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"FIM Motocross Grand Prix Returns to Thailand"
Grand Prix motorcycle racing comes to Thailand for the second time on 7-9th March 2014.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural round at Sri Racha, less than two hours from Bangkok’s main airport, the high-flying, hardcore FIM Motocross World Championship (MXGP) circus will again be thrilling tens of thousands of local spectators as well as a massive global TV audience. It will also be throwing a very bright spotlight on the host country, showcasing Thailand’s ability to organize and host major international events, while blending in its unique national charm and sense of fun.
Hosting a world championship motorsport event places huge demands on host countries and organisers. Developing a challenging and spectacular course while meeting FIM safety requirements is just where it begins. The location of the track needs ideally to be within a two hour transfer time from a major international airport and the local infrastructure needs to consist of good roads and plenty of international quality hotel accommodation.
Thailand, with its highly developed tourist industry, meets the infrastructural requirements easily. Locating the track less than 100 kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Chonburi, home to Thailand’s fastest growing commercial and tourist centres, means that convenience, comfort and good times await international visitors.
The Federation of Motorsport Club of Thailand (FMSCT) has more than three decades of experience in motocross, during which time it developed a thriving national championship and many courses all over the Kingdom. Local motocross events commonly attract 5,000 - 10,000 spectators, so the sport already has a large, knowledgeable audience in Thailand.
Combining FMSCT’s expertise with that of MXGP’s global promoter, Youthstream, produced results that surpassed expectations for the first event and have given the organisers a sound platform for 2014.
As with MotoGP, World Superbikes and Formula One, the dominance of European teams and riders led to the majority of rounds being hosted close to home. However, increasing financial demands and slowing, often stricken western economies mean that promoters have looking at their sports through a more commercial lens in recent years. The fast growing economies of Asia, and South America, together with the sheer size of their populations have created hungry new audiences and customer markets for sponsors to target. When it comes to reaching into developing countries, MXGP leads the way, with rounds in Qatar, two in Brazil, one in Mexico and one in Ukraine as well as Thailand.
One big number from Repucom’s media evaluation of the 2013 MXGP championship makes it easy to understand why it has expanded into Asia. That number is 962 million and it is how many TV viewers in the 24 countries which make up Asia-Pacific-Oceana watched the series last season. That is a staggering 77.2 percent of the global audience of 1.2 billion. In addition, thousands of motocross fans from all over Asia poured into Thailand to watch the event live. On that evidence alone more rounds in the region can be expected in the near future.
The largest group of travelling fans are likely to be from Indonesia. Irsam Soetarto, of Aneka Kartika Tours and Travel Services brought a group of 19 with him in 2013 and will bring more with him this year.
“It was a privilege to watch those amazing crossers in action at such close range. It literally blew us away and we had a fantastic time on and off track,” he explained. “This year we expect to bring around 40 people from many of Indonesia’s major cities, such as Surabaya, Bandung and Jakarta. It’s a real highlight for our year of travel and events and so much fun mixing with fans from Thailand and all over the world.
The trip is a very easy one, continued Soetarto, ”A three-and-a-half hour flight and then within two hours of landing we are in our hotel close to the track. The organisers made us feel so welcome and they really know how to put on a show.”
The local value enjoyed by sponsors was also impressive for an inaugural world championship round. Of all the participating countries Thailand was second only to France in the amount of TV coverage, at 483 minutes, with 5.7 million local viewers enjoying the season’s action.
Looking at the 2013 Thai MXGP in isolation, there was 228 minutes of TV coverage and a total of 83.6 million viewers. That coverage included more than four hours of TV ‘postcards’ which showcased Thailand as the host country.
The countdown has begun to arguably the most important event in Thailand’s sporting calendar, taking place on 7-9th January, just one week after the first round in Qatar.
ThaiMXGP Media accreditation is open until 21st February contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets are on sale at http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/sport/sport-detail.php?sid=2201
More info. www.ThaiMXGP.com
ThaiMXGP News Released: 24 January 2014
Text: Barry Russell, email@example.com
Image: TON MotoGraphy, firstname.lastname@example.org
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