AMA Pro Racing and SPEED announced today an innovative and unprecedented new programming format that will see 2009 AMA Pro Road Racing events, highlight coverage of other AMA Pro disciplines and a variety of in-studio and at-event features showcased every Saturday evening in the AMA Pro Prime Time show on America's leading motorsports television channel.
The 26-week run for AMA Pro Prime Time begins March 21, and will air every Saturday night on SPEED at 10 or 11 p.m. ET (7 or 8 p.m. PT), with each program ranging in length from one to three hours depending on weekly content. The programming schedule will feature flag-to-flag coverage of every 2009 AMA Pro American Superbike and AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race, ample coverage of other AMA Pro Road Racing divisions and select exposure of other motorcycle disciplines under the organization's umbrella.
The race programming will be packaged within a studio show that will offer viewers a variety of features, including in-studio guests, expert analysis, breaking news announcements, motorcycle unveilings and much more. Popular SPEED personality Ralph Sheheen will be the in-studio host for AMA Pro Prime Time while the race coverage team will be anchored by host and play-by-play announcer Leigh Diffey, pit reporter Greg White and a to-be-named analyst.
"This is a landmark day for AMA Pro Racing television in that it combines the best of both worlds for our dedicated fans," said AMA Pro Racing President Roger Edmondson. "For the first time, viewers will know exactly when and where to tune in to not only see AMA Pro Racing but also get the latest news and information through an in-studio component that has rarely been coupled with flag-to-flag racing in the past."
Offering viewers destination television through a regular time slot has worked for numerous sports and entertainment properties in the past but has not been offered in a race event and studio format to U.S. motorcycle racing fans until now.
"This effort was a true collaboration between SPEED and the new leadership at AMA Pro," said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. "We are psyched to be able to deliver weekly appointment television to this extremely passionate audience."
In addition to AMA Pro Prime Time, additional programming on SPEED will see live coverage of the season-opening AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Daytona 200 by Honda under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, Friday, March 6, at 8:30 p.m. ET. The season-opening AMA Pro American Superbike race will be featured in the premiere of AMA Pro Prime Time on March 21.
The competition on AMA Pro Prime Time will include 39 races from both the AMA Pro American Superbike and AMA Pro Daytona SportBike classes that will air within a week or two of the actual events throughout the season.
"We can't recall a previous example of such a multi-faceted motorcycle program and we are honored to move forward with this innovative offering in partnership with our colleagues at SPEED," Edmondson said. "They obviously share our dedication to AMA Pro Racing and we want to thank them for the support as we work together to build the profile and audience of major league motorcycle racing in this country."
The 2009 AMA Pro Road Racing season will begin at Daytona International Speedway the first weekend in March. The weekend will be highlighted by the first Daytona 200 by Honda under the lights, Friday, March 6, for the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike division. The Daytona kick-off will also feature AMA Pro American Superbike competition and races for additional AMA Pro Road Racing championships.