There was an interesting topic of discussion last week on a popular R/C message board—the topic of professional R/C racer salaries and contracts. In fact, R/C driver contracts seemed to be the topic du’jour last week as many pro racers “re-signed” their contracts and commitments for the 2011 racing season. Each day, another high profile A-main regular re-signed for a one, three or five year deal with the requisite “Johnny Appleseed resigns with ACME Racing!” press release. When most NBA fans seemed more irritated more than fascinated by LeBron’s “The Decision” media event, I can’t help but wonder whether pro R/C racers overestimate the impact of their re-signed contract on the average hobbyist…you know, the guy who wants to read how-to’s, look at cool videos and play with his toy cars to have fun.
I say “re-signed” in quotation marks because most of these contracts were formalities, more media glitz and glitter than substance. These are contracts agreements to drive R/C cars at races many R/C’ers will never attend. The drivers re-signing with their respective teams knew they were going nowhere else in 2011, and so did the companies signing them. Yet one or two racers added pomp and circumstance to their contract signings by posting photos of themselves, seated at what must have been their kitchen tables, faux Montblanc pens in hand, ready to ink their soon-to-be-famous contracts. In the blink of an eye, others followed. Durango’s Ryan Lutz even went so far as to sign an unprecedented 10-year contract—the equivalent of signing away an average pro A-Mainer’s entire effective career to one team. The pro racers I spoke to thought all of these signings were a big deal. Many other R/C enthusiasts and friends simply asked, “Pro racers actually sign contracts?”
So all of this leads me to the following question: do you care? In all of my decades in R/C, I’ve found the following to be true: R/C hobbyists want to know which products won the race, not necessarily who, and they want to know how much the products cost. This isn’t to say that we don’t all have our favorite racers, because many of us invested in R/C could name last year’s ROAR A-main line up with frightening accuracy. Still, does the contract signing buzz seem a bit much to you? If Triumph The Insult Comic Dog signed with Associated, you could guarantee that I’d be fascinated. That story would end up on TMZ. I’ve yet to find an R/C racer with the personality or star-quality that Triumph possesses…and as a result, I’m not quite as invested.
What are your thoughts?