Sometimes I just search for numbers about motorcycles and racing. Not to analyze them in the super-crunching way statisticians and accountants do, more as answers looking for questions.
World population, 7 billion
Europe about 700 million
Canada/US about 340 million
Asia (without China) about 2.5 billion
China 1.3 billion
25 million. That's the number of fans MotoGP is reputed to have worldwide.
3.8 million. That's how many "likes" MotoGP has on Facebook.
403,000 MotoGP's Twitter followers
1.3 million. Valentino Rossi's Twitter followers.
Numbers on World Superbike are a little more difficult come by, my guess after wading through the 2011 TV/website media fodder would place it around 10 million fans.
30,000 T-folowers and 302,000 Facebook "likes" may tend to push this estimate lower, but it may just reflect the difference in fan attitudes. WSBK doesn't have a Valentino Rossi, who is a name instantly recognized in any European and many Asian kitchens.
And then the bad news...
1,200. Canadian Superbike (CSBK) Facebook "likes"
595 CSBK Twitter followers.
I won't even down you with the individual CSBK Champion stats.
My thoughts: As much as MotoGP and WSBK are "big" sports draws, they don't even approach the (disputed) numbers for soccer, somewhere between 1 and 3 billion depending how you define a "fan". Formula 1, the granddaddy of motorsports, is even more enigmatic as far as making fan numbers freely available goes, but the fact it draws huge corporate sponsorship $$$ means fans are attending races and watching on TV/internet.
The murkiness of fan numbers makes me think that perhaps the motorsport media knows that the numbers are suspect or at least open to "misinterpretation" by the great unwashed. As a starter, unless otherwise noted, most race attendance stats total gate entries over the entire weekend. So a race that claims 30,000 fans in attendance may have only seen 15,000 on Sunday, 10,000 on Saturday for qualifying/practice/support-races and 5,000 for Friday practice. So 1/2 the number of fans "claimed" actually showed up. But in marketing/accounting parlance, there were 30,000 "impressions" or paid entries.
More numbers, Canadian ones this time.
Canada, total population: ~34 million
Ontario, ~13 million
GTA, ~6 million
Ontario M-license holders all classes, ~ 600,000 (about 25% of the Cdn total)
Ontario plated/insured street motorcycles, ~200,000 (again generously, about 1 million Canada wide)
That last number should give the Cdn motorcycle industry serious pause.
Only 200,000 active riders (i.e. willing/able to pay to license/insure a street bike) in a population of 13 million.
That's 1.5% of the population.
That answers a lot of questions.