I had an interesting message today……The Rat City Rollers in Seattle are doing very well in Key Arena, crowds of 5000 to 7000 for their games. Well we all know that, but my correspondent said it was because the Sonics had left town.
Well, certainly that helped, but people don’t pay $15 to $40 to come out and watch something because their basketball team has left. The league has done a great job of presenting the game well, making the fans happy and creating a great family atmosphere.
So what if the NFL and/or the NBA sits out the next season? People will be looking for sports and I think we have one that may fill the bill. Well, the NFL has been resolved; the NBA may not be.
What is interesting is that Roller Derby as a national sport could probably be sustained by just one of the high salaries these players get. But don’t feel too sorry for Derby as they seem to be taking things into their own hands.
Yes, we know that many play in warehouses, or skating rinks, or venues with no fixed seating. But in the last few years there has quietly been an upswing to better and larger venues. This coming weekend Assassination City Roller Girls (from Dallas, don’t you love that name?) are playing their first match at the 10,000 seat Fairplex Arena. So what I did, and this is by no means complete, was to try and get a sample of some of the Arenas that other leagues have also moved up to.
Denver is interesting, the Derby Dolls play in the 7000 seat 1st Bank Arena. I saw a game there last May and the way that great lighting, sound, and an amazing video playboard enhances the night was wonderful…..The Derby Dolls are presented by a promoter, as is the Champion Rocky Mountain Roller Girls at the Fillmore. Can’t they play each other at the huge sports arena in Denver?
Kansas City now plays in the Municipal Auditorium, Cincinnati at the Cincinnati Gardens, Milwaukee at the US Cellular Center, Everett Washington at the Comcast Center, Detroit at Cobo Arena, other leagues at Tucson Convention Center, Veterans Coliseum in Phoenix and State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis; all venues where we played when we toured (except Everett, but including Key Arena) with Roller Derby when we were looking for 10,000 plus seat facilities.
And Windy City plays in the UIC Pavilion, a beautiful Arena where the National Championships were held.
Now I know there are dozens more out there, but this is what I got from my instant poll. And what does this mean?
There is definitely a fan base, and it is growing monthly. I know many leagues that are selling out their games are afraid to go to a larger venue because of the increased costs and other problems. But it can and has been done. And the games are so much better both for the players and the audience in a arena-like setting with good lights, sound and facilities for the customers. Attendance always increases when you move to a larger venue if you have a good fan base. Many people do not come out if they do not feel it will be a comfortable evening for them.
Is any of this useful to you? You might want to use it if you are trying to expand in your market and you want to let either facilities or promoters know about the potential that has been proven in this sport.
The Gotham Girls should be at the Garden or Meadowlands occasionally, The LA Derby Dolls, who sell out their own facility all the time would look great once or twice at Staples Center, St Louis should play at the Arena, Houston in the Arena, Philly Roller Girls in Wells Fargo Center, the B.A.D. girls at Bill Graham Civic or Oracle Arena, and on and on. Then you have a shot at self-sustaining leagues.