I was on a very nice phone conversation this morning with a woman who is moving to Hawaii next month to be with her daughter and her partner as they are expecting their first child, and the woman cannot take her cat with her. Well after I lost Larry and my two cats (Fanny and Lily) within a matter of months last year, I might be ready for a cat.
She lives in Richmond near Craneway Pavilion, and she mentioned that a friend had been bugging her to see Roller Derby there ,and she and 7 or 8 friends were going to put on heavy duty makeup, tight tee shirts and go this Saturday. Lo and and behold, I will be there, sans makeup and tight tee shirt, so I will stop and see the cat on the way.
This made me think again about how do you get new people to attend your games, if that is what you want. Our whole world seems rather incestuous, we reach people through websites, facebook, etc. Now that is great and saves heavy advertising dollars, but I am always amazed at how few people really know what is going on with Roller Derby.
Since the game is not professional, there is usually little promotion that is standard practice for other events: buying TV spots, radio, billboards, continuous press features on media about the individual players, etc. Of course there are notable exceptions: in Denver where the two leagues are tied in with two different promoting companies; in Seattle where a very professional marketing campaign and a very professional presentation of the events creates the ingredients necessary to draw excellent attendance. And we all know that when you have a very large and enthusiastic crowd, the game is often better and everyone goes home happy (unless of course, there is a huge blowout with the home team on the wrong side).
I am glad to see that steps are being taken to make Roller Derby more fan friendly; taking the people out of the infield is a good first step. And some organizations are skating games that have fewer restrictions, but that alone won’t generate increases in attendance. A good product, a focused and pleasing arena venue, and a good marketing campaign are needed.
Most of the league organizations were created for rules and other procedures and not to create a promotional organization. The professional publications that are out now help, and certainly DNN is a wonderful tool to expose the game. I have a feeling most of these media do not reach out of our community, and that needs to happen.
Of course promotion and marketing is what I have done all my life: with Roller Derby, Ticketmaster, concert and other promotions. Who out there is willing to work with me on creating an organization that would be available to all leagues to help teach promotion, promote for them, bring them to promoters and more? And profits made would go back to the leagues themselves.
We have 940 leagues, 40,000 participants worldwide and claiming it is an underground sport is ridiculous. Some will want to grow and get more revenue to help their members and others won’t.
Just heed the clarion call from someone who knows how to do it and let’s start now! Contact me here, on facebook, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have nothing to lose except empty seats.