The Golden Bowl……great action, but where were the fans…..and the WFTDA Tourney


Over the weekend we all had a lot going on, but when I could, I would try to catch at least a few minutes of the Golden Bowl.

After all, WCR was my first modern Derby home team, and they are just so good at what they do:  creating a great home league, training future stars of today and tomorrow, some of the best PR of all the leagues, community service and acknowledged as one of the real positive aspects of Chicago.  and of course my Derby wife #1, Val Capone, has been a big part of all of this.

(shirts available through Seltzer/Brand)

Photo: Did you know you could meet Jerry Seltzer, aaaaaand pick up a tee for you and your derby wife at the same time? Only at Rollercon can dreams like this come true. Meet him at Booth 24 and find this tee set and more. Find out about the new "trick up our sleeves"....his name is Oliver Clothes Off!!

We know that I complain a bit (!) about the often lack of action in games and have surmised that may be one of the reasons that many leagues have suffered loss of fan support.

But the WCR is a top ranked team, and the play I say over the weekend for all the teams was fast and furious, great blocking and jamming and all that fans could hope for.  And the teams were very equally matched in most cases, and Chicago ably defended its home territory against higher ranked leagues.

But where were the fans!

The UIC Pavilion I rank as one of the best that any league calls home.  It is modern, close to downtown, easily accessible by car or public transportation and knowing how great WCR’s PR is, I was surprised to see a virtually empty building every time I turned on the games.

Did this tournament not have any meaning to the fans after the regular season Ivy King Cup championship has been awarded?  And how often do you get to see WCR, Denver, BAD, Texas, etc play in one weekend?  I would love to get someone’s explanation…….

Now about the 4 regional tournaments coming up.  Windyman (www.windymanrd.wordpress.com) has just written the most in-depth analysis of the whole schedule and thought behind it, I won’t even try to summarize or explain it, but I do have the following comments:

The attempt to balance the regions based on somewhat specious rankings has led to a serious geographic issue for many leagues.  The average distance a league has to travel to get to Salem, OR is over 1500 miles, with ironically Rose City not being there, but traveling across the country….this is just one example.

Unless I am wrong, three teams out of each regional qualify for the trip to bratwurst town.  Regardless of where they are assigned, the cream will rise to the top. Instead of forcing volunteer unpaid players to spend many of thousands of dollars to get the regionals, wouldn’t just putting them in the one closest to them make more sense.  (The NCAA did that until a fairly recent time, and remember, these colleges all pay the transportation, lodging and food for their athletes).

And what about the fans?  They certainly are not going to travel so far.

Even if the democratic WFTDA  members voted for this strange plan, I personally think it imposes an unnecessary hardship on the amazing athletes who sacrifice so much to skate Derby, and are now asking for money on go fund me, Brown Paper Tickets, and other funding sources.

And if they are the top teams in their region, then they do this again for Milwaukee.  If the leagues don’t care, then that is all that matters.  I personally would rather go to a regional as a fan where the teams I support would be involved.

Hopefully I will see you at Rollercon and at our marketing seminar (Saturday, noon, room 114) we certainly will be discussing how to increase attendance and other fun stuff.

And I will also be at the Roll Model booth #24 in the main arena, with Seltzer brand/gamegear  and at the Brown Paper Tickets  booth in the West hall.  let’s take a picture.

6 comments on “The Golden Bowl……great action, but where were the fans…..and the WFTDA Tourney

  1. There aren’t any regions any more (as of first of this year), so they aren’t called “Regionals” any more. They’re Divisionals. And there’s actually six of them (two of them for Division 2). The first place finisher from each Div 2 tournament gets to advance to Championships. Kind of like “wild cards” in the NFL. They’re likely to be “one and done,” but the game should move ’em up in the rankings if they do fairly well in their loss. Should they pull off a win, they’d very likely move into the top 40 and be a Div 1 team next year (as determined by their computed ranking after Championships).

      • Jerry,

        I agree with you on the cost implications of the new divisional structure.

        However as a fan there are additional issues. After the nationals in Atlanta in 2012, which I attended, I heard the comment that some of the twelve teams there were not among the best in the country. For instance for years we have heard that roller derby teams from the west coast have a stronger game than some teams from other regions. The opinion I heard was that the fourth or fifth best teams in the then western region ,(who were not attending the 2012 nationals), may have been stronger than the second or third best teams in the other three regions. If this argument was valid, then what to do if you want to reward the best and and present them at the national tournament?

        As we all know, WFTDA came up with a calculator to try to gauge performance and a division structure not based on geography so the best twelve teams make it to the finals in 2013 based on head to head play, regardless of the origin of the team.

        Some other thoughts. How many times does a fan need to see the same match up’s year after year as we saw with the old regional format to determine that Oly will come out on top in the west and Gotham will come out on top in the east? At least if you shuffle the deck a little every year through calculated rankings instead of geography, the fan gets to see different teams playing their favorite.

        It is a dilemma. Possibly look to schedule tournaments in cities where airfares are very competitive (multiple airlines) and therefore lower and hotels competitively priced. Look for arenas that are sized appropriately and reasonably priced. Maybe divide into two geographical regions for qualifying for nationals, east and west of the Mississippi, and have twenty teams at each of two geographical playoffs skating simultaneously on two rinks to pick the six to go to nationals?.ECDX has three rinks going at once and it works.

  2. Hipsters only care about the home season. This will only be rectified if WFTDA leagues start trying to attract the sports fan.

  3. From the WFTDA website:
    “Division 2 winners will have a special opportunity to compete at Championships weekend with the addition of two Division 2 games. The top finisher from each Division 2 Playoff will meet head-to-head in a Final to determine a Division 2 Champion while the second place teams will meet in a Third Place game.”

    The respective winners at Des Moines and Killamazoo face each other in a separate D2 Championship held during the D1 Championship weekend, but are not a part of the D1 Championship Bracket.

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