It is going to be a great year for Roller Derby

Don’t you feel it already?  There seems to be a new level of anticipation and excitement this year.

Crowds at record or near record levels being reported at early season games.  Better trained, more exciting teams.  Sponsors seem to be getting more interested (Riedell supporting “Derby Baby” at the Atlanta Film Festival March 31).  If I see any weakness, it is in the marketing.

Image by Ayla87 from

Now Seattle, Denver, New York, Chicago, LA etc have things pretty well handled and consistent.  And I assume that if they are on Roller Derby PR on facebook they are willing to help you.

But I am still not getting the feeling that all of you are taking advantage of the great size and diversity of the leagues in promoting your local games.  Do you have a video you are using – even if you cannot buy advertising, you can send it to various cable outlets, etc to get free advertising?  Are you taking advantage of all promotional opportunities.

Is there too much bureaucracy in you league to get new things accomplished?  Every member of your league should be on the watch for possible tie ins and other opportunities and not just think that is the responsibility of sponsorship and marketing alone.  And how can you utilize the full-length film “Derby Baby” in your market?  You all saw what “Whip It” accomplished for Derby, even though it was not as successful at the box office as it should have been.

Look at, not just to see how many leagues there are out there worldwide, but look through the links to see what others are doing that might help you.  Look on you tube under Roller Derby to see the great videos produced by LA, Cincinnati, Helsinki, and others that you might utilize or copy.

The secret of a successful promotion (which is what each of your games is) is to feel on the day of the event you have utilized every possible avenue of informing the public, pushing ticket sales, merchandising, and promoting right up until game time…..examine your ticket price structure and see if you are maximizing revenue.  Tickets are selling an event at a certain time…..a $10 ticket is worth nothing after the event.  If you feel you are not going to have a capacity audience, what can you do with radio giveaways (“Today WFDR is helping to pay your way into the Roller Derby game by giving you one ticket for each one you buy”), etc.

You need the revenue and the seats filled.  The bigger and more excited the crowd, the better the game, the better the response and the better the chance the spectators will return.

Do your announcers plug the merchandise, the next team you are playing, the stars (you are crazy if you don’t utilize stars on your team or in upcoming games; if anyone is upset, they have to get over it….people come to see performers, and you have them!).

You have choices:  try to maximize your revenue every way you can.

If you don’t want to increase your audience, please ignore the above…..I think most leagues would want to be successful, but it is up to you.

2 comments on “It is going to be a great year for Roller Derby

  1. Sometimes big city leagues have it far tougher than those in smaller-to-mid sized towns. My league draws larger crowds than the league in one of those big cities you mentioned, plus we pay less for the venue (and far less for our practice space). This leaves them less money to travel with, even though up where they are travel outside the region is pretty much a necessity to get good games.

    I don’t doubt that they could outdraw us if they had an affordable venue that was the right size. Another problem leagues in cities like theirs is that there’s more to compete against. Not only marketing-wise but in simply trying to secure a venue.

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