For those of you bitching about WFTDA finals on ESPN3, I have a few words for you

I believe that i Derby is one of the best community sites for the game, and so do about 10,000 others….you get a great mix on the page.

And today there seems to be quite a few complaining about Championship day being on ESPN3, taking the crucial day away from those in the game. Of course this only applies to those in the US, everywhere else people can see it on

This is perhaps the best opportunity to date for those outside our rather incestuous circle to see what the fuss is all about; why tens of thousands around the world have been attracted (and/or participate in) the modern version of the sport. And I know there are those out there who seemingly don’t want that to happen.

I know better than any of you what television can mean to the game; on our own independent “network” we had (by ratings) some 15,000,000 people watching every week our one hour videotapes on 110 stations. And those who never roller skated became huge fans and attended our live games in their areas, and many tried out for the sport.

I feel this effort by WFTDA is a great attempt to broaden the audience without really harming any of you. First of all, so many cable systems throughout the US can allow you to stream ESPN3, and if you happen to not be in an area where you, or someone in your league does not have cable, go to a local sports bar, indicate you will bring a large contingent there (which will increase your enjoyment) if they stream ESPN3 on one of their many screens, and others in the bar will watch. And you would probably be surprised at the limited audience that individual streaming has been able to achieve to date……what if hundreds of thousands were exposed to Derby?

I hope this is a godsend to increasing fan interest and could be so helpful to leagues that are having problems in drawing audiences on a consistent basis outside of the sport’s particpants, friends and family. And the super strong international particpation this year makes the event even more appealing.

Take this opportunity to make others aware that Roller Derby is being played on part of the leading sports network (ESPN) in the world.

It is important to know the track is flat, but not the world.

9 comments on “For those of you bitching about WFTDA finals on ESPN3, I have a few words for you

  1. It’s not that people don’t want this to happen. It’s just that some are questioning whether or not this is a good deal for the WFTDA. Is it paying to much for potentially not much gain? Is it worth shutting out a small percentage of the derby community that can’t access ESPN3 to pick up the a larger number of casual sports fans that may (or may not!) tune in to derby instead of football? Is all the money being poured into this pay dividends in the long run?

    These aren’t questions that should be controversial. People should know these things. Getting exposure just for the sake of getting exposure shouldn’t happen if the cost of doing so is too great.

    But to your point, Jerry, this is something that’s cool. I think it’s great a great opportunity. But I also realize it’s just an opportunity. The WFTDA had an opportunity of similar magnitude five or six years ago, and things could have been handled a lot better then. Some people just want to know if the WFTDA has learned their lesson.

  2. good points, WindyMan, but as you know, the numbers have not been great on streaming, and virtually all the derbyites can have access to ESPN3 if they try….and whether or not the telecasts are effective has a lot to do with the promotion and presentation… can a lead a horse to water……..if it were up to me, I would certainly do it.

  3. so you try it once… and if it stinks, then you don’t do it again. ESPN will be able to provide viewership statistics and I am sure that will help them make future decisions. WFTDA is not exactly a booming business, but this is not going to destroy them financially. It’s a good experiment and if it works it will pay off. If I weren’t going to Champs I would be celebrating it because ESPN3 works on my AppleTV and smart TV natively whereas it’s a lot harder to get working without using multiple devices or jumping thru hoops.

    • Glad you can get it to work on your TV. I have an LG smart TV and its requiring me to download an app to access it. One problem…LG’s app store doesn’t have it. Luckily our local No Coast Derby team has worked their magic and got one of the local sports bars to show it. I think there’s going to be 50+ people there. Most of the team is going to the event, but those not able to attend will be at the TV viewing. I could watch it on my droid phone, but I’d prefer a bigger screen. Can’t wait to see how this turns out. Maybe it will graduate to ESPN2 or ESPN someday. I mean if they can show the spelling bee or the world hotdog eating championship, they sure as hell can show some roller derby.

  4. I’ll be more curious about the reaction of non-derby viewers to a game called “roller” derby that is probably going to be mostly about standing around and doing nothing, at least from the perspective of those who have no idea about strategy….

  5. interesting, if you go to ESPN for the listing of the event on their site, it comes under the heading of “Rollergames”, which was the title of their bizarre and ill fated exhibition on a figure 8 track with an alligator pit for “penalizes” players. If any of the viewers remember that trash, there could be great confusion, not good for Roller Derby fans.

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