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tmc

So where did it all go wrong?

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OK, a million different views have been expressed about the cause of British speedway's steady decline towards the abyss and what has caused it over the past 30 years or so, but let's cut to the chase and get to the point.

Forget stupid nonsense such as the black & white helmet and the tac sub rule (where and when it should be applied) - they are not compelling reasons in themselves why most clubs are running at a loss, even some who would have you believe they are doing everything very well (see you, Glasgow).

There are very clearly a number of factors which, when combined, have broken the camel's back.

But, for all speedway's ridiculous self-inflicted damage by self-serving promoters, some problems are unique in a speedway sense and are beyond the BSPA's control. No-one seems to want to even mention it, but speedway fans are feeling the pinch more than anyone. We know that through our business.

Talking generally, whether supporters' income has been reduced due to unemployment, their benefit allowance cut, or they would rather spend what relatively little disposable income they have on other things, the harsh reality is speedway is losing out. The promoters can't continue to charge more for less, it's totally illogical and will only end in tears.

So let's state no more than SIX good reasons why British speedway is in such a perilous mess (and, by definition, what needs putting right). We can start another thread with six things that would IMPROVE British speedway another day soon, but let' s start by recognising the problems before looking at possible solutions...

All I would ask is, please be realistic . . .

WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?

 

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BSPA, you might want to take note . . .

 

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Tony Mole said the most important aspect of his final interview as a promoter ( in the SS ) , right at the start, that he was giving up because he felt that he had " run out of ideas to get the general public interested ". And there lies the truth of the matter. No-one can do that. Certainly if TM can't it's impossible. It does not matter how much re-organisation  or rule tweaking the BSPA undertake if they collectively ( and individual promoters themselves ) cannot get people into the stadium.  Getting the general public  in to sample the "show" and see how good on track racing excitement can be, is the only way forward if Speedway GB is ever to see a revival. Thanks and farewell Tony. We now need A Real Showman ( oops Showperson ) to make people see speedway as a fun night out, worth spending their money on.

Every track should seriously consider putting on a Open Doors Free Entry meeting early in the season AND market it hard so that their stadium is 100% full for that meeting. The "Wow This is Speedway Racing" meeting should be very crisply presented so that the time ( and interest in it ) does not drag! Every person should be given a free race card with some basic newbie info on "what you are seeing" tonight. The track should be prepared as well as possible as a fair racing track ( not for the best home team advantage ) and the riders should be meeting with fans before and after the meeting for autographs (  Hug your Hero selfies time etc ). And the riders should be told and understand that this is a speedway show - designed to impress and catch new fans.

I know, I can hear the shouts of " do you know has much that would cost?" BUT it is money well spent on advertising and almost guaranteed to being thousands though the gate to see the on track spectacle ( hopefully presented at it's best ) IF you should it loud in the couple of weeks before the date. Every spectator should be given a Feedback Card re "what did you like best and  what if anything did you not like" etc ) . The promotion needs to read and listen to the valuable feedback offered ( especially by newbies ) " Will you be coming again?".

Unless the general public do see speedway RACING at it's best then there is no hope of them bothering to return. Especially if they cannot see it on TV where they must see a stadium full of fans really into the racing and having a VFM good night out.


 

 
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1 hour ago, mikebv said:

 

4. Admission Costs. - Maybe due to costs they cannot be lower? But quite simply, you will not attract a regular crowd every week/fortnight/tri-weekly/every fourth Wednesday if the dogs isn't on and we can get Greg over (delete as applicable). There has to be a way of reducing entrance fees. We who are left are used to paying inflation busting admission fees, now circa £18, but any newbies (which the Sport so desperately needs) will be very reluctant to dip their toe in the Speedway water at those prices. Remember,  most won't have a clue about the Sport other than via TV or YouTube. Forking out £50 or so for a family not knowing beforehand if they will enjoy it or not is a big ask I would suggest. And one not too many will take..

 

 

 

Where admission is concerned, I don't think its a matter of how much you pay but whether you get value for money that is important.  As an example, I paid £17 to watch the Aces-Wolves Premiership fixture last season and it convinced to go to the NSS even more, because it was just brilliant. Everything went right that night. On the other hand, in quite possibly the majority of cases I probably didn't get my moneys worth.

I don't think that in a comparison with other sports speedway is that expensive. Two adults and two children under 11 at Belle Vue is £34. At Isle of Wight, £24. Its rare that a family ticket will set you back £50.

Halifax RLFC would be £44. Halifax Town £46. Leeds United £76 (at the cheapest, it could be over £100). Huddersfield Town £90.  To go a bit further, Huddersfield Odeon is £31.50.

You are right, though, that as its a matter of attempting to get people to go in the first place it makes things much more difficult even if prices are less. My own view is that nothing beats word of mouth - if someone is continually banging on how good it is, you are more likely to try it.

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2 hours ago, waytogo28 said:

Tony Mole said the most important aspect of his final interview as a promoter ( in the SS ) , right at the start, that he was giving up because he felt that he had " run out of ideas to get the general public interested ". And there lies the truth of the matter. No-one can do that. Certainly if TM can't it's impossible. It does not matter how much re-organisation  or rule tweaking the BSPA undertake if they collectively ( and individual promoters themselves ) cannot get people into the stadium.  Getting the general public  in to sample the "show" and see how good on track racing excitement can be, is the only way forward if Speedway GB is ever to see a revival. Thanks and farewell Tony. We now need A Real Showman ( oops Showperson ) to make people see speedway as a fun night out, worth spending their money on.

Every track should seriously consider putting on a Open Doors Free Entry meeting early in the season AND market it hard so that their stadium is 100% full for that meeting. The "Wow This is Speedway Racing" meeting should be very crisply presented so that the time ( and interest in it ) does not drag! Every person should be given a free race card with some basic newbie info on "what you are seeing" tonight. The track should be prepared as well as possible as a fair racing track ( not for the best home team advantage ) and the riders should be meeting with fans before and after the meeting for autographs (  Hug your Hero selfies time etc ). And the riders should be told and understand that this is a speedway show - designed to impress and catch new fans.

I know, I can hear the shouts of " do you know has much that would cost?" BUT it is money well spent on advertising and almost guaranteed to being thousands though the gate to see the on track spectacle ( hopefully presented at it's best ) IF you should it loud in the couple of weeks before the date. Every spectator should be given a Feedback Card re "what did you like best and  what if anything did you not like" etc ) . The promotion needs to read and listen to the valuable feedback offered ( especially by newbies ) " Will you be coming again?".

Unless the general public do see speedway RACING at it's best then there is no hope of them bothering to return. Especially if they cannot see it on TV where they must see a stadium full of fans really into the racing and having a VFM good night out.


 

 
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Its interesting to read your - very reasonable - comments here.

I have mentioned Isle of Wight here (and many times before). They have a policy of allowing Islander newbies in for one meeting (that includes their family) for free by taking their names and putting them on the gate. At the end of the match, they are asked to give feedback to the promotion. No cards are given out, but announcer Rob Dyer does give a brief but informative outline of the sport before the racing starts. The racing is decent. There are autograph sessions before every meeting, and riders are usually in the bar afterwards. One member of the promotion tours the crowd during the meeting, and does so every week. Last season, I saw away fans invited on to the centre green. 

That is part of the reason why Isle of Wight speedway is, in my view, a blueprint or at least an example as to how speedway tracks should operate.

The cost of all that ? Pretty much nothing. If a fan isn't going anyway and you let him in free, you haven't lost a penny. Feedback, centre green and pits visits are just a matter of a  little time and effort.

 

Edited by Halifaxtiger
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All of the ideas mentioned here have been tried, they might have had some success at some clubs but in the main they made no difference. Despite people constantly criticising promoters on various threads, most are successful business people and many have invested a great deal of money in the sport. If you only had the clubs that break even from gate receipts, you'd be down to a handful, that might sound like rock bottom but it would be sounder than the current "are we running next year or not?" situation that seems to blight so many clubs. It's now apparent that fixed race nights haven't really attracted the big names, because they were being paid for by the TV rights and they look to have gone. I think that instead of having big ideas about big names, we should concentrate on having a set-up that is financially viable, if that means part-time riders and meetings clustered around weekends, so be it, at least we wouldn't have the uncertainty.

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There are many reason like admission is too expensive, a collection of stupid rules like doubling up but for me the 2 biggest factors are ,1 we don’t know what we are anymore , speedway has always been a working mans sport a bit like stockcars but it’s trying to be a poor mans F1 and we are stuck somewhere in the middle and don’t know who our fans are anymore .2 there has always been a bond between the fans and riders and for whatever reason it has been eroded away to the point now that it barely exsist , have a read of the Preben Erickson bit in the speedway star this week , it hits the nail on the head , the sport has become a individual rider sport that is focussed and directed at the riders and the fans seem like an after thought but are expected to pay for the privilege , 

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To me there is just one key factor. In the minds of far too many people speedway is no longer viewed as being worth spending £15-20 per person on.

 

Whether that is a false or genuine perception is irrelevant. It's basic economics that the price is a product of supply and demand. The supply side is still reasonable but demand has plummetted. Abysmal marketing, a shoddy attitude to customers, a focus on rider needs rather than customer, rules based on constant compromise, usually to paper over loopholes, failure to control unnecessary costs, pitifully poor racing in several cases, constant rider absence are all details. 

Speedway has to be or either be seen to be value for money.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, THE DEAN MACHINE said:

There are many reason like admission is too expensive, a collection of stupid rules like doubling up but for me the 2 biggest factors are ,1 we don’t know what we are anymore , speedway has always been a working mans sport a bit like stockcars but it’s trying to be a poor mans F1 and we are stuck somewhere in the middle and don’t know who our fans are anymore .2 there has always been a bond between the fans and riders and for whatever reason it has been eroded away to the point now that it barely exsist , have a read of the Preben Erickson bit in the speedway star this week , it hits the nail on the head , the sport has become a individual rider sport that is focussed and directed at the riders and the fans seem like an after thought but are expected to pay for the privilege , 

Excellent post Dean. Sums it up perfectly. 

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3 hours ago, Halifaxtiger said:

I have mentioned Isle of Wight here (and many times before). They have a policy of allowing Islander newbies in for one meeting (that includes their family) for free by taking their names and putting them on the gate.

 I can't help thinking as most holiday makers are only there for a week the family wouldn't be back for the next meeting anyway so they have had a nice free evening out.  :lol: Good idea for other tracks though.

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36 minutes ago, PHILIPRISING said:

IF you were a teenager why would you go to speedway?

Ask the poles , their fans are 90% young and it’s the same product as here but you wouldn’t know it 

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not one thing - quite a few, each taken on its own may seem trivial

i do not like the look of the bikes, body colours, etc

too many team changes every year

win at all costs attitude leading to rule bending

costs too much to get in

bikes too fast/ not enough dirt

 

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As others have already posted: but promote meetings.  Its' all very well advertising 'entry for a tenner' when it's on TV once or so a season but then don't not promote anymore, it must be promoted each &  every week. 

+ too many rule changes, the rule book should really be torn up and start again form scratch.  e.g. a riders average is 5pts because that is his average now, not from when he last rode 8 years ago for 5 matches 3 of which were away and were under some special dispensation or other.  And run at night whenever possible, speedway always looks better under floodlites and going out anwhere at nite is always a little bit more exciting than during the day.  I still watch live speedway whenever ever I can but I'm at the stage wehere the exact ins and outs of rules don't really intrerest me anywmore as once you get your heads around it, they change it again.  I just go to enjoy the racing these days....

Edited by martinmauger
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