Jam Wins Race Suit Against Clear Channel
A federal jury has found that Clear Channel Communications had competed unfairly to block a competitor from promoting motorcycle races and awarded the smaller event firm more than $90 million in damages, including $73 million in punitive damages.
JamSports and Entertainment, LLC, a unit of Jam Productions, charged Clear Channel with intimidating the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) into reneging on a multi-year agreement under which JamSports was to promote Supercross events.
Clear Channel was found liable for interfering with a letter of intent that Jam had signed in November 2001 with Paradama Productions to be the tour’s promoter from 2003 to 2009. Paradama is the motorcycle racing unit of the AMA.
Clear Channel was not liable in the most serious claim of antitrust behavior. The jury awarded Jam $17 million in damages for lost profit and punitive damages of $73 million.
The case represented the first time a company was able to bring claims against Clear Channel to a jury. Clear Channel says it will appeal the March 21 verdict.
Clear Channel, based in San Antonio, Texas, operates about 1,200 radio stations and 41 television stations in the United States and is the world’s largest producer of concerts and other live-entertainment events. The company posted revenues of $9.4 billion in 2004.
Jeffrey Singer, partner with the firm Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, which represented Jam, said Clear Channel illegally used its entertainment industry clout to gain promotion rights. “The jury’s verdict sends a clear message that companies must act responsibly and ethically in their business dealings. Illegal corporate bullying simply will not be tolerated,” Singer said.
Singer said a significant amount of Jam’s case involved the introduction of Clear Channel’s internal emails into evidence. He said emails recommended the company take extremely aggressive action to block Jam and even suggested that disc jockeys at two Clear Channel radio stations should badmouth the company.
Jerry Mickelson, a JamSports principal, founded Chicago-based Jam Productions in 1972. Jam Productions is one of the country’s largest independent concert and special-events promoter and competes with Clear Channel in the concert promotion business.
Yamaha Purchases SOQI
Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. has purchased SOQI Inc., a manufacturer of power products such as ATVs and generators.
SOQI was incorporated in 1944 and employs 694 people. It manufactures ATVs, generators, multi-purpose engines, and golf cars, as well as shock absorbers for motorcycles and four-wheel vehicles, among other products. Yamaha Motor most recently has served as its primary customer.
SOQI reported Dec. 31, 2004 year-end sales of 57,567 million yen ($541.6 million)and net income 464 million yen ($4.4 million).
Yamaha Motor’s board of directors voted Feb. 8, 2005, to make SOQI a wholly owned subsidiary. The purchase was made to promote quick decision-making, enhance management agility, and streamline and strengthen the production system, Yamaha leadership said in a prepared statement.
SOQI principal shareholders include Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., 78.9%; Yamaha Corporation, 3.2%; Kawakami Foundation, 2.0%.
APS Adds Two Dealers
America’s PowerSports (APS), a leading national powersports dealer group, has expanded to 15 dealerships with the addition of two new stores: I-35 Yamaha of Lancaster, Texas, and Ray Wilt Motorcycle-ATV Superstore in Hanover, Penn.
I-35 Yamaha is APS’ sixth Texas-based dealership and fourth store in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; Ray Wilt is the dealer group’s first dealership in Pennsylvania.
C.B. Standridge started the 6,000 sq. ft. I-35 Yamaha in May 1998, and remains general manager of the store. In addition to Yamaha, I-35 recently added the Vento brand of scooters. The 30,000 sq. ft. Ray Wilt Motorcycle-ATV Superstore was founded by Ray and Charlotte Wilt in 1973. The dealership represents Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki. Ray Wilt’s son, Tim Wilt, remains as general manager.
APS says a number of improvements will be made to the dealerships, including the addition of new finance departments; increased parts and accessories inventory; and improved employee benefits.
Formed in November 1998 and based in Brentwood, Tenn., America’s PowerSports is one of the nation’s largest retail powersports dealer networks. For more information, visit www.americaspowersports.com
Personnel Changes at Ehlert Publishing
Ehlert Publishing Group, Maple Grove, Minn., has hired Fred Koplin as Vice President/Motorcycle Group. Koplin will immediately assume overall responsibilities for the Rider titles, and eventually
will take on the Thunder Press Group as well. He started March 21, and will work out of the Ventura, Calif., office.
Prior to joining Ehlert, Koplin spent the past seven years at Primedia in Los Angeles, where he was vice president and executive publisher for the company’s motorcycle group, which included: Motorcyclist, Motorcycle Cruiser, Sport Rider, Super Streetbike, Dirt Rider, ATV Rider, MXRacer, Hot Bike, Street Chopper, Motorcycle Escape and Hot Rod Bikes. Koplin worked for several ad agencies, prior to joining Primedia in 1998.
In a related move, Jim Hansen, who joined Ehlert in 1997 and has served as Rider Group Publisher since 1999, will begin to wind down his workload as part of a move towards retirement. Hansen will continue to work with the Rider Group in an advisory capacity through the end of the year.
In another move at Ehlert, Steve Dye has joined the company’s Boating Media Group as editor of WaterCraft World magazine. He will be based in Ehlert’s Carson, Calif., office.
Dye most recently served as director of media development for Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties in Janesville, Wisc. Dye was formerly the publisher and editor-in-chief of Motorcycle Product News magazine.
Dealer Organization Launched in Canada
Stephen Bieda attended the first-ever Canadian Powersports Dealer Expo, March 11-13, at the Toronto Congress Centre, touting an organization he says is long overdue in Canada: the Canadian Powersports Dealer Association.
Bieda, general manager and vice president of Bieda’s Powersports in Fenwick, Ontario, Canada, for the past 25 years, was responsible for the formation of the organization.
“My goal is to help advance our industry into a phase of balance between hobbyist passion and bottom line number crunching by promoting better communication channels. Our industry is approaching a period of dramatic change where many experts see major dealership consolidations occurring.”
The CPSDA is seeking dealer representatives in each province and territory to develop provincial chapters. For more information, visit www.cpsda.com, or e-mail Stephen.Bieda@CPSDA.com.
Kymco USA Updates Executive Team
Bruce Ramsey has been named vice president sales/marketing at KYMCO USA, and Joseph Wofford has been named vice president operations. Both are long-time members of the company’s management team.
Ramsey has served as sales and marketing director and as national sales manager. Wofford has two decades of service with the Motorsports Division of STR, Inc., which became a separate South Carolina corporation doing business as KYMCO USA on Jan. 1, 2005. Both vice presidents will report to President/
CEO Eric Bondy.
Kawasaki Introduces New Kawasaki.com
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., Irvine, Calif., has launched the company’s all-new Web site, www.Kawasaki.com. The Web site, which incorporates functions from Kawasaki’s e-commerce site, www.buykawasaki.com, enables the company to provide current information on products, finance offers and motorsports activities.
The all-new Kawasaki.com was created to accomplish three primary goals:
- Website unification. Integrating the consumer Web sites (www.buykawasaki.com and www.Kawasaki.com) into one cohesive platform provides a seamless experience for the end user.
- More efficient navigation. Kawasaki.com features one-click connectivity to several types of consumers information. Links lead to products, company news, finance offers, racing highlights, and information on Riders of Kawasaki (ROK) owners club.
- Brand consistency. Kawasaki.com is the latest step in a process designed to ensure consistent images and key messages across all communications media.
Kawasaki Motors operates through a network of more than 1,500 independent retailers.
Italian Registrations Slip
Italian new motorcycle and scooter registrations in February 2005 fell by 22.% compared to February 2004, according to ANCMA, the Italian motorcycle accessories association.
In February 2005, scooter registrations dropped by 32% over the same month last year, while motorcycle registrations fell by 9.6%. In January 2005, scooter sales dropped to 12,214 units from 14,525 units in January 2004, while motorcycle sales slightly declined to 9,986 units from 10,083 units a year earlier, ANCMA said.
In the first two months of 2005, total motorcycle, scooter and moped registrations totalled 42,606 units.
KTM Introduces KTMDealer.net
KTM North America, Inc. has a new dealer Web site in place and is offering a new retail sales promotion, moves designed to kick off the 2005 riding season.
KTM recently launched KTMDealer.net, an all-inclusive Web site that incorporates previous informational systems into one business communication tool used by every KTM dealership across the globe.
Previous KTM online offerings were located at numerous Web sites. KTMDealer.net allows the 435 KTM Dealerships across the United States and Canada to access one location for information about OEM parts and hard equipment sales, unit registration, KTM news and information, dealer technical service and warranty.
KTM said training on the new system was delivered to 97% of its dealers in North America.
In news from KTM International, Mattighofen, Austria, the company has extended the warranty on the 950 Adventure from 24 months to three years and cancelled plans for its seventh annual KTM Festival.
A story in the March 14, 2005, issue of Powersports Business concerning the activities of National Powersport Auctions, San Diego, Calif., incorrectly listed the schedule for the company’s three auctions. Here is the correct auction schedule: Auctions are held on the first Friday of each month in San Diego, the second Friday in Dallas and the third Friday in Atlanta.
A story in the March 14, 2005, issue of Powersports Business incorrectly reported the email address for Anthony Cisneros, manager of Associated Partners, Cheyenne, Wyo. The correct email address is firstname.lastname@example.org