Chevy Truck is dishing out $1.8 million to increase its influence with the 250,000 members of the American Motorcycle Association, according to a Motorcycle Daily article quoting an unnamed association official.
The American Motorcycle Association sponsors five championship racing series, and Chevy is the new official sponsor of the association's U.S. Superbike Series and the U.S. Motocross Series. Additionally, Chevy will be the official truck of the association's U.S. Flat Track Series.
Chevy Truck joins a growing number of marketers recognizing the appeal of motorcycle racing, where attendance has increased 40 percent in the last six years. 'Motorcycle racing, and especially Motocross and Supercross, have been on the cutting edge of style and image for years,' says John Farris, Silverado assistant brand manager. Furthermore, says Farris, 'We're betting on the fact that the Motocross audience thinks trucks are cooler than cars.'
Statistics back up Farris' strategy. Surveys indicate 70 percent of the 18- to 34-year-old demographic group involved in motorcycle racing already own a truck. Farris says 30 percent of Silverado owners are motorcycling fans or competitors.
Chevy Trucks also adopted the Team Kawasaki Supercross and Motocross racing teams as advertising partners. Chevy's logo will be displayed prominently on Team Kawasaki's race machines and rider uniforms. The agreement also is expected to initiate many co-branding opportunities, such as crossover advertising, dealer sweepstakes tie-ins and possibly a special Chevy truck outfitted for cyclers and influenced by design suggestions from Team Kawasaki drivers.
While Chevy isn't revealing terms of the deal with Kawasaki, sponsoring a motorcycling racing team and individual racers is less expensive than the multimillions spent on higher-publicity activities such as NASCAR. However, with booming interest in the sport, sponsorship dollar figures are rising. For instance, the No Fear clothing label recently paid 16-year-old rookie riding sensation Travis Pastrana $200,000 to don its logo while racing his 125cc off-road motorcycle in the American Motorcycle Association Supercross series, which is expected to top 800,000 in 2000 race attendance.
Tom Mueller, president of Sports Management Inc., a sports marketing firm in Columbus, Ohio, says the cost-benefit ratio of the deal is impressive: 'What Chevy's doing is reaching a consistent audience week in and week out through targeted media and entertainment that has proven itself to boost truck sales.'
Along with exclusive truck displays and banner rights, the American Motorcycle Association sponsorship furnishes Chevy Truck with exclusive commercial rights during all national broadcasts of Chevy-sponsored events. Through the sponsorship, Chevy hopes it can join the ranks of Mazda and Toyota Trucks as a well-known sponsor of the American Motorcycle Association. Both companies had a consistent presence in racing for the past decade, including series and team sponsorships.