NBC to broadcast AMA MX in 2012

Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto won the 2011 AMA Motocross Championships. Steve Cox

Although the 2012 race schedule has yet to be released, MX Sports Pro Racing and Alli Sports announced Monday that NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network will be the new broadcast home for the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The broadcast partnership will feature three live hours on NBC Sports and 21 hours of race programming on the NBC Sports Network (currently Versus), with 11 hours live. The Versus network will make the switch on January 2, 2012.

This is the biggest television package ever for the series, which, as recently as 2008, featured most of its coverage in a one-week tape delay. Over the past decade ESPN, OLN, SPEED and NBC Sports have covered AMA Pro Motocross. In 2011, the series coverage was split between SPEED and NBC Sports.

MX Sports Pro Racing President Davey Coombs attributes the partnership with Alli Sports as the reason for the rapid exposure growth of the sport. Alli, owned by NBC, started their partnership with motocross in 2009. According to MX Sports, the television audience has quadrupled in three years and with the series now solely with NBC it will allow motocross to expand across the network families in ways not possible before.

"[Alli] brought their experience in action sports and television to our enthusiasm for motocross racing," Coombs told ESPN. "We also made some difficult decisions, like moving the races from Sunday to Saturday afternoons, which proved to be very beneficial in building out our TV package."

Although the promoters and NBC are guaranteeing 14 hours of live coverage, no announcement has been made about how many hours of live coverage will be devoted to the premier 450 class where defending champion Ryan Villopoto and former champions, Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey and James Stewart will compete. Coombs said those details are still coming together. "NBC is the home of the Olympics next summer, so we are working everything out," Coombs said.

The 2012 race schedule, which will once again feature 12 rounds of competition, has also yet to be released. "We are hopeful for an announcement in just a matter of weeks, hopefully right around Thanksgiving," Coombs said.

The 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship will be broadcast on five continents, in 104 countries. The series' online coverage will continue as well, allowing enthusiasts to log onto the official website of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship to catch all the opening-moto action at allisports.com/motocross.