The FIM has given its public support to the World Superbike Championship, stressing its importance and purpose, whilst also praising the efforts of promoter Infront Sports & Media.
The joint-statement released by FIM and Infront followed a “top level meeting” between the two parties this week.
The meeting, and statement that followed, looks to be aimed at addressing concerns about the future of the production-based WSBK Championship, in the face of MotoGP's migration towards prototype motorcycles based more closely on production machinery, from 2012.
The full statement, including quotes from FIM president Vito Ippolito and Infront President & CEO Philippe Blatter, can be seen below:
FIM & Infront fully aligned to further strengthen the FIM Superbike World Championship.
“On the occasion of a top-level meeting this week, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and Infront Sports & Media expressed once again their joint commitment to further strengthen the unique profile of the FIM Superbike World Championship (SBK) and its position as one of the leading international motor sports series. FIM acknowledges the efforts Infront has taken in enhancing the competition throughout recent years and will continue to support the international sports marketing agency in all its activities for a sustainable development of the FIM Superbike World Championship.
“A key property for both partners
Sanctioned by the FIM and promoted by Infront Motor Sports, the annual FIM Superbike World Championship is the only Road Racing World Series for production motorcycles. This uniqueness and its popularity amongst motor sport fans make the championship a key asset for the FIM and a valuable property for Infront, as one of the leading international sports marketing agencies. In addition, the series fulfils a clear market need as it uses the same bikes as millions of passionate motorcycling fans around the globe.
“In order to reinforce an aligned approach for the upcoming years, high-ranking FIM representatives – including President Vito Ippolito, Deputy President Jorge Viegas and CEO Guy Maitre as well as other members of FIM management – met with members from the Infront management – including its President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Stephan Herth, Executive Director Summer Sports, as well as the SBK founders Maurizio and Paolo Flammini representing Infront Motor Sports as President and CEO – at the FIM headquarters in Mies, Switzerland.
“Fulfilling a clear market need
The participants agreed on the high potential of the FIM Superbike World Championship and both entities are fully committed to support the future development of the series. The aim is to strengthen the profile of the competition and a unique position within the portfolio of FIM sanctioned top series.
“Vito Ippolito said: “During the past three years, Infront has invested considerable efforts into promoting the series as well as enhancing it in various fields – be it the brand positioning, the TV coverage, the marketing or the fan interaction. We highly appreciate the significant contribution and comprehensive know-how of the Infront Group and will closely co-operate in ensuring the successful future of the championship. It is clearly a core asset for FIM.”
“Philippe Blatter added: “This meeting has been extremely valuable and the reinforcement of our joint commitment is a clear sign for the sport itself and all stakeholders of the FIM Superbike World Championship, including manufacturers, sponsors, media and racing circuits. Together with FIM we will further develop the unique identity of Superbike and make sure that it remains its strong position within the motor sports realm. The much increased TV audience in 2010 and the raising popularity among motor sports fans, clearly indicates the potential of this competition. We are prepared to further invest into the property creating more added-value for commercial partners and further excitement for the fans.”
“Successful development of the series
In May 2007, Infront made a considerable investment in the FGSPORT Group, promoter of the FIM Superbike World Championship. It subsequently re-branded the company as Infront Motor Sport and has since then continuously invested in enhancing the competition – with very positive results. Under Infront's tenure, live coverage has increased by 27% since 2007 and the number of broadcast partners has grown by 40%. Onsite attendance also remains at high levels, with one million fans visiting the circuits.
“The FIM Superbike World Championship is today broadcast in approximately 175 countries and the 2010 season saw a TV audience increase of 33% compared to the previous year. With more than 3,000 broadcast hours of coverage, it reached a cumulative audience of 498 million viewers for the series. Following a website re-launch in 2009 and a comprehensive new media strategy, online interaction with fans has also risen. As a result of these developments, sponsors benefit from a much enhanced visibility and brand exposure - even beyond the actual races.”