Superbike racing, while unquestionably popular in Europe, continues to face an uphill task of garnering more public support. In Italy, for example, the Superbike World Championship (SBK) has to fight for visibility in an audience with hugely popular sports like football, F1 and MotoGP.
But an all-women team of five students from Italy's Universita Guido Carli (LUISS), who recently won a Business Case competition co-sponsored by Dorna Sports, offer some solutions to the popularity issue.
SBK's values and legends
Their winning business case found that a loyal fanbase is created through key commonalities in sports: championship winning teams and individuals who make their name with surprise wins in finals and exciting stamina to pull through to victory.
They suggest that the sport should focus on building links between SBK legends and potential fans or supporters.
Social media impact
“People have clear ideas and look for a combination of information and entertainment. From this point of view, social media has an important role: it’s essential to keep up with new means of communication. Using social media to publish images and short videos of training sessions, press conferences and news eliminates barriers between sports and fans,” say the team in their study.
Television and commercial rights – symbiosis not parasitic
Critics have pointed out that Dorna Sports' monopoly of both the commercial and TV rights for Moto GP and Superbike could spell out doom for the long-term prospects of the sports.
However, the LUISS study thinks otherwise: “Through our research we learned that, despite an initial tendency to think that there is competition between the two categories, you must also keep in mind that Dorna has every intention of keeping the two series separate and taking advantage of that synergy.”
The research focused on internet, social media and specialised magazines and weeklies, where it was found that SBK has thrived. Surveys with fans and industry people revealed that SBK requires a great deal of technological innovation that reflects, for example, on the bikes, the uniforms and protective gear, all raising ticket prices for the fans.