Good News . . .

The good news for APBA and similar organizations… there will always be fast boats, people who drive them and numerous others who race ‘em. That is the advantage and the direct connection between the boat builders, their products and the performance boating lifestyle.

As to the sports racing management and leadership, I sincerely hope it comes to grips with the fact that the development and presentation of RACE PRODUCT is key and that FAN-BASE is where the true COMMERCIAL VALUE is; these are the numbers that sell across all monetized media forms. Race Product and Fan-Base development is not a celestial art or an exotic science practiced in the dark n’ dank of some basement laboratory, it is consistent communication and the provision of sport-based excitement, entertainment, social interaction with like-minded people, consuming adult beverages, cheering on and relating to their favorite race teams and forgetting for the day what comes with life routine…It’s called the Fan/Guest Experience.

And, as important as any element listed here, the sports leadership must devise and execute programs that attract, involve and hold the interest of the market we call ‘The Millennials’ and deal with this generational realignment and their dependence on social media in terms they can understand. This critically important demographic wants to believe that the sport cares about them and recognizes them as a viable and important market… When this is accomplished, in concert with our other key markets, the sport we refer to as APBA- Offshore Powerboat Racing will be well on its way to commercial success.

OPA

Thanks To The Rise Of Social Media . . . Roger Berkon

Thanks to the rise of social media, our markets crave the ability to defend their ‘buy-in’ decisions and look to their friends, on and off the ‘Inter-Web’, to reinforce their choices.

Our targeted markets aren’t just looking for great Race Product; they’re looking for the feel and a sense-of-community. They want to join a tribe of like-minded people echoing their sentiments and sharing their racing and performance powerboat lifestyle experiences. The Offshore Powerboat Racing community can be a filtering tool, a strong defense of their ‘buy-in’ decisions, and a place where our targeted markets find value in belonging.

A strong element of community has always been one of the prime elements of organization and success in the motor racing markets. Building on the efforts of community, Offshore Powerboat Racing faces the challenges of putting its Race Product in the spotlight, building a broader Fan- Base and attracting Investment in the forms of suitable Commercial Partners, Venues and Sponsors.

Building the Offshore Powerboat Racing community doesn’t have to be daunting. Instead of wondering where to begin, let’s engage with and capitalize on the behavior that exists within the Offshore Powerboat Racing base and performance boating lifestyle.

Here are my thoughts on how to get started:

Think broadly when further developing the Offshore Powerboat Racing community. Let’s throw our net wide and gather as many curious and like minds as we can. Too often we are quick to assume we know the exact individuals who will gravitate toward Offshore Powerboat Racing and the Race Product. However, it is this limited mindset that can turn off those who don’t meet our calculated demographics and this will ultimately lose Offshore Powerboat Racing exposure and potential success. Instead, lets open the door to every person who enters in order to get feedback and enthusiasm rooted in diversity… Let’s use this proactive approach to our advantage and encourage our targeted markets to share with others why they have embraced Offshore Powerboat Racing.

Let’s engage in trust building conversations with our markets. In the past it seems that Offshore Powerboat Racing relied on its Race Product to do most of its talking. Our new targeted markets are accustomed to unfettered access and two-way communication, we need to engage with our new markets from the start and keep communication lines open.

Each of us knows communication builds trust and supports a successful business community…we must become masters of the art of effective listening.

It does Offshore Powerboat Racing little good to just shout out information at our targeted markets and turn away once they respond. We cannot assume that everything we communicate through our Offshore Powerboat Racing channels will immediately make sense to the audience. Provide a platform whether social media channels, a well-monitored email address, or a carefully crafted onboarding series where our responding audience can honestly voice their ideas, concerns, and complaints. Reply to them quickly and take the feedback as actionable. When our audience feels heard, they’ll help us all point Offshore Powerboat Racing to a successful future.

Let’s put our stake in the ground and build the best Offshore Powerboat Racing and performance boating lifestyles community in motorsport.

That’s all for now. If you have read this far, I thank you for your consideration and hope we can move forward in making Offshore Powerboat Racing in the US all it can be, together and with unity.

OPA

Needlemyer’s Three Wishes . . .

Note: Before you get your ‘Tommys’ in a wad this is personal opinion, and as always, there may be one or two exceptions and certain controversy.

OK, as much as I want to say 2019 is going to be a new season and I see sporting things will be different, the stark reality is that it appears to be more of the same for Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing’s team owners, racing crews, event promoters, commercial partners, sponsors, true believers and a small but vitally important fan base. And worse yet, unless there is real change, it means more of the same from most, not all, of the sports recognized (active) US sanctioning and governing bodies whose leadership and administration continues ‘functioning’ on the margins when it comes to what is best for the commercial aspects of the Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing sport and more importantly its racing participants on all levels.

I rue the fact that the ‘sanctioning bodies’ frequently deny responsibility for race product, demand creation (marketing), promotion and sponsorship, yet deem the proprietary World Finals / Worlds Championships events as the only Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing events that matter and continue to treat most North American dues paying Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing team owners, racers and racing interests as the second-class. Yes, certainly there are exceptions but the exceptions are in the single digits and would not take up more than the space of a three-line sentence.

The absurdities of the current Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing situation are debilitating to contain and tiresome to endure.

Do I wish things were different? Yes, of course. I only want what is best for the sport . . .

I wish that the current league of Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing had more creativity and diversity of thought, and most important, a qualified leadership team as opposed to that one totally dedicated person doing all they can and a bit more, but it’s never enough… that would give Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing a legitimate commercial reason (commercial viability) for being that went beyond the status quo.

I wish the league of Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing in the US would effectively assist in the creation of celebrity of its ownership teams and drivers, garner more than a footnote of attention beyond the woeful mentions they get in the ‘trades’, local newsprint, social media or VOD, when and if any. And here, you and I know it could get far more coverage if the ‘sanctioning / officiating bodies’ were to take the lead, function as they know how to, and promote the Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing sport on a continental (North American) level.

I wish Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing in the US would take control of itself, form the referenced league, get back on a course to prosperity, and take a strong and fundamental look at what Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing is to the performance powerboat segment of the marine industry and what Open Water / Ocean Powerboat Racing needs to be to remain viable in the foreseeable future.

But until there is substantial change, a coming together of process and common objectives, my three wishes remain as the quintessential definition of mental masturbation.

And now, remembering my curfew, its back to the ship with a cold Pacifico - Captain M. Needlemeyer

OPA

The FUTURE of Offshore Powerboat Racing

Offshore Powerboat Racing’s future success, in the US, shouldn’t hinge on becoming a faux interpretation of any other water craft racing discipline just to achieve relevance again. Offshore Powerboat Racing in the US still has all the necessary resources to become a highly sought after and desired series of sporting events... It has the historical legacy, it has a treasure trove of evocative names, as well as some exciting new names. US Offshore Powerboat Racing has access to some of the best design, engineering, and engine building talent in the world… talent capable of a renaissance befitting the celebration and business of the sport.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
Charles Darwin

Offshore Powerboat Racing’s governance, sports management groups and or sanctioning bodies A, B and C, need to ask themselves the following hard question; What is Offshore Powerboat Racing? Better yet, what should Offshore Powerboat Racing be going forward? Then, instead of paying lip service to the sport they need to fully subscribe to the necessary redevelopment, because Offshore Powerboat Racing has resonance and power and a genuine historical legacy that could and should become the foundation for commercial and sporting greatness again. But unless and until there is a strategic shift in governance and management’s thinking, Offshore Powerboat Racing is destined to tread water for years to come. 

OPA

CAUTION: Before you get too far into this Off-White-Paper, please know it is fantasy cultivated in the aged and warped mind of the Captain!

THE GULF STREAM ACCORDS

Do I wish it were true? Hell yes, I do!

Over this past 2018 racing season there have been major changes in the sport of open water powerboat racing, aka; offshore powerboat racing. And, perhaps best of all during the season the changes included the merger of the creditable and ‘functioning’ racing series despite each having their own distinct cultures, personalities and challenges.

Most would say it’s an overnight success; but it has been at least fifteen years in the making. It is definitely a high-risk move considering the self-serving nature of the sport’s major participants... Egos had to be put aside, attitudes corrected, vest-pocket deals exposed, self-serving commercial interests had to be altered and quite frankly, some people didn't make the cut. It was anything but easy. The process stretched business relationships, friendships and at least two marriages, but if this merger is treated physically, intellectually and psychically with respect, and if it is well subscribed to by the key team principals it will no doubt be wildly successful. READ MORE

From time to time, the ol’ Captain is going to say what the brandishing hordes and the sports elite do not want me to say. It may be interesting to some… I am sure it will be annoying as Hell to others. Until then the men in white coats are here with an ice cold Pacifico (cerveza) and a ride back to the ship; as a matter of health and safety, I am not allowed anywhere on shore after sunset. OPA

Michigan City Grand Prix Sets All-time Record For Earnings and Attendance

MICHIGAN CITY, INDIANA – The Big Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Great Lakes Grand Prix powerboat race celebrated its milestone 10 th anniversary last month with yet another milestone – visitors to the event pumped more than $12.4 million into LaPorte County’s economy, the highest amount ever and $2 million more than last year’s event. In addition, a report summarizing the figures, released by the Visit Michigan City LaPorte, shows an all-time high attendance of more than 190,000 people for the three-day event, held Aug. 2-5. READ MORE

OPA

CART vs. IRL: Who Won the War?

The following is an article written in 2004 by Bob Zeller for Road and Track. It chronicles the creation of the IRL and the reasoning behind the creation. The lessons could be applied today to . . . READ MORE

Scott Porta

Scott Porta (pronounced: "Por-tae") began his love for boats as a young boy. He would escape from the ho-hum world of homework and chores around the house to fire . . . READ MORE

Ocean Sports Markets

Ken Miller Race Photos

We will be featuring the photos of Ken Miller in our Gallery section. While we complete our work if you would like to see additional pictures of a certain race team or race event, please view more of Ken's work at MillerRacePhotos.com

Ocean Sports Markets

Presenting - Scuderia Cazzani

Cazzani is re-entering the fray after a long hiatus. He has teamed up with Herb Stotler Racing . . . READ MORE

Ocean Sports Markets

Claudia Hoyser

Indie modern country artist Claudia Hoyser is picking up steam and quickly capturing hearts in the U.S., as well as the U.K., with her organic, swaggery, and sultry sound. READ MORE

Ocean Sports Markets

Captain David Harshfield

Captain Harshfield began his association with Offshore Powerboat Racing in 1992 as a Rescue Boat Captain and Rescue Diver with Super Boat International. READ MORE

Ocean Sports Markets

Pahokee Outpost

Ocean Sports Markets

ICON A5

The ICON A5 reinvents recreational aviation, and lets you bring the exhilaration of flight to life like never before. READ MORE

Ocean Sports Markets

Sponsors

OPA OPA

Commercial Participation and Sponsorship in Transition

We see it continually transitioning through the traditional sponsorship models; it's a global thing and not necessarily unique to the sport of powerboat racing. The corporate marketing people are looking at greater engagement, a tangible and developed race product along with return on investment. There's a monetization shift that goes with that and we fully understand it.

So, from that, we want to work with selected team owners in taking the redundancy out of how we have traditionally gone to market with limited success. It's going to take a lot from all of us, but to succeed, where others are not doing well, we must engage with the markets, our 'subscribed-team-owners' and with the participating venues, so all understand the challenges and the economics. This is important to a more stable platform allowing us to work on the objectives that achieve our mutual interests and commercial goals.

The words Inform Engage Promote anchor the brand promise: it's a priority to keep our participating Race Teams informed on topics critical to mutual success. And, to maintain this priority and numerous other priorities, we are developing a Communications and Lifestyle Media program.

To be specifically included in this marketing and communications program please provide: a) your contact information, b) team name, c) team principal, d) race class, e) email address, f) list of current sponsors, g) a copy of your current sponsorship solicitation, h) race boat photo.

Thank you. We look forward to your participation and our mutual success.

Please send all to RogerBerkon@OPAMarkets.com

OPA

Open Water Powerboat Racing And Lifestyle Advert Campaign To Boost Beverage Brand In US

A new series of commercial spots, tied to Open Water Powerboat Racing in 2019, is being developed to build and maximize a beverage brand’s recognition and sales volume in the US!

According to J. Garcia, the VP of Brands and Marketing, the brand is over 100 years old, and still growing, now she feels there is an urgent need to build brand awareness in the US.

The Open Water Powerboat Racing Lifestyle commercials are tentatively scheduled to debut the 5th of February leading up to the 2020 Miami International Boat Show. The planned thirty second commercials are the first electronic media ads for this brand in over three decades.

“The decision to return to television and the Internet started as a discussion about our desire for a corporate rebrand, with Roger Berkon, at the Resorts World Bimini Offshore Powerboat Gran Prix in 2017. That event and further discussion opened us up to the numerous possibilities. We looked at our media mix in a very different way causing us to shift away from our primarily tabloid trade print to TV sports advertising”, said Juanita Garcia.

There are multiple components to the association with the Open Water Powerboat Racing lifestyle, including promotion during broadcasts, the possible sponsorship of a co-branded Race of Champions and numerous branding opportunities at the race sites. The campaign intends to entertain fans, host beverage retailers and distributor prospects, while building brand awareness at each of at least six proposed Open Water Powerboat Racing events.

The Open Water Powerboat Racing Lifestyle theme of the commercial spots will be carried throughout multiple media, including print, social and digital, as well as select trade shows and key in-person on site celebrity events. Two state of the art, canopied, race boats symbolizing the brand, sport and lifestyle are to be featured across the creative. The boats, being considered, are to be shown in a variety of settings and locations you might not expect to see them, such as a major construction site, a large manufacturing facility, a brewery, a soccer stadium, a winter sport resort and a NASCAR speedway.

“It is an exciting way of (brand-tba) illustrating our commitment to building the consumer relationship and getting to know and better understand our US customers,” says Ms. Garcia.”

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