‘Sleeping giant’ MotoGP awakens in Qatar, with eyes on US – and a little help from rapper Pitbull and AI

‘Sleeping giant’ MotoGP awakens in Qatar, with eyes on US – and a little help from rapper Pitbull and AI - Sports - News

MotoGP’s Daniel Rossomondo: artificial intelligence to Revolutionize Motorcycle Racing in the US

He has worked extensively with sporting audiences in the NBA, and now MotoGP’s Chief Commercial Officer Daniel Rossomondo is on a mission to captivate the interest of the over 330 million population in the United States. This weekend, as MotoGP commences its 75th anniversary season at the Lusail Circuit in Qatar, Rossomondo is optimistic about the potential role of artificial intelligence (ai) in making motorcycle racing more appealing to American viewers.

Rossomondo acknowledged that winning over the attention of such a vast audience would be no simple feat but expressed confidence in ai as an essential tool for enhancing safety and fan engagement. “We have two gladiatorial figures – the riders and the teams – pushing towards their limits,” he remarked to News Finder’s Becky Anderson during an interview in Qatar. “We’ve done a lot, and we continue to do a lot, to ensure safety, and ai is vital in that aspect.”

MotoGP serves as an exceptional testing ground for technological advancements. “Things on the bike will eventually make their way onto the streets,” Rossomondo explained. “But for tech companies, our approach to delivering races in a technologically advanced manner is a significant area of interest.” ai plays a crucial role in generating on-air graphics and monitoring rider and bike performances.

On the track, Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, who is aiming for a third consecutive MotoGP title on his factory Ducati, will face challenges from six-time champion Marc Márquez and Jorge Martín. The charismatic Spaniard finished second to Bagnaia in the previous season and is expected to pose a formidable challenge once again. Additionally, Moto2 champion Pedro Acosta enters as an exciting fresh entrant, with comparisons being drawn to Marc Márquez, who clinched the 2013 world title at just 20 years old.

Off the track, MotoGP made headlines with a new broadcasting deal in the United States, partnering with Warner Bros Discovery-owned TNT Sports. The agreement grants access to all races and qualifying sessions throughout the season for American fans. Moreover, Nashville’s Trackhouse Racing team, co-owned by musician Pitbull, is set to make its debut in the 2024 season.

Rossomondo emphasized the significance of this partnership for MotoGP. “This is hugely significant for us,” he stated. “MotoGP is custom-made for the American audience, and we’re thrilled about this opportunity.”

Last season marked MotoGP’s third-best attended season, with almost three million fans attending events. However, the series has faced challenges in gaining traction in the US market, where Formula One has experienced a surge in interest and popularity. Rossomondo, who joined MotoGP from the NBA last year, envisions this season as a stepping stone for growth.

“MotoGP is primed for growth,” Rossomondo shared with News Finder. “We’re a sleeping giant, and we want to innovate on the circuit and engage fans differently. Our business revolves around keeping our core audience engaged while attracting new fans.”

One such innovation introduced last year was the controversial half-distance Sprint races, which have been well-received by fans. Rossomondo explained that these races cater to modern attention spans and serve as a trial for the main race, attracting over 20% global growth in television viewership. “Both our products – the 45-minute race on Sunday and the 24-minute Sprint race on Saturday – are tailor-made for today’s generation of entertainment consumers,” he stated.

The season opener at Qatar offers a unique spectacle with its nighttime races, which also benefit global audiences due to convenient timing for various regions. Rossomondo added that the newly refurbished Qatar facility, which also hosts Formula One, is a welcome improvement for participants. “Riders and teams wish every paddock looked like this,” he shared. “The night race in the Middle East translates to a midday race in the US, a mid-afternoon race in Europe – it’s excellent for all our fans.”