but I will remind you that nothing beats seeing those guys ride in person.

I think they should not only reinstate the webcast, but then rent wireless receiver's in the stadium for fans that want to have some useful information during the race. As I sat there, I knew the folks at home had better angles and laptime info and all that, but... the folks at home didn't feel the emotions of the crowd rise and fall as the course of the race changed. There's nothing like that!

Paul said...

I think that maybe FMS hasn't thought this thing through completely. They may be discounting some very significant intangible benefits in their cost/benefit analysis. But what do I know?