(1) Concept. The AMA Supercross series and MX Sports Pro Motocross series have long been run as two separate entities with very little cross-pollination. For long-time fans this was standard procedure, but it’s strange for outsiders who know nothing about the two disciplines. The idea for creating the SuperMotocross Championship didn’t come from either party; it came from high-level TV executives.

(2) Mending the relationship. The 2020 pandemic was the catalyst for opening a new line of communication between Supercross promoter Feld Motorsports and National promoter MX Sports. They worked together to complete a 17-round Supercrosss and nine-round outdoor National series in a year when most sports were forced to cancel their plans.

(3) Partnership. The incentive to work together on a unified TV package came in 2021 when NBC dropped its NBC Sports channel, leaving the AMA Nationals in search of a new TV contract at the same time that Supercross was trying to iron out its future TV contracts as well. High-ranking TV executives advised that a playoff-style series and a Super Bowl-like season finale would make it easier to sell dirt bike racing to a network and better for garnering new fans.

(4) Broadcasting. For the 2023 season, the Supercross series, National Motocross Championship and the three SuperMotocross playoff races will all be live streamed in the U.S. on the NBC-owned Peacock streaming service, with select races shown on linear TV by NBC and the USA Network. For international viewers, there will be an SMX video pass available in 140 countries.

(5) Compromise. To accommodate the added three-race playoff series, one round was trimmed from the Pro Motocross series, bringing it to 11 races. Instead of trimming the 17-round Supercross series, the Supercross promoters agreed to refrain from bringing back the Monster Cup, which died of COVID and hasn’t been held since 2019. The total number of races is up from 29 races in 2022 to 31 races in 2023.

(6) Risk vs. reward. Motorcycle racing is dangerous, and more races could lead to more injuries; however, we must remember that riders get hurt training just as often as they do racing. Even if there were fewer races, riders would still be on their bikes year-round, accumulating injuries in the pursuit of becoming better racers.

(7) New Supercross venues. The previous Petco Park Supercross round in downtown San Diego was moved 7 miles north to the suburbs at Snapdragon Stadium, a brand-new venue built right next to the demolished Qualcomm Stadium (which hosted its last Supercross in 2014). There are two races at Anaheim this year (instead of three) and Tampa, Florida, is back. The Gillette Stadium round in Foxborough, Massachusetts, was moved back to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The St. Louis round was switched out for a Nashville Supercross.

(8) The playoff format. The stated goal of the SuperMotocross Championship (SMX) is to keep fans engaged in the series for nine months straight; the unstated goal is to keep the riders busy racing in the USA so that they won’t switch to the competing World Super Championship (WSX). The combined points from SX and MX will determine the top-20 riders who qualify for the three playoffs rounds. The top 20 in combined SX and MX points will come into the playoffs with points equal to those accumulated in one race. For example, Eli Tomac won both Championships in 2022, but instead of coming into the playoffs with over a 100 more points than fourth place, he would come in with 26 points (equal to one Supercross win). Chase Sexton would come in with 23 points, and the rider ranked 20th would start the series with 3 points. If Eli Tomac wins the Supercross title by the same margin in 2023 but doesn’t race outdoors, he could still qualify for the SMX series on Supercross points alone.

(9) Payout. The top 40 riders in the Supercross night show and in the outdoor Nationals have always been paid, but it wasn’t enough to brag about. The top riders have big-money salaries, factory bonuses, and sponsorship deals. The rest of the field are lucky if they make enough money to get to the next race. For 2023, the SX and MX promoters are offering a 10-million-dollar purse. This takes the current $3.4 million in combined purse money for SX and MX and adds $1.1 million. The remaining $5.5 million is put into the three-race SuperMotocross playoff rounds.

(10) Tailored points. To keep the riders pushing through the final three SMX rounds, the points will be tailored. The first SMX playoff race will score normal points for a Supercross main event. The second playoff race will pay double points, and the season finale will award triple points. This makes each playoff race a must-win situation, adding to the drama.

Sept. 9…Concord, NC
Sept. 16…Joliet, Il
Sept. 23…Los Angeles, CA



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