AC will be the face of Motocross
The date is January 1, 2050, 32 years in the future. We are all gearing up for Anaheim 1 Supercross in a few days. The gate is hopefully filled with Eli Tomac Jr, Marvin Musquin Jr, and other 2nd or 3rd generation riders. Now just thinking of what Motocross will look like in 30+ is fun, but I'm not so sure it'll be too different. There will be one MAJOR change though... Adam Cianciarulo will undoubtedly be the most popular and recognizable MX athlete of all time. I'm not saying that he'll win the most races, or have the longest career, or have the most championships. Every sport has their winners category, call it the Bill Russell factor. Bill Russell won 11 NBA Championships, but he isn't who you think of when I say NBA.
Adam will define what Motocross is... Which is more than just racing a dirt bike. Motocross will become the sport that most connects to fans. Once the masses realize this, there will be a shift from the NFL and MLB. The same shift that I made a few years ago. I got tired of cliche interviews and emotions being neutered! I just want real people, having real struggles, doing amazingly real things!! Motocross gives me that, and will grow upon that in the years to come.
Back to Adam... He hasn't even really started his pro career in my opinion, and is already one of the most popular MX athletes on Instagram. Can we solely measure popularity based on that? Sure can, it's my article!!! Mostly all of the pro riders have some sort of presence on IG, but Adam seems to have the best overall consistent social media content, which reflect why he has 570k followers.
Let's just look at a quick list of some of the OTHER pro MX riders, their pro accomplishments, and their followers.
Eli Tomac - 2017 MX 450 Champ with multiple 250 titles - 674k
Marvin Musquin - 2nd place in 2018 Supercross 450, $1M Monster Cup, multiple 250 world titles - 470k
Ken Roczen - 2X 450 Champ - 1.1M
Antonio Cairoli - 9X MXGP Champ - 725k
Jeffrey Herlings - 3x MX2 Champ, Current MXGP Leader - 338k
Ricky Carmichael - The G.O.A.T. & winningest MX racer of all time - 752k
Travis Pastrana - XGames, SX, Rally America Championships, + countless motorsports accomplishments - 3M
Ryan Dungey - 12 MX & SX Championships - 875k
Ryan Villopoto - 10 MX & SX Championships - 960k
Jeff Emig - 1997 SX Champ - 152k
Jason Anderson - 2018 SX Champ - 407k
Just look at that list! It's full of champions and the best riders ever! Yet AC is right up there in followers. Now I understand that to a sponsor, IG followers aren't the end all be all, but maybe it should be. Instagram and content like that is the future of every sport, so to master that BEFORE you've won any Pro Championships is more than luck. His VLOG on YouTube is tremendously popular as well
Championships matter for general popularity, but being the best Rider doesn't always transfer to relatability off the track. Adam is clearly ascending, and during that ascension, he's bringing everyone along for the ride, and (I'll keep hammering this home... he hasn't won a major pro title yet!) Let's say he wins a 250 Supercross title, that will add a clear bump to his notoriety, but it'll only be a bump. Everyone seems to think that he's in line to win a title when he hits the 450 bikes in a few years. So let's just say he gets 2 250 titles, and 2 450 titles in his overall career. That makes him a top 20 Rider in career riding accomplishments. An elite level career... But this isn't about just that!!
Flashback a few weeks ago to Redddd Buddddd! Adam joined the NBC broadcast to call the 250 races and it absolutely solidified his career for the next 30 years. Just think about that again, NBC, the big network! Between Supercross on Fox and Motocross on NBC they get 6 total races each year on the big networks, where the other races are on the "sports" channels. So one of the biggest race broadcasts of the year, at the most known and best MX track, they decide to bring in a KID who's never WON any pro titles to add to the broadcast...
AND HE FUCKING KILLED IT!!!
Adam is young, smart, articulate, tall, handsome so just check all of the media darling boxes. It's hard not to watch him and be entertained and feel connected to him. With minimal broadcast experience he was basically thrown to the wolves of a live broadcast and he rose to the occasion. Imagine how good he'll be once he gets some reps and treats broadcasting/media like he does riding dirt bikes!!! If I were NBC, I'd sign him to a long term deal today! The same kind of deal he's had with Team Green riding since he was a youngster but this is a developmental media deal. Other MX riders drop in from time to time on the broadcast when they are available due to injuries or retirement, but none have even come close to the atmosphere AC resides in.
So let's recap for a moment. Once Adam starts winning titles, he'll get a huge boost and thrust into the homes and phones of many fringe and casual fans and media. Then once he retires from racing, he dedicated his time to broadcasting and media, unlike many of his predecessors, except 1997 Supercross Champ Jeff Emig, who does the Supercross broadcast. He essentially will be in our hearts and minds for 30 years! Think of what Charles Barkley has done in the NBA, but give him some titles. He's prob a top 5 media guy, paired with a top 20 career. That's what AC can accomplish and over time, he'll become the face of Motocross.