TWICE AS NICE: Dave Prater is vice president of Supercross, Feld Motor Sports Inc., which is launching a combined a combined AMA Supercross and Feld Pro Motocross championship. (Feld Motor Sports)
Q&A with Feld VP of Supercross Dave Prater
The start of each year sees Feld Motor Sports rev up on the West Coast before its tours and leagues hit the road. Last year saw the announcement of playoff venues for the first combined SuperMotocross World Championship at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 14, 2023.
VenuesNow’s James Zoltak spoke with Prater at the time of the announcement, which followed the news last summer that the two leagues would play off to a single titleholder.
The following Q&A, lightly edited for length and clarity, goes into more detail on plans for the combined championship and the thinking that went into bringing it all together.
VENUESNOW: Why did you choose these two venues and geographic locations and did you consider others, like maybe Rice-Eccles Stadium, given the great recent history you’ve had there?
DAVE PRATER: We considered quite a few but we wanted to be geographically spread out; one in East, one in the central part of the country and then we also wanted them to be unique and different. Having a drag strip, especially zMax dRagway in Charlotte, which is four lanes wide, made it nice because it gives us more room, but it’s going to afford us to have truly unique experience for the fans and the athletes.
Have you had events at these places before?
We haven’t and that was also appealing to us. To your point about Rice-Eccles, we love (the stadium) and everything about Utah and Salt Lake City and the Utah Sports Commission, but again, we wanted to go to unique venues that we don’t visit during Supercross season or Motocross season.
What kinds of capacities will you have for the playoffs and final and how does that compare to the average on the two circuits?
For Chicagoland and LA we’ll have a normal capacity; I’d say around 50,000. Charlotte’s a little smaller as far as grandstand capacity, but the beauty of Super Motocross as a whole is that we are going to have a festival-type atmosphere. Near the end of the drag stripe we’ll have an area where fans can walk around the track and we’ll have that in Chicagoland as well. That will open this up quite a bit. We’ll be able to have 50- 60,000 at all three of the venues, we hope.
What’s the philosophy on pricing?
The idea is to create extreme value. We want the fans to feel like they paid a fair price and got a lot of value for their money. That’s the goal. The other part of it is we are hoping to make all three of these two-day events, with a Friday night fan fest experience and Saturday with an all-fan fest/race.
Is there typically much of a gap between pricing for regular season Supercross and Motocross and did both leagues adjust their pricing this year to be more uniform?
We’re definitely discussing that. I don’t think you will see it this year as far as coming together with a uniform pricing model, but in 2024 that’s the goal, to try to be more uniform across both seasons.
What kind of merchandise and food and beverage per caps do these events do on their own and how charged up do you think those numbers will be for the playoffs and final?
Our merch per caps are going to be strong. We’re going to offer special post-season, merchandise. Like with any sport I think you are going to see an uptick in that per cap for merch and food and beverage.
Is the merch being designed now?
We’ll have some during the seasons pointing to the playoffs and final but the majority of that will go on sale post-season. We’re in the process of designing it all as we speak.
What will the VIP component be like? Anything you can share about hospitality plans?
We’re still developing it but we’ll have some VIP upsells similar to what we do at Supercross with track walks, rider meet and greets. There’s actually a VIP experience where you can embed yourself with one of our premier teams, Star Racing Yamaha, this season. We’ll offer all of that and more. We are going to build some actual VIP sections into Charlotte, Chicagoland, as well as the LA Coliseum.
How are sponsors reacting?
Sponsors love it. We shared a lot of partners already so it’s nice to be, for lack of a better term, kind of a one-stop shop where all can collectively communicate together and work toward the future. Monster Energy is partner of both sports. Now collective with SuperMotocross World Championship we are all working collaboratively.
I imagine the athletes are game for this to be happening as well.
Definitely. It’s another opportunity for them to get another championship. It makes everything better because we’re not siloed any more. It’s not to say we didn’t work together where we could, but now it’s a 100% collaborative effort.