No dates or venues (except the Salt Lake City finale) have been announced for the five events that will be run after the March 27 round at AT&T Stadium. Venues will be considered based on state regulations and requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We knew we needed to get a schedule out there, we needed to give everyone in the industry time to plan, along with ourselves, so we’ve been going back and forth,” said Dave Prater, Supercross director of operations for Feld Entertainment. “We probably came within a day, or maybe an hour of announcing it before and things were just dynamic and changing, not only with us, but with the venues.
“So at some point, maybe a month ago, we drew a line in the sand at Easter and said, ‘Look, let’s work on these first 12 events prior to Easter, knowing that things are still going to change.’ But that gives us the first 12 events that are locked in,” Prater continued. “We are hopeful that by the time April gets here things have loosened up a bit and we have a little more leeway in terms of capacity within the stadiums, rather than lock ourselves to 17 rounds and then things open up and we are at a loss.”
One of the biggest questions remaining to be answered is whether of not the series will be able to visit any of its more popular stops in California — a state that has traditionally hosted a large chunk of the Supercross schedule — during the later stages of the season.
“I wish I could say, I don’t have my crystal ball,” Prater noted. “I know it’s interesting; it seems like in the last couple of weeks that California seems a little more optimistic than they were a few weeks or a month ago. Anaheim, obviously we love Anaheim. Angel Stadium has been a great partner forever. They were disappointed, but understand completely. And another thing is that Anaheim, San Diego and Oakland are baseball stadiums.
“Major League Baseball was taking the stance that, up until the postseason, they weren’t going to entertain having fans at all,” Prater added. “So up until recently those stadiums couldn’t talk to us about what was going to happen, because they didn’t know. I’m optimistic, but who knows. California could slide into that April date if it opens up, but that remains to be seen.”
Prater said one possible scenario, depending on how local restrictions play out, could be filling in the remainder of the schedule at a single venue, most likely Salt Lake City.
Prater also explained that while the stadiums are working with Feld to adjust fees for use of the venues, Feld officials were expecting financial challenges because of fan restrictions.
“There is really no way around it,” Prater said. “We’re definitely going to be taking a hit financially with limited capacity. The stadiums are working with us. We have great relationships across the board with all the stadiums we’re racing at as well as the stadiums we’ve historically raced at.
“They’re challenged as well, because although we are going to be at 20 to 25 percent capacity, we’re still opening the entire stadium because we’re spreading those fans out,” Prater added. “So their staffing is going to need to be the same, if not greater than normal, to deal with all the safety protocols. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us financially, but something we’re trying to do to make the best of the situation.”
No doubt it will be a second consecutive challenging season for the Supercross community.
“In 2020, Feld Entertainment, the AMA and all our partners, and of course the racers and teams, worked tirelessly and innovatively to crown champions amid a global pandemic,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “The lessons learned will guide the management team as it delivers another incredible season of racing, while ensuring that all COVID-19 precautions are met and fans get the show they have come to expect from AMA Supercross.”