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Humphrey Appleby

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Humphrey Appleby last won the day on May 5

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About Humphrey Appleby

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  1. Humphrey Appleby

    Thank you Sky for nothing

    I think in fairness, tracks were living hand to mouth even back in 2000, and the Sky money was merely keeping the wolf from the door. Of course, with some foresight it might have been an opportunity to control costs by buying out rider assets and having centrally contracted riders, or indeed funding development tracks to bring through new riders in place of often absentee journeymen. But the paying public at the time, those that should be consulted according to another thread, were insisting on having the top riders who’d bring back all those missing fans (despite the fact there had been an ongoing decline even during the period when every top rider rode in the UK). And any attempt to make the sport more affordable was derided as watering down the product. I think though, the bigger concern is how just about every other minor sport can get on television these days, whilst speedway got cut. And even if Sky had overpaid for football, cricket and F1, why were other broadcasters not jumping at the opportunity if it’s such a hot property?
  2. Humphrey Appleby


    It’s actually somewhat pointless asking what existing speedway goers want, as they’re largely going to come anyway. There’s probably not even much point asking former fans - even if you can identify them - because they’ve long since lost interest and walked away for whatever reason. You need to be identifying new audiences to target, to whom speedway might appeal, and work out what will bring them through the door.
  3. Humphrey Appleby


    You're effectively building bespoke products, and if clients are spending millions then you can afford to take the time to consult with them. Plus you're really only having to satisfy a handful of clients - not a few hundred or thousand at a time. Total speedway revenue is probably only a few million - I think it was stated as being a 6 million business a few years ago and may even be less now - and punters are paying 20 quid a head at best. Reading this forum, whilst there are certainly some good ideas, could you actually draw any conclusions on what the average speedway punter wants, and being realistic on what can be actually be delivered, sufficient to turn speedway businesses around?
  4. Humphrey Appleby


    People often don't know what they actually want. They know what they like after they've seen it and tried it, but I very much doubt the average consumer product was designed after extensive public consultation. Apple is the classic example. Steve Jobs just dictated what customers would like and offered a very limited range of products. However, he had an innate sense of what would work even though more seasoned marketeers would baulk at dropping the floppy drive or serial port for example. Yet his vision stimulated a stagnant technological market and opened-up an entirely new line of business. Microsoft on the other hand, also dictated their product line early on, but lost the plot when they started to consult user groups which is how the abomination that was Windows 8 came about. They lost me as a customer around that time, and whilst they're far from down and out, they've progressively lost market share, and barely feature in the lucrative mobile device space since their disastrous attempt of buying Nokia's mobile phone business.
  5. Humphrey Appleby


    I don't think speedway needs market research to tell that its custom has been declining for years. The bigger question is what to do about it, and I've yet to see any Eureka suggestion on here about how to improve the situation. On the one hand you've got the 'too much watering down' brigade who'll advocate bringing back all the top riders but without explaining how that could be afforded even assuming those riders are actually available. Then you had those advocating that 'fixed race nights' would cure everything, without explaining how more fans were likely to turn up on a Monday evening. Now of course you have those saying 'I told you it would be a disaster, we need to go back to racing every day of the week', but again without explaining how you'll resolve the problems with missing riders which was the reason for moving to fixed race nights in the first place. That's before we even get as far as '13 heats with a proper second half' and '2-valve uprights' wheeled out as the ultimate panacea.
  6. Humphrey Appleby


    I use all three of those companies regularly and have never been surveyed. I'd also question how many people actually fill in such surveys, and to what level of accuracy given it's usually to enter a prize draw or something. I was for a few years on the lists of market research companies who occasionally called (and paid me) with respect to whether I knew of certain companies or products and/or whether I used them. They might be able to determine patronage based on age and social demographics, but I never got asked why I chose a particular product over another, or why I didn't buy a particular product for example.
  7. Humphrey Appleby


    You're just being obtuse now. My point was that whether customers continue to buy a particular product, is how M&S know if they're doing the right thing. They don't send out a survey asking me whether I like product x, y or z or how their shops are laid out.
  8. Humphrey Appleby


    No-one is saying you don't aim to please your customers, but when was the last time you sent out a survey to them? If you're offering a relatively bespoke personalised product/service then you'll probably get specific requests for things which you weigh-up against your costs versus increased value to your business, but that's not practical for a spectator sport.
  9. Humphrey Appleby


    I've never been asked by M&S and Apple for my opinions about their products. The fact I that I continue to buy from them is proof they're probably doing something right, even though I think Apple has started to lose the plot and have started to switch away from using their stuff. Facebook doesn't listen to anyone, not least because we've had several engagements with them. They've been recently shamed into improving their fake news and data protection practices which has resulting in customers leaving, but really it's because governments have started to investigate their business practices.
  10. Humphrey Appleby


    You only have to read the arguments, self interest, and sometimes downright crazy ideas on here to realise the fans are the last people that should be listened to. Neither do the vast majority of businesses consult their customers on their product and services as quite clearly the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If you go back a few years you had fans complaining about speedway being watered down, when quite simply the top riders were becoming unaffordable and in many cases unavailable. Now there's a bit more realism about the situation, yet still lots of complaints about missing riders which is why something was done to try to address that, yet fans have essentially voted with their feet as a result. The underlying problem is that speedway has become poor value for money, played out in largely unappealing venues lacking 21st century facilities, and where you're not even sure who's going to be riding. You're also facing an increasingly ageing fanbase who's kids have already grown-up and aren't the least bit interested in the sport, let along willing to bring their own kids along - all the marketing in the world isn't a substitute for existing fans introducing new people to the sport. At the end of the day, professional speedway will only survive if the promoters themselves are able to come-up and implement a workable plan, and that is a big if.
  11. Humphrey Appleby

    Jonathan Chapman - It's Your Time

    But who is going to financially back speedway nowadays, regardless of how brilliant the supremo is? Speedway has become completely undercapitalised so it's now very difficult to make the necessary improvements to the stadiums etc... Its supporter demographic is also not appealing to sponsors or even really television, so unless some very rich person comes along and bankroll it out of the goodness of their heart or as some sort of social experiment, it's going to be very difficult to find the money to turn speedway into a 21st century sport. I actually thought the article in the Spar was quite interesting (see, I'm not always critical Philippe), but marketing for the Olympics has to be a slam dunk compared with speedway. And as others have pointed out, until speedway promoters really grasp the mire the sport is in and come-up with a completely new approach to how its run (e.g. centrally contracted riders, possibly a common pool of bikes), and work out how to take it back to being a relatively cheap night out that's held at convenient times for the spectators, then I'm afraid it's going to end up nothing more than an amateur sport played out in a few remaining rural tracks in front of friends and family.
  12. Humphrey Appleby


    You’re complaining about the BSPA not telling anyone what’s going on, you presumably know what’s going on, yet you don’t want to tell us? Bit hypocritical don’t you think? And if I had to even hazard a guess what the discussions were about, it would be about relaxing fixed race nights before any more teams go out of business.
  13. Humphrey Appleby


    Does the mainstream media wait for official releases from the government, or even from major sporting bodies for that matter? Leaked information gets published all the time because they have relationships with insiders. Not one of the Star journalists has any connection with anyone close to a promotion?
  14. Humphrey Appleby


    Astonishing that speedway is years behind even the most grassroots of motorsports in using transponders. Ridiculous that it's still relying on starting gates, stopwatch and someone watching the finish line (who's not even always in line) to judge false starts and finishing positions. However, speedway is not a speed trial and times shouldn't be used to decide starting positions. There's a perfectly acceptable formula for deciding gate positions, and whilst I suppose times could be used to decide riding positions, it's not very practical in terms of terms of publishing the race programme in advance.
  15. Humphrey Appleby

    World Championship Pairs

    I've still got most copies of the Spar from circa 1984 in the loft, and also a good memory. Maybe one day I'll start a 'Shurely shome speedway mishtake' blog...

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