Jet Ski News
The American Power Boat Association (APBA) is extremely excited about personal watercraft racing returning under the APBA sanction. Over the last three months statistics have been accumulated, budgets forecasted, and business plans made to determine how to professionally set-up and organize a personal watercraft racing program that will meet the goals and objectives of the U.S. racing community, support the program financially, and properly and effectively service the watercraft promoters and racers. The APBA is 100% confident that it can accomplish all of the above, and organize a program that the promoters will be proud to be involved with. We hope that after reviewing this proposal, you will have a better understanding of the APBA PWR program and choose to become part of the APBA program.
The following document explains the details on the APBA’s new Personal Watercraft Racing (PWR) program. The information in this proposal only contains information that we feel confident that the APBA PWR program can deliver. There is three months preparation into this setting up this program, and the program will be up and running at APBA National Headquarters in just a few weeks. This program is set-up in the best interest of the promoters, racers and the rest of the racing community. All APBA promoters will receive full voting privileges and will be the key decision makers into all aspects of how the program will be set-up and organized.
There are many benefits to being associated with the APBA. One of the most obvious benefits is that we will be part of a million dollar operation, and we would immediately have an office, staff to process memberships and insurance, and we would save hundreds of thousands of dollars in overhead costs – things we could not afford as a stand-alone organization. Another benefit is that while the APBA is the sanctioning body, the PWR promoters and the committees and advisory board it elects, will have total control over how the program will be organized, technical rules, classes, how national champions will be determined, etc. Another benefit is that the APBA program is set up and ready to go. While we will not be in the APBA offices for a few weeks, the promoters, together with the APBA PWR staff, can begin working on the details of the program right now. The APBA program will not cost the promoters a penny of their money to be involved with the program. The final key benefit is that the manufactures support this program – and are willing to support the program and its events.
For more than 14 years, I have made a living off of organizing watercraft racing events. I know how to package and sell the sport to host locations and out-of-industry sponsors and I am willing to share this knowledge with you and assist you in being more successful and profitable.
My job as the APBA PWR Marketing Director will be to work for you the promoters, as well as the racers in the United States. My job is to insure the success of the race promoters, increase the exposure for our sport, develop marketing opportunities and increase membership. I understand the needs of the promoters. If the promoters are successful, then racing will flourish, promoters will run more events, new racers will get involved, and membership and the sport in the United States will grow.
The APBA program is moving forward and we hope that you will join us. If you have any questions about the program, please call me at (586) 598-2856. I will be around most of the weekend.
P.S. I am sorry that the proposal is so long, but I thought it was important to give you all the information I could on the program.
APBA PWR Marketing Director
AMERICAN POWER BOAT ASSOCIATION (APBA)
PERSONAL WATERCRAFT RACING (PWR) PROGRAM
The APBA Personal Watercraft Racing (PWR) program is something that was started last year by a large group of IJSBA promoters that were not happy with the direction of the IJSBA. The purpose of starting this program was to develop a program where the promoters and racers were included and participated in the decision making process of the organization - not just the manufacturers. It was restarted at the end of October when the manufacturers contacted Patrick Mell to request a proposal from the APBA concerning organizing a personal watercraft racing program for the United States. The manufacturers were no longer interested in funding the IJSBA, as they did not feel that they were not getting any return on their investment in the IJSBA. However, before they stopped supporting the IJSBA, they wanted to insure that a professional sanctioning body, capable of providing the same service and benefits to the promoters and racers in the Unites States was in place.
Patrick Mell, on behalf of the APBA, presented a proposal to the manufacturers. The summary of the proposal was to let the APBA handle the membership, sanction and insurance function and service the racers and promoters, and let the watercraft manufacturers invest their money into marketing, advertising, television, and sponsorship of promoter’s events - something that will help to promote their products and give the sport a boost. The APBA is a professional administer of racing programs and can administer the same membership and insurance program that the IJSBA was performing, without the OEM’s having to pay for it. The APBA can manage this program because the hundreds of thousands of dollars in overhead costs it takes to run a racing association are already paid by the APBA administering the other categories of boat racing.
The manufacturers agreed that the APBA would be the best organization to manage the sport of personal watercraft racing in the United States. Several manufacturers have already committed to support the program financially to help get it started and insure its success – without asking for any control over how the association is set up or the rules. The main benefit of their support is that the APBA program will have funding to hire two qualified people from the start to service the promoters, answer racer questions, and begin developing programs to market the sport. Their support will also help with cash flow, since APBA has agreed to honor IJSBA memberships until they expire if they are an IJSBA affiliate.
Not one thing has changed from the APBA personal watercraft racing plan put together by the group of IJSBA promoters last year. The promoters are key decision makers in the APBA program and will participate in all the decisions of the running of the category. By being part of the APBA program, the promoters now have the best of both worlds. The promoters can be involved with a financially stable organization that will be adequately staffed to service the promoters and racers, the promoters will participate in the organization and decision making process, and the manufacturers are interested in supporting the program - without asking for any control in the association. If the promoters choose APBA, in one week the entire race program in the U.S. could be set up and the promoters can move forward with their racing programs. The cost for the promoters to sanction a race will be less than last year and the promoters will not have to invest one penny of their own money or time to have this association.
The mission for the APBA PWR category is to be a premier provider of watercraft racing content in the world, provide a fair and stable environment for competitors, and to manage the commercial development of the sport in a manner that continuously improves the economic environment for all stakeholders
GOALS OF THE APBA PWR PROGRAM
1) Develop safety conscious, competitive racing classes that foster good competition at an affordable cost to racers.
2) Create a fair and unbiased sanctioning body to help grow the sport of personal watercraft racing.
3) Create racing classes that are in the best interest of the sport, racers and promoters that will encourage and maximize rider participation in the United States.
4) Create incentives and programs to attract new racers and members, encourage current racers to attend more events, and assist race promoters in being more successful in their promotions.
5) Create new and exciting events that will generate new interest in the sport of personal watercraft racing.
6) Develop event promotional and marketing manuals and guides to assist promoters in becoming more successful and professional in organizing their events.
7) Create a pool of qualified race officials through the development of a “key official” testing and approval process.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE APBA
The American Power Boat Association (APBA) is a governing body for power boat racing in the United States. The APBA is the oldest racing organization in the United States and in 2003 APBA celebrated its 100-year anniversary. With more than 5,000 racing members, APBA sanctions over 200 events each year for just about any motorized watercraft imaginable from Unlimited Hydroplanes to rough riding Stock Outboard boats, to maneuverable Super Light Tunnel Boats.
APBA is comprised of 13 categories, based on inboard or outboard engines and the configuration of a boats hull. These categories allow APBA to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of racers, promoters, and members. Each category determines its own rules, classes, how national champions will be determined, and elects in own rules committee members and advisory boards. The APBA does not get involved with these and other racing issues, it only insures that the category is organizing its races in a safe manner and that it is within the guidelines set by the insurance company.
The APBA is a non-profit organization that helps and assists promoters and clubs organize races. It is not a promoter of events. All of its events are run and organized by its clubs and promoters. The membership and sanction fees from the different categories of racing fund the APBA operations. In 2003, APBA events were broadcast on more than 50 nationally televised shows on Speed Channel, The Outdoor Channel, Fox Sports Net and other national and worldwide sports networks.
The APBA is not new to sanctioning personal watercraft races. The APBA ran a financially solvent personal watercraft racing program from 1989 to 1993 with no outside funding from the watercraft manufacturers. In 1993, the APBA PWR program had 1500 racing members – about the same number there are today in the United States. The APBA, together with some of the best promoters in the country, sanctioned and promoted the first all-brand watercraft races between 1988 and 1993. Events including the Yamaha Hot Water Tour, Busch World Cup, Ford Great Lakes Challenge Series and the BC Racing California Series were just a few of the successful APBA PWR events.
The APBA can administer the same sanction, insurance, and membership functions like the old IJSBA to promoters and racers in the United States. The APBA can provide these services in a more efficient manner than the IJSBA, as it is already performing these functions for 13 different categories of boat racing. The APBA program can provide all the similar benefits that IJSBA members currently receive including rulebook, membership card, participant accident coverage, member discounts, magazine, etc. It can also provide all the same benefits to regional promoters including comprehensive and competitive spectator liability and participant accident coverage, as well as marketing, public relations and sponsorship support. The staff, offices, computer systems, membership programs and other equipment are all in place and ready to go. The entire program will be completely set-up and running in a few weeks.
The American Power Boat Association (APBA)
· Founded in 1903.
· Oldest racing organization in the United Stated (just celebrated its 100th anniversary)
· World recognized authority for boat racing in the United States.
· Sanctions over 200 water related events annually right now.
· Strong International ties with national authorities throughout the World.
· Non-profit status.
· Headquartered in the Metropolitan Detroit Area.
The APBA Can Provide:
· Large modern 8000 square foot offices with board room (its paid for).
· A financially stable association to manage the sport.
· Offices for PWC racing program staff.
· Full staff to administer memberships and sanctions.
· Comprehensive Insurance Program.
· National Ranking System with staff to administer the program.
· Membership Benefits.
· Regional and National Racing Program.
· Association Magazine or Jetsports Magazine to be “Official Publication”.
· Opportunity to Cross Promote PWC Racing with successful APBA Racing events.
OFFICE AND EQUIPMENT
The APBA PWR program will be run out the APBA National Headquarters in Eastpointe, Michigan – located in the Metropolitan Detroit area. The APBA’s modern 8,000 square foot office is paid for and includes a large boardroom for meetings and a huge fireproof storage room for storing important documents like contracts and waivers and releases. In addition to the building, all the necessary equipment to run the program like copy machines, postage machines, phone system, membership equipment and custom software, card printers are already in place and ready to go. The equipment plus all the necessary overhead items like electricity, heat, DSL Internet service, property taxes, building maintenance, etc are already paid by the other categories. If total, these items would cost a stand-alone association hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
APBA Office hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday - Friday.
HOW THE APBA PWR PROGRAM WOULD OPERATE
Before we begin to talk about the program, it is important that you understand what the APBA does and how it operates. The APBA is an efficient and professional administer of boat racing programs and events. It is a service organization - not a promoter. Promoters just like you, as well as clubs and cities run all of its events. Many of the larger racing series, like the Unlimited and Formula One events, have separate companies and promoters set up to organize each event. The category organizes the different companies and promoters to promote each individual event – similar to the current organization of the National Tour (except they have sponsorship money and television). The APBA provides services to its event organizers to put on the events by providing insurance, membership processing, mailing services, staffing, office space, and structure for its individual categories to manage their programs.
The APBA is funded by the membership and sanction fees from its events. All of the individual programs contribute a small portion of the membership and sanction fees to APBA’s overhead, and they all benefit from being part of a million dollar operation. The only reason APBA can administer this new watercraft racing program is because they already have all the membership personnel, accountants, insurance and sanction processors, High Point program administrators, receptionists, etc. already on staff, as well as a 8,000 square foot office that is paid for. A half-million dollars in overhead costs to run the PWC association are already covered.
While the APBA is the sanctioning body, the APBA basically gives each category of racing control over the organization of that category. The APBA Personal Watercraft Racing (PWR) program is the 14th category of APBA racing. Rules, classes, how championships and national rankings are determined, national events, etc., will be decided by the categories own Technical Rules Committee and Advisory Board. The category can determine how rules are to be decided either by the promoters, a vote of the PWR membership, or some other type of committee. The APBA staff will process the memberships, sanction and insurance, provide office space for the PWR category at the Metropolitan Detroit area national headquarters, as well as provide basic office, accounting, and staffing assistance.
The APBA PWR category will concentrate exclusively on the business and complexities of regional and professional watercraft racing. The PWR category staff’s job is to service the PWR promoters and racers and assist the promoters with increasing the exposure and marketability of the sport. The PWR category staff will handle the day-to-day operation of the category, racer phone calls, manage the website, rulebook, develop marketing programs, and work with its promoters on the development of new events and ideas to better the sport. The APBA PWR program will organize and assist its racing promoters, enforce the rules of competition in the United States and determine class structure for the races in the United States. It will also explore new markets for racing and plans for the long-term success of the sport by attracting more fans and sponsors. This will not be done overnight, but a strong and realistic business plan can begin to move the sport in the right direction.
The APBA PWR program will allow racing in the United States to continue just as it has in the past. The top priority of the APBA PWR program is to finalize the insurance program for the regional race promoters and set up the staff and membership program to be able to effectively service the promoters and racers. The insurance program will be able to take care of the insurance needs in the United States for the national and regional events, as well as provide insurance for the World Finals, as long as the World Finals continues to take place in the United States. APBA events and promoters will follow the IJSBA rulebook, however, the APBA will set up its own technical committee to look out for the best interest of the riders and promoters in the United States. For 2004, this committee will consist of all the APBA promoters. The top priority of the is committee will be to determine racing classes offered at national and regional events in the United States, determine the qualifying system for the World Finals and determine if the promoters want to have a National Tour in 2004 or work together to create other events.
SANCTION, INSURANCE AND MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
General Sanction Guidelines
The sanction of an APBA event will be granted by the APBA based on the information supplied by the promoter and the quality of events previously promoted. The APBA must insure that the promoter has the skill and experience to conduct events in a safe and professional manner. (This is basically the same as in the IJSBA rulebook) To be considered for sanction, a promoter must:
1) Meet APBA equipment requirements such as buoys, starting gate, etc.
2) Adhere to the APBA/IJSBA Competition Rulebook.
3) Meet APBA race operation practices as defined in the APBA Event Guide.
4) Provide proper insurance and sanction paperwork, as well as payment for sanction and insurance, to APBA Headquarters in the specified time frame.
5) Not have any outstanding debts with other sanctioning bodies for sanction, insurance or membership dues. These issues must be resolved before APBA will sanction a promoter.
The sanction fees for the APBA personal watercraft racing division have been set at $300 per event. The APBA has agreed that it is not fair to charge an additional $300 to those promoters running a double round event in a weekend. So, for those promoters running a double event, the sanction fee for the second event in a weekend would be an additional $100 for the additional work tabulating points. The APBA sanction fee will be $50 less than last year for single round events, and $300 less for those promoters running double round events.
The APBA Insurance program is all set up. Promoters can purchase insurance for their events right now. There are many benefits to the APBA insurance program including good rates and coverage, reputable insurance carrier, no upfront promoter costs, and the rates will stay the same whether there are 5 or 15 promoters in the program. The following are highlights of the program.
Highlights of the APBA Insurance program:
· The APBA’s insurance is provided through American Specialty Insurance Services (ASIS).
· The standard liability coverage is $1,000,000 and they are working on the rate for $2,000,000, $3,000,000, etc in case the site requires a higher limit. The IJSBA’s previous policy with Rand gave you an option of $1,000,000 or $5,000,000. So, if you only needed $2,000,000 you still had to pay for $5,000,000.
· The promoters will not have to pay the APBA insurance company an administration fee, or additional upfront fees for an extra day set-up and tear-down insurance. It is included in the policy.
· This insurance program will not cost the promoters anything to participate in or to activate.
· It will not matter if there are 5 or 15 promoters, the APBA insurance cost will be the same. The promoters are being charged a rate per event and not a large flat fee split between an estimated number of events.
· I asked ASIS how soon before this policy could be set up and promoters purchase
insurance? Their answer back was “we should be ready for events occurring this weekend” SO WE ARE READY TO ROCK AND ROLL!
· Another positive note is that the APBA provides insurance for all the Canadian boat racing events. So our friends in Canada, who cannot find insurance, may also be able to benefit from the APBA insurance program.
APBA Benefits USWRA Benefits
Liability Insurance $ 1,000,000 $ 1,000,000
P/A Deductible $ 2,000 $ 2,500
P/A Policy Limit $ 20,000 $ 25,000
AD & D $ 1,000 Unknown
First Day $ 623 Unknown
Each Additional Day $ 391 Unknown
A one-day APBA event is $623 and two-day event is $1014. I believe the 2003 IJSBA rates were $730 for a one-day and $1150 for a two-day event. However, the IJSBA rate factored in an $18 per rider fee, so the APBA rate is actually much better than the IJSBA rate.
INSURANCE RATE COMPARISON
APBA INSURANCE RATES
Upfront Costs to promoters $0
Insurance Fee Rider Cost Total Cost
APBA One-Day Event $ 623 $ 0 $ 623
APBA Two-Day Single Event $ 1014 $ 0 $ 1014
APBA 2-Day Double Round $ 1014 $ 0 $ 1014
Note: APBA rates do not change based on the number of riders.
If a one-time $20 fee was charged per rider to their membership (like the IJSBA has done the last two years), we could reduce the final insurance cost to the promoter by an estimate of $400 per event. So a one day event would cost $223 for insurance and a two-day event $614. We would be able to have a great rate without charging the riders $7.00 per roundThe good thing about this is that even if there were only 10 promoters on board and we had fewer races, this reduction in insurance cost would probably be about the same. See calculations below:
USWRA INSURANCE RATES
Upfront Costs to Promoters
· Cost to activate policy $ 10,000
· Administration and other fees $ 2,350
Rates below assume $7 per rider per round as presented in the USWRA proposal.
Insurance Fee Rider Cost Total Cost
USWRA One-Day Event $ 425 $ 350 $ 775
USWRA Two-Day Single Event $ 425 $ 350 $ 775
USWRA 2-Day Double Round $ 425 $ 700 $ 1,125
Insurance Fee Rider Cost Total Cost
USWRA One-Day Event $ 425 $ 525 $ 1,150
USWRA Two-Day Single Event $ 425 $ 525 $ 1,150
USWRA 2-Day Double Round $ 425 $ 1,050 $ 1,475
Insurance Fee Rider Cost Total Cost
USWRA One-Day Event $ 425 $ 700 $ 1,125
USWRA Two-Day Single Event $ 425 $ 700 $ 1,125
USWRA 2-Day Double Round $ 425 $ 1,400 $ 1,825
Insurance Fee Rider Cost Total Cost
USWRA One-Day Event $ 425 $ 875 $ 1,500
USWRA Two-Day Single Event $ 425 $ 875 $ 1,500
USWRA 2-Day Double Round $ 425 $ 1,750 $ 2,175
Concerns about the USWRA Rand Insurance Policy
· From what I understand, the IJSBA paid Rand a flat rate no matter how many events were run. The IJSBA then estimated the number of races it predicted it would have in a year to figure out a rate. The IJSBA was able to keep the rate down for the promoters by charging each racer $18. The USWRA has yet to tell the promoters what the rate is if they just purchase the insurance and do not charge the racers a fee. This would give a better comparison of the rates and the cost the promoters are paying.
· Are the promoters paying a flat fee to Rand for insurance with an estimated rate per event, or is this the rate per event no matter how many events the USWRA holds?
· If only half the promoters join the USWRA will the rates still be the same or double?
· Do the promoters come up with the entire $12,350 to give the insurance company before the policy will become active?
· How many promoters currently have $ 1,235 to put up to activate the insurance?
· Charging the racers a fee per round for participant accident insurance is something that is not normal practice with insurance companies, since they have no idea if or when they will get their money. Potential legal issues could arise if someone got hurt and did not pay the insurance fee plus the added paperwork for having to supply the names of all the people that paid at each race. Another potential problem is if a racer tries to use the Rand policy instead of his own insurance because he feels he has paid for it. If he has other insurance he cannot use this policy. Most racers will not be happy with having to pay $7 to $14 extra per weekend.
The membership fee to the racers will be competitive to what the membership fee was last year. The final membership fee will depend on if an insurance fee will need to be added to the membership dues to subsidize and reduce the cost to the promoters for participant accident coverage. The APBA will also offer a single event membership fee that will be $15.
Current IJSBA Memberships
As an affiliate of the new IJSBA, the APBA has agrees to honor IJSBA membership cards and all IJSBA current members will be recognized as current members until their expiration date. Riders would then need to become members of the APBA. The APBA would work with the IJSBA to make sure that this transition goes without problems for the promoters and racers.
The APBA will offer similar benefits to members including membership card, rulebook, decals, magazine, discounts, comprehensive insurance program, etc.
· Membership card
· Racing License
· APBA Racing Insurance Program
· Rental Car and Hotel Discounts
· Discounts on Merchandise
Magazine – The APBA publishes its own monthly magazine, however, we think it would be better for the members to work with the AWA and Jetsports or produce our own magazine. The APBA has submitted a proposal to the AWA for both organizations to continue to cross promote racing and recreational events. In the proposal, the APBA requested that the AWA would guarantee a certain number of pages are dedicated for racing coverage in Jetsports, with expanded coverage of big events like the World Finals. Space would also be made available for the promoter’s contact info and race schedules in each issue. I know that Jetsports has been very week recently, however, we feel that working with the AWA and Jetsports would be in our best interest for 2004. At the end of the season we can elect to produce a separate “racing only” magazine for the 2005 season.
FUNDING THE APBA PWR PROGRAM
Because we are part of the APBA, the majority of the overhead costs to run the program are covered. To fund the PWR program, a percent from each membership and sanction fee will go toward the overhead of the APBA, while the balance of the income received from memberships and sanctions will go to run the PWR category. This is a great deal for the program, which allows us to be part of a million dollar operation for a small contribution to APBA’s overhead. The PWR category would be responsible for all its own expenses related to operating the PWR program and servicing the promoters and racing members. All income generated for the though programs such as supporting member programs, magazine or yearbook advertising, etc. would go toward the category. These programs, if successful, will allow funding to hire additional staff. There is no cost to watercraft manufacturers to pay to play, but the manufacturers will be encouraged to participate in supporting the APBA's marketing programs and the APBA PWR promoter’s events. Several manufacturers have already stated that they will support the APBA PWR program, and we are hopeful that all five manufacturers will help support the program. This funding will allow the program to be financially stable from the beginning and provide funding to hire an Event and Marketing Coordinator without having to wait for cash flow from membership and sanction fees.
Managing a racing program takes a substantial amount of work and there must be a professional full-time staff to service the promoters and answer racer questions. One of the number one benefits of being associated with the APBA is that there will be an immediate full-time office staff to run the program. This is something that we would never be able to afford to have as a stand-alone association relying on membership and sanction income for funding. The APBA National Headquarters staff can take care of the membership and insurance functions, leaving the PWR staff to service the promoters, answer racers questions, and work on important projects like setting up the rule and advisory boards and beginning to solicit out-of-industry support of our sport. Mike Remar has submitted his resume for the Event and Marketing Coordinator position. We can not afford to hire an advertising agency or put one on retainer at this time to solicit sponsorship for a National Tour. However, we will contact individuals and companies that sell sponsorship for other APBA events willing to work on a straight commission.
APBA Headquarters Staff
Gloria Urbin Administrative Director
Cindy Minoletti High Points
Joanne Vollmer Sanctions and Insurance
Patricia Langlois Memberships/Customer Service
Sabrina Haudek Memberships/Customer Service
Patty Malic Accounting
Tarra Moore Magazine
Tom Watson Insurance Manager
APBA PWR Staff
Patrick Mell APBA PWR Marketing Director
Michael Remar APBA PWR Event and Marketing Coordinator
Volunteer Rules Committee
Volunteer Advisory Board
Staff Background Information
Patrick Mell – APBA PWR Marketing Director
Patrick Mell has 14 years experience in the personal watercraft racing industry. Patrick served as the Marketing Manager of the APBA personal watercraft-racing program from 1989-1993. Patrick developed the first all-brand PWC racing program for APBA and successfully developed, from the ground up, a financially solvent PWR program with no manufacturer funding. This program ran successfully for 4 years and had 1,500 members in 1993 – about the same number there are today. The APBA program was cancelled in 1993 when the IJSBA opened its doors to brands other than Kawasaki and the other OEM’s joined the IJSBA as supporting members.
From 1990 to present, Patrick has been organizing and promoting successful watercraft racing and non-racing events. Patrick has produced or co-produced more than 100 watercraft events including the Monster Energy Midwest Watercross Tour, Pro Watercross Tour, Ford Great Lakes Challenge Tour, AWA National PWC Jamboree, Great Lakes PWC Rally Series, World Finals Poker Run and many IJSBA National Tour events. Patrick has solicited more than two million dollars in cash and in-kind sponsorship money for personal watercraft racing events.
In 2003, the IJSBA established a Promoter Advisory Board. The Board was made up of three representatives voted on by the other promoters. Patrick received 7 votes. The closest other promoter received 4 votes. Patrick is the only current IJSBA promoter that has been able to make a living solely from watercraft promotions, due to his ability to find funding and support from host sites and companies outside of the industry. Patrick was also hired as a consultant to the IJSBA for the 2003 season.
Patrick has a Bachelors degree in Marketing and a Masters degree in Finance.
Michael Remar - APBA PWC Racing Event and Marketing Coordinator
Mike Remar is very well known in the racing community and has been an active advocate and supporter of personal watercraft racing for more than 10 years. Mike has been involved with the sport of personal watercraft racing as a racer since 1995, and has been riding watercraft since 1977. Mike has announced more than 75 watercraft racing events including the World Finals the last four years, as well as numerous motocross, Snowcross, and Arenacross events. Mike is very knowledgeable of the sport and IJSBA rules and will need very little training to be able to effectively service the U.S. racing community.
In addition to his knowledge and experience in watercraft racing, Mike’s employment as a school teacher for 5 years, Manager and Marketing Director of a powersports dealership for 4 years, and his excellent sales, writing, computer, and communication skills will make him a positive asset to the APBA PWR Team.
Mike has a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences and a Masters Degree in Economics.
All events for 2004 will be considered regional events and receive regional points regardless if a National Tour can be salvaged for 2004. This is the same as last year where national events also counted toward qualifying and regional championships.
Awarding Race Dates
This is something that needs to be worked on ASAP. There are currently 4 or 5 regions where there is a conflict of dates, and there is no sanctioning body in place to try to resolve these issues. There must be a structured and a professional sanctioning body that can work together with the promoters to solve these problems. We as promoters need to put together the policy to follow for awarding dates. For now, the fairest thing to do is to follow the previous IJSBA policy. However, the first and easiest solution is that we try to work together to resolve the issues.
Qualifying for the World Finals
The IJSBA has said that it would be up to the US affiliate to determine the qualifying process for the World Finals. The easiest thing to do would be to follow the 2003 qualifying system. This is some nothing that the promoters need to decide and it needs to be done ASAP.
A “National Tour” fulfills an important and much needed role in the advancement of the sport as a professional sport entity. The growth and further advancement of this sport as a professional sports property is directly dependent on the support and success of a national circuit. Currently there are no sponsors knocking down the door to sponsor these events or any manufacturers really interested in a National Tour (at least the way it was organized last year).
Most sponsors want an event to be successful before they are willing to jump on board as a major sponsor. I have talked to many out-of-industry companies about sponsoring a National Watercross series and the number one reason that these companies have no interest in getting involved is the lack of any spectators. Until we can build a spectator base, by either having an advertising budget to attract spectators, or running races in conjunction with established events or festivals that already have a spectator base, it will be hard to find a high-dollar sponsor.
Based on recent National events that have taken place there is no good track record or a strong following of riders. I am sure we all agree that the 2003 IJSBA National Tour was not where we all feel a series of this magnitude should be. However, if the promoters want to have a National Tour for 2004 we can. However, me must be realistic and understand that the chance of securing a big out-of-industry at the time is slim. If we are going to do this we need to begin today.
Here is proposed way to have a National Tour that hopefully establishes a program that will attract sponsors to our sport in the future. There are 15 promoters and all should have a chance to bid on hosting an event.
Proposed Organizational Plan
· Develop minimum standards and expectations from regional promoters.
· Allow all promoters to turn in a bid to host an event.
· Let promoters choose best 6-8 events.
· Develop completion deadlines and worksheets for regional promoters to insure all promoters are doing their jobs and that all events will be professional and successful.
· Create opportunities for regional promoters to help sell their events and be profitable.
· Create incentives for regional promoters to improve the professionalism of their events.
· Create marketing fund for posters, PR, etc.
· Create series finale awards ceremony and trophy fund.
APBA RULES COMMITTEE AND ADVISORY BOARDS
Before we begin to discuss the proposed APBA Rules Committees, Advisory Boards and decision-making process, we must first all understand that by becoming an International Affiliate of the IJSBA, we are agreeing to follow the IJSBA rulebook. The promoters will have total control over what classes we offer in the United States, how national champions will be determined, if we want to organize a National Tour, etc., however, the IJSBA’s Rules Committee will determine the World Finals classes and technical rules that we must follow (i.e. what you can do to a Limited boat). We of course will work together with the IJSBA on these issues, but it will be the IJSBA Rules Committee that will make the final decision.
The rules for every APBA PWR category, and how the decision making process will be set up, is up to the category to decide. Some categories have elected boards and committees, and some have all the members of the category vote on the rules and policies. We, the promoters, are in total control of how we set up this process and the procedures for making rules. It is up to the APBA and the APBA PWR staff to provide the structure and collect all the information and present it to the promoters, committees, and members to vote on. The APBA only gets involved if a rule or policy change is related to safety or insurance.
While it is completely up to the promoters to decide how these committees are organized, we are proposing that we do exactly what the previous group of promoters discussed doing with the APBA program last year. Due to timing, the Rules Committee for 2004 will be made and approved by a Rules Committee consisting of the APBA promoters. The main objectives of the 2004 Committee will be to determine the 2004 U.S. regional racing classes, how U.S. National Championships will be determined, and evaluate event and marketing opportunities that can be organized for the 2004 season. In 2005, a new committee will be established and will be put in place by the end of August 2004. The 2005 APBA PWR Rules Committee will be made up of various stakeholders from the racing community such as promoters, racers, aftermarket representatives and manufacturers' representatives. This will give the program credibility and respect from the entire industry.
Proposed APBA PWR Competition Rules Committee Members
Year 1 - 2004
· Each signed on APBA PWR promoter will receive one vote on the Rules Committee.
· There will be one APBA PWR staff vote on the Rules Committee that will only vote in the case of a tie.
Year 2 - 2005
· 3 - Watercraft Manufacturers – These positions would be appointed by the OEM's.
· 1 - APBA PWR Staff - This position will be appointed by the APBA. This person will be the tie-breaking vote in case of a tie.
· 3 - Promoter Representatives - Voted on by the current APBA PWR promoters. Term one year and not eligible for next year unless no other promoter is interested in sitting on the Rules Committee.
· 3 - Aftermarket Representatives - Voted on by the current Aftermarket Supporting Members. Term one year – not eligible to run the following season.
· 3 - Racer Representatives - Voted on by the current APBA PWR membership. No more than one representative per APBA region. Term one year – not eligible to run again for 3 years.
2005 Proposed APBA PWR Rules Committee and Procedures
While the promoters can choose to make and control the rules, we would gain a lot more support and respect from the industry and the racers if we set up a Rules Committee based on other successful sanctioning bodies like the AMA. Below is a description of the proposed 2005 Rules Committee.
The APBA PWR Rules Committee will be made up of various stakeholders from the racing community such as promoters, racers, aftermarket representatives and manufacturers' representatives. Each of the 10-15 members will be appointed by the APBA and/or voted on by the various groups they represent. Several meetings will be held by the Rules Committee members at various racing events, the APBA annual meeting, through conference calls, and on a private Internet forum to discuss the proposals and then provide recommendations to improve APBA PWR Racing.
The rules-making procedure will begin with proposals that originate from a variety of sources; staff, competitors, team representatives, manufacturers and advisory board members. Any realistic proposal in writing will be submitted first to the APBA. The next step is a compilation and review of the proposals by the APBA staff. Then a summary and recommendations concerning each proposal are created and sent to the Rules Committee by the APBA staff. The Rules Committee will then discuss and vote on the proposals at their next meeting or via the Internet.
Those proposals that are accepted by the Rules Committee will then be subject to a 14-day comment period. Any licensed racer or credential holder may comment on the proposals through a secure section on the APBA website or by returning a comment form which is mailed out at the beginning of the comment period. When the comment period expires, all comments are compiled by the APBA staff and sent to the Rules Committee for final review. If there is no enormous public outcry to change or reject the proposals, they will then become "the law" on their effective dates.
Rules need to be written for the best interest of the sport. As we develop these and future rules and policies we must consider the following questions:
1) How does the rule change impact on the current racing classes?
2) Will the rule change hurt or help participation in racing?
3) What financial impact will the rule change have on racers?
4) Will the rule change make racing more competitive?
5) Will the rule change have a positive impact on racing?
6) Is the rule change in the best interest of the sport?
7) Is it the right thing to do?
There are many different reasons and explanations why the sport has declined in popularity, and financial support from industry and out-of-industry companies has fallen off the map. While we can ponder and point fingers into why the sport has fallen to where it is today, we need to focus our efforts on plans and strategies to turn the sport around. We need to take everything that has happened in the past and throw it out the window and start from scratch. We need to think fresh, create events and marketing programs that will insure a future for the sport, help promoters be more successful and attract more riders and out-of-industry sponsors. We, as a group of promoters, that understand the sport and our businesses, need to work together to turn the sport around and get it moving in the other direction.
APBA PWR Advisory Board
An APBA PWR Advisory Board will be set up to discuss ways to take the sport to the next level and increase exposure for the sport, marketing, television, creation of new events and event concepts, etc. The APBA Advisory Board will be made up of various stakeholders from the racing community such as racers, promoters, aftermarket representatives and manufacturers' representatives. We should begin immediately to put together this committee and set up a private forum for this Advisory Board to begin discussing ways to take the sport to the next level.
One of the important roles of the APBA PWR staff is to search and solicit out-of-industry support for our sport. This is something that will take lots of work and creative ideas. The APBA PWR staff will work with other APBA events and advertising agencies to solicit sponsorship of watercraft events like the National Tour. The chance of securing a major sponsor for a National Tour in 2004 is slim, and we will concentrate more on the 2005 season. If funding is secured for these events, the APBA will work with the current APBA promoters to organize the events. The APBA has no plans on running any racing events. All promoters will be given an equal opportunity to participate in these programs should funding become available.
In addition to trying to find support for a National Tour and other events, another important role of the APBA PWR staff will be to help its promoters with securing sites and sponsors. While the APBA PWR staff will not write site and sponsor proposals for the promoters, the APBA will provide consultation and sample proposals to find this support. A sponsorship and promotion manual will be produced for the promoters – this is something that is already complete and it just needs to be updated.
Grassroots Marketing Campaign
It is a huge problem that most people do not even know that they can race a watercraft. Because of this, it is important that we develop a grassroots marketing campaign to promote racing through the industry magazines, dealerships and performance shops. The basic theme of the campaign will be "So your boat goes fast, but can you ride it?" We already have the support for this program from industry companies and the industry magazines and it could be turned around pretty quickly.
1) Advertising – I have already talked to the industry magazines and they are receptive to helping our cause. Industry magazines will give us free advertising space and the APBA would give them benefits like website links and include a subscription form inside the racers membership package.
2) Posters – The second part of this grassroots marketing campaign will be to produce posters and pamphlets to place in dealerships and performance shops. I have already talked to several potential industry companies that will help fund this program if we put their logo on the posters. I will also work with the OEM’s to mail the posters to all their dealers.
3) Internet Banner Ads – The final part will be to work with the industry websites, manufacturers and aftermarket companies to place banners ads on the campaign.
Opportunities to Participate in Other APBA Events
There are many opportunities to work with current APBA events and clubs to promote watercraft racing events. Many of these events are looking for fill for their larger events while other events may be interested in expanding the event to a multiple weekend event. Participation in these events would be up to the promoter and APBA would never require a promoter to get involved with another event. However, if an opportunity arose where PWC racing could be added to an APBA event like the Benicia race, Laughlin Formula One Boat race, or Motosurf event in Oceanside last year – that is a good thing. The better thing is that they usually pay you money to be part of their show. The PWR staff would contact the other APBA events and see if they are interested in adding PWC racing to their events and then put them in touch with the regional promoter where the event takes place.
There are also lots of old APBA events and clubs that may be interested in hosting a watercraft race. Some of the APBA events are very expensive to host, but to put $5000 or $10,000 toward a watercraft race may be within their budgets. We will work with the promoters to search for old APBA host sites in your region.
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