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So where did it all go wrong?

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13 hours ago, mikebv said:

His final two bits of advice was 'never be afraid to know the truth' and by that he encouraged all his businesses to 'pro-actively' seek feedback, as what you think you may be providing is sometimes very differently perceived by your customers, and always make sure customers went away with either a positive memory or a tangible souvenir (preferably both!) to remind them of their visit..

 

The BSPA and most clubs have no idea of the value of feedback ( nor any interest in it, just in case it "tells the truth" - they do not want to hear ). Ignore your customers and what you get is indifferent disinterest, which is what you deserve. How can all these promoters run successful businesses in the real world ( as we are told )? Do they employ someone better qualified than themselves to run them"

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31 minutes ago, barrybishop said:

I guess we may be the difference to the norm, but we only managed 5 wins last season in all competitions yet our crowd went up on the previous season. We saw an influx of families, a lot of travelling fans who wanted to experience an evening with us and our season ticket sales increased from 2016. As I wrote earlier, not one person said to me, sort the team out, we have had enough..... they really enjoyed their evening, because they were properly entertained, received value for money, felt valued and I guess felt/knew that Martin, our team and I were putting everything we had (I don’t mean financial) to make their evening fun. As someone wrote before...as the crowds grew, so did the atmosphere, which in turn probably helped the crowd grow again.

 

I truly don’t believe that fans of speedway want to see the best in the world week in week out. If they see close racing, with excitement and a bit of controversy, plus they feel valued, safe, their kids make friends, they interact with riders, in my view it’s a winning combination.  If their team happens to involve the world's best and they have the close racing still than that's even better.

 

We market as much as we can, but it is actually expensive to do all mediums, radio, paper, magazine, billboards and so on, so if I had one wish that would be an unlimited marketing budget to prove that marketed correctly the turnstiles will click again 

 

Thanks again, it’s interesting to read your views, as I try to see how they stack up in our stadium and what we do, and if using your views we can tweak what we do or implement something new.

 

As always, if you come to the island come grab me for a chat, I'm always in yellow and blue  :)

 

 

 

 

Yes...you are different to the norm. Because you promote with care and thought for your fans. And you provide entertainment and interaction.

Even when your team is struggling to win...if the entertainment is right, and everyone feels part of the Club, fans will respond in a positive manner.

Orions remarks about fans turning up only if you win is true to a certain extent in the current climate.

However...if promoted well, and racing was good week in and week out, and fans felt part of the Club, and they were entertained weekly and the promoters didn't rest on their laurels, then fans will support...regardless.

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8 hours ago, Gemini said:

I agree. I don't think the racing is any better or worse than it was years ago but the biggest thing that annoys me is all the hanging around watching tractors go round. I'm sure it's done so often so the meeting is longer and we think we've had our monies worth........ and don't get me started on sun breaks waiting for 45 minutes or more. :rolleyes:

Have to agree there Gemini, when I think back to the 70's and early 80's when my local track Canterbury had 3000 - 5000 people per week over that time. There was a curfew, the meeting had to finish by 9.00pm. It started at 7.00pm with a centre green rider introduction and one lap parade on their bikes, swiftly followed by the first heat. 13 race league match, 3 second half junior races, 4 second half heats and the second half final, 21 races in less than 2 hours with even time for a couple of laps after the final if a rider wanted to try something out. And yes the sun was a problem, for about 20 minutes, going into the third turn but that is what the effective peaks were for on your helmet! After the meeting the fans had full access to their favourites too.

Edited by LesR
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3 hours ago, waytogo28 said:

The BSPA and most clubs have no idea of the value of feedback ( nor any interest in it, just in case it "tells the truth" - they do not want to hear ). Ignore your customers and what you get is indifferent disinterest, which is what you deserve. How can all these promoters run successful businesses in the real world ( as we are told )? Do they employ someone better qualified than themselves to run them"

One of the main issues the Sport has is that often the Promoters appear not actually bothered whether a profit is made or not,  and its ran for a fair few as an expensive hobby which other parts of their income can afford to subsidise.

That can never help move the Sport forward as there is no organic growth, no vision to better itself year on year. .

Matt Ford seems to come in for much criticism but as far as I know Poole Speedway is his main income therefore he runs it like a business. Not spending more than he budgets for,  speculating to accumulate and replacing riders who fail to deliver success..

For many in the Sport it appears to be a chance to become a 'Lord of a fiefdom' (ignoring how miniscule the 'fiefdom' actually is), when maybe in their normal business life they are just another statistic..

It seems running a business in the real world is somewhat different to running Speedway as so many seem to circumnavigate normal business practice as soon as they put that 'Promoters hat' on..

I hope the CEO at Belle Vue, Adrian Smith, doesn't find himself succumbing to the "ahh, but this is Speedway" nonsense that gets rolled out time and time again to explain/defend the latest ridiculous decree, and can use his expertise to influence the Sport going forwards..

'Outsiders' though have sometimes appeared better welcomed in 'Royston Vasey' than in British Speedway through the years....:D

Edited by mikebv
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12 hours ago, Baldyman said:

Some great info from the Isle of Wight bloke....makes me want to go and check it out next season.  People like him deserve to be a success.

Completely agree. Feel slightly embarrassed that i haven't made more effort to visit. Perhaps a forum flash-mob would be fun. Pick a random IOW home meeting and try to get as many through the turn styles as possible? Wouldn't it be lovely for those who put so much effort into the sport to be repaid with one massive crowd during the season (and hopefully some inspired to return again).

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I think people have become less patient and needless gaps between races, restarts every other heat seem to have become something that the present human form get frustrated with. I for one can't stand sitting through the adverts on TV, whereas I used to sit through all that needless chat during four hours of GP coverage back in the day.

 

The DeanMachine echoes my views on one of his previous posts feeling riders should give their all to whichever club they join if they want similar in return from the fans. It is something the whole of the sport must put right. Give fans a reason to attend the track, a real lure that it is their team and they must be there, a team they feel represents them, and then support may become less flakey. The way the sport is set up right now, is it a wonder rider nor fans feel a regard for any one club.. and therefore this must spill over into what is primarily a team sport. 

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2 hours ago, barrybishop said:

I guess we may be the difference to the norm, but we only managed 5 wins last season in all competitions yet our crowd went up on the previous season. We saw an influx of families, a lot of travelling fans who wanted to experience an evening with us and our season ticket sales increased from 2016. As I wrote earlier, not one person said to me, sort the team out, we have had enough..... they really enjoyed their evening, because they were properly entertained, received value for money, felt valued and I guess felt/knew that Martin, our team and I were putting everything we had (I don’t mean financial) to make their evening fun. As someone wrote before...as the crowds grew, so did the atmosphere, which in turn probably helped the crowd grow again.

 

I truly don’t believe that fans of speedway want to see the best in the world week in week out. If they see close racing, with excitement and a bit of controversy, plus they feel valued, safe, their kids make friends, they interact with riders, in my view it’s a winning combination.  If their team happens to involve the world's best and they have the close racing still than that's even better.

 

We market as much as we can, but it is actually expensive to do all mediums, radio, paper, magazine, billboards and so on, so if I had one wish that would be an unlimited marketing budget to prove that marketed correctly the turnstiles will click again 

 

Thanks again, it’s interesting to read your views, as I try to see how they stack up in our stadium and what we do, and if using your views we can tweak what we do or implement something new.

 

As always, if you come to the island come grab me for a chat, I'm always in yellow and blue  :)

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the reply you speak very well I have to say ..its looks like your working hard and doing a very good job .My opinion won' change that unless the standard of rider  picks up the crowds won' t also .Where you are etc makes you diffrent to any other speedway club and thou what your doing it' clearly working I am  not sure it would have the same effect elsewhere .yet again thanks for the reply and good luck  in what your doing .

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On ‎18‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 9:58 AM, barrybishop said:

Hi everyone,

 

 

 

This is a very interesting thread to read and a great post here, although of course I wish that I wasn’t reading it.  Anyways, these are very useful when I am doing research into speedway and the general feedback about it. It is clear that there is a lot of frustration out there and I know this thread is dedicated to trying to identify what has gone wrong as opposed to the all the successes it has too.

 

If I look at the points and how it affects my own club (when I write my, me or I, I always mean Martin Widman and myself) there are some very interesting comparisons.... For example, I completely agree about the darts - we watched it on the box last night and I said to my Lisa, how on earth did darts get so good - what took it up to this level and why isn't it possible with speedway. Of course, we all know that it is possible to do it with speedway - we try to put on as much "quality" razzmatazz as possible on race night, the build-up, and all our social events because speedway is no longer just about speedway. However, in my view, the main difference about darts and speedway is anyone can nip down the pub, pick up some arrows and throw them, you can’t for speedway and that the darts we see on the box is the elite players in a conference centre packed with fans, PLUS one-time attenders who are there for the social and fun factor and not just the darts. What we do not see is the regular dart league games. So that is a huge difference – what we are saying is that we want our league matches to have the fun packed adventure of, for example the PDC darts scene, and this is something on the Island we strive to do each week – so aim high.

 

But, there is more… I can play darts easily but I cannot ride a speedway bike easily can I?.... uhhh well actually you can. Come to My First Skid on the island for example (or one of the other great schools across the country). Why have I added this bit…... well because I can prove that people who know nothing about speedway will come to our speedway school with little Johnny or Evie and try riding a speedway / twist and shoot bike (we even have a bike with stabilizers on). Then when they have tried it and realise that they have signed up their baby to ride a bike without brakes and watch some of the more advance riders a flying around their interest is caught... and this has been a big success on the island for us. I cannot begin to tell you, but I would suspect it has put at least 20 families on our gate each week over last year.

 

Attendances.... our attendances last year increased for every meeting bar one... but it was hard work to achieve this.. My First Skid, shows, schools, scouts, you name it we went there. We held a free meeting too which attracted a lot of people but our core focus is on making speedway part of a bigger show that involves kids, rider interaction, fun, up to date music, slick presentation, and for us, this has really worked. While of course we value massively our senior supporters, for example the nice story about Ann Barrett, but at the same time we focus on tomorrow's support too and what makes them want to come to speedway. The truth of this in my view is 2 fold... one they need to feel valued, be entertained, follow a team and receive value for money. (I am not sure I agree with what is the right price to admit someone to speedway thought - but I do know that what you charge for entry must reflect what the person receives. This actually applies to everything – if you received a Micky D’s burger in a Michelin 5 star restaurant you would have cause for disappointment – yet both at the right price offer value to their customer. In other words, if someone leaves and thinks to themselves, that was awful, I didn’t get value, they will not return) and secondly, community.... we now have groups of kids running around the stadium of different ages, going to different schools, from across the Island and the first time I saw this I thought "yes.... that's it". Because I know as a child attending speedway I had different friends there compared to sea cadets, or school... and the truth is I still do.

 

Fixtures... without doubt for us, we run every week and we are expected to run every week and this is vital, in our view, to the clubs success.

 

Admission - we do offer lots of offers for free entry to newbies... but this comes at a “cost” to them. We would like them to give us feedback and to tell us their thoughts. This was another area where we won lots of new fans over the last two years.

 

Integrity.... agree totally. However, I am not sure how we ensure it as I am sure that rule manipulation has always happened. The difference of today vice yesterday is social media and the ability for anyone to find a problem and declare it to the world - I am not suggesting this is wrong of course... it is just very different to how things were, and the sport needs to adapt to this accordingly.

 

Correct it’s not just speedway - it is a fun family night out....  or as we say a fun packed family adventure.  We want to entertain from entry to exit and this includes up to 10 mascots out on track for 30 minutes prior to the meeting, open pits, centre green visits, rider interaction, kids cycle race, me getting on a loudhailer when we were losing... and what is interesting for me last year when we had such a tough season not one person said to me - "Barry sort this out", they said, "thanks for another great night loved it.. we will win next week...." (I try to say goodbye to everyone after the meeting).

 

A business plan and a vision... you know when we looked at bringing speedway back we needed a business plan, we still use it, it is a vital part of our daily life, but it also enables us to look at what worked, what cost what, and so on... but all this is encompassed by a vision and when you have a vision you need your sponsors to share this with you (otherwise why would they invest in you and your club), and you need your fans to not only share it but help you achieve it and you need to prove it. When you prove it tell the world about it.

 

We made a promise to never charge for kids 16 and under and we will not (but interestingly I know have people writing to me to offer to buy kids tickets to social events - we never charge for them and they say we know, we want to just help... amazing hey?). Our second promise was to find riders from the island and we do this through My First Skid and we will enter the SDL league with the Wightlink Wizards with a team of students from the school.

 

Finally, I view you coming to watch the Warriors, Wizards or attending a My First Skid session as though you are coming to visit my house. I would be totally gutted if you didn’t have a great time, it’s personal to me, you have actually invested in our club by coming and that is important. Of course we can never get everything right, but we do listen and we do read lots of information on forums and social media, as well as asking our fans for their feedback on how we perform. We never lose sight the we are not millionaires and without a healthy sponsorship and fan base there could not be speedway on the island which is why we put every effort we can to make it succeed.

 

Anyway, thanks for the feedback on here about your views, we appreciate it..... if I could make one request as a promoter, fan, ex-rider, school instructor... is try and match your concern with positivity too because there are lots of it... if we all collectively talk our sport down, it will only go down, nothing will be able to bring it back up, but if we focus on our positives, while working on our concerns we can return our sport to the level it should be at. I know this works.. when kids come through the school… everyone cheers them for their first ride, they are my superstar every time they go out, we educate, we are disciplined but we have the most fun and you know what…. They come back… but you knew I would write that didn’t you. Positivity does work, trust me.

 

 

 

Thanks again and I hope to see you trackside in 2018. If you come to the island grab me for a chat I am always in yellow and blue, probably with kids all around me as I look like Mr Tumble, or screaming with the fans. 

 

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and thanks again for supporting your club wherever that may be.

 

 

If anyone wondered why I bang on about Isle of Wight all the time, there's your answer.

Most promoters treat members of the BSF as g'bs*ites, trolls, ignoramuses and keyboard commandos. They regard us with contempt, spite and aggression and as 'completely without credibility'.

This one treats us as speedway fans.

Ps Go there and have a chat with the Big Man, but aside from his fabulous (and I mean fabulous) curry, never eat anything he gives you :D

 

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I listened to the business hour on LBC radio the other night, and one of the professionals on there mentioned that a business should try to get feedback, good and bad. It is what I've been saying about speedway for a long time. Why oh why have so many fans been allowed to leak away? When, like I do, you voice opinions... all you get back is "You don't go anymore, why should you have a say?" Many fans lost interest when they married, had kids. So could these people be persuaded back? Speedway simply puts the admission prices up to help cover lost fans, adding pressure to those who are already finding admission too high to afford.

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9 hours ago, LesR said:

Have to agree there Gemini, when I think back to the 70's and early 80's when my local track Canterbury had 3000 - 5000 people per week over that time. There was a curfew, the meeting had to finish by 9.00pm. It started at 7.00pm with a centre green rider introduction and one lap parade on their bikes, swiftly followed by the first heat. 13 race league match, 3 second half junior races, 4 second half heats and the second half final, 21 races in less than 2 hours with even time for a couple of laps after the final if a rider wanted to try something out. And yes the sun was a problem, for about 20 minutes, going into the third turn but that is what the effective peaks were for on your helmet! After the meeting the fans had full access to their favourites too.

Belle Vue was the same in the late 60s and early 70s when I was watching there. The Belle Vue management wanted people out of the speedway by 9.00pm and into the amusement arcades etc. There was a story that the clerk of the course had his own unofficial 2 minute buzzer if he felt the ref was tardy. My recollection was that as riders came in off one heat the riders for the next heat were being pushed off. I go to relatively few meetings these days but slow presentation is a regular annoyance when I do go.

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12 hours ago, Chadster said:

Belle Vue was the same in the late 60s and early 70s when I was watching there. The Belle Vue management wanted people out of the speedway by 9.00pm and into the amusement arcades etc. There was a story that the clerk of the course had his own unofficial 2 minute buzzer if he felt the ref was tardy. My recollection was that as riders came in off one heat the riders for the next heat were being pushed off. I go to relatively few meetings these days but slow presentation is a regular annoyance when I do go.

That really is how it was at Brandon Stadium around the same time under CO and was was usually home in Northampton by 9.30 ( and on one memorable occasion by 9.15 pm after a  match ). This is NOT a rose tinted dinosaur fan glasses long ago memory.

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14 hours ago, Halifaxtiger said:

Most promoters treat members of the BSF as g'bs*ites, trolls, ignoramuses and keyboard commandos. They regard us with contempt, spite and aggression and as 'completely without credibility'.

 

Is this true? You'd think a forum of dedicated fans would - or at least could - provide vital feedback for any promoter.

Re Barry Bishop's words, I'm hugely impressed and wish him every success. If only I was within easy striking distance of the IOW.

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@barrybishop - How refreshing to actually read a promotion actually listens to his customers and doesn't just tell them what they want. And how great that it's working. More power to you and Martin and I hope crowds continue to improve, maybe the rest of the BSPA will start to listen to you and act on your advice based on your experience.

As HT says, also how great of you to come on here and treat us as customers and not something you trod in, that alone I think is worth a few fans and will be appreciated. I know when Pete Toogood used to wander around chatting to the fans I always liked him for it.

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49 minutes ago, SCB said:

@barrybishop - How refreshing to actually read a promotion actually listens to his customers and doesn't just tell them what they want. And how great that it's working. More power to you and Martin and I hope crowds continue to improve, maybe the rest of the BSPA will start to listen to you and act on your advice based on your experience.

As HT says, also how great of you to come on here and treat us as customers and not something you trod in, that alone I think is worth a few fans and will be appreciated. I know when Pete Toogood used to wander around chatting to the fans I always liked him for it.

Adrian Smith does the same at BV.. Not just around the 'posh seats' either he ventures over to us great unwashed on the South Stand....:D

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