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6 minutes ago, Diamondlil said:

If you change your broadband /telephone to BT,BT sport is free.

Only for the first 12 months. It costs me £12.50 now for BT Sports. You can get it for £10 but who doesn't want to watch in HD these days? Apart form my parents!

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And mine! They still even watch 101 & 103 rather than 115 & 178 :mad::D

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And me lol, I switched my broadband to bt 12 months ago but only got the first 3 months free, I'm looking forward to calling them to renew my contract. If I'm not happy with the deal I'm tempted to tell em to stick it. Trouble is I want the speedway. Just had Virgin cable down our road so am tempted to ditch Sky as well but I've heard bad reports on Virgin with prices going up while in contract. But they all seem to do that anyway

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2 hours ago, SCB said:

Only for the first 12 months. It costs me £12.50 now for BT Sports. You can get it for £10 but who doesn't want to watch in HD these days? Apart form my parents!

Got mine free for the 30 months

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, BWitcher said:

No, but I did early 80's so pretty close. However, it's not particularly relevant.

Here is my view, to explain it in more details.

A race will always seem better the bigger the crowd and the better the atmosphere. A good race becomes a brilliant race. An average race becomes a good race and so on. The same principle by definition applies to the meeting as a whole. 

The perfect example of this is the 81 Wembley Final at which the racing was overall average. Yes a couple of great heats but many poor one. BUT.. the atmosphere was fantastic and as such it's remembered (rightly so) as one of the best meetings to have been at ever. Had the very same meeting taken place in front of 1000 people it would get called a poor meeting in reality.

So, in the 70's and into the early 80's there were good crowds packing stadiums across the country. The atmosphere was great, local derbies and rivalries were aplenty. Even poor meetings seemed good because of the crowd. 

Then came a series of events.. Penhalls retirement, the death of Sanders/Carter, the troubles of Lee.. and most importantly the race fixing scandals which killed off a lot of press coverage and caused a lot of fans to walk away.

As the decade went on, the age demographic of the sport continued to rise. As with ALL sports as fans grow older they can lose interest, stop attending as regularly (even in football I know of many who were season ticket holders not so long ago but now as they get older have stopped attending). Of course sadly fans also pass away. The sport failed for the most part to attract a younger fan base. The image of it began to be one of mostly 'older' people and it became less trendy for youngsters. Throw in the loss of a number of popular tracks and their support base (not to mention the rivalries they had) and the problems became worse.

As we continued into the 90's and then the 21st century most sports realised they were fighting new battles against other attractions. Many re-invented themselves to an extent.. whereas speedway just carried on with the same old, same old. However now, as the crowds began to fall.. good meetings seemed like average meetings, average meetings became poor meetings. The age of fans continued to rise, the number of youngsters attending continued to fall.

Then throw in the weakening of the top league season on season to drive yet more fans away. The 'dodgy' (being polite) way the sport has been run with regards to the implement of certain rules.. all contributed to driving ever more fans away.. which again adds to the cycle. Now what were previously good meetings to have attended become poor and so on.

Speedway is still a fantastic sport, it just doesn't feel like it often enough anymore.

I agree with much of what you say however you did use the term "Too much like the seventies" which was somewhat different to the gradual decline of the sport during the eighties (which is the era you cite some specific examples) which has continued to this day.

During the height of the seventies the sport was in a relatively healthy state (certainly compared to today) where the national press (Mirror, People, Express) sponsored, as well as covered, not only meetings but test matches and/or tournaments and there was generally an abundance of national sponsorships which, again, backed leagues (Gulf Oil for example) specific meetings/test matches/tournaments and obviously riders.

The sport was featured regularly on national/local TV (World of Sport in particular...the end of that franchise during the middle eighties certainly had an effect on the sport) and even the BBC showed highlighted meetings occasionally so the sport must have been deemed attractive and/or doing something right to warrant such coverage.

Plus the fact that the national team drew plaudits and created interest which the advent of the old British League Division Two helped to fuel before an abundance of foreigners and other factors changed things in subsequent decades.  

Okay those who were around during the seventies saw the advent of the four valve engine and the gradual parting of the ways of the two leagues which the effects of both became apparent as the sport moved into the eighties and beyond.

Yes there were issues during the seventies as there was during the sixties and fifties (when the sport was struggling towards the back end of that particular decade) but personally I feel that the seventies offered much and I'm thankful that I was able to experience both the highs and lows of that particular decade.

Whether the actual quality of the racing was any better is always going to cause debate. My dad went during the late forties and early fifties and always said that the racing was better then but the subject is always subjective and often based on personal preferences and bias and fans will always cite that the racing was better during any particular period in which they attended.

As regards attracting younger fans? That's the biggest challenge that faces the sport and I have no answers to that particular question although I have some rather contentious views on the subject which I'll keep to myself!

As regards the sport having to "re-invent" itself is open to debate and conjecture as fundamentally it's about four riders (with slight variations on occasions) circumnavigating an oval track and how far should the sport deviate from that in an attempt to attract a new audience will always divide opinion.Tweaking rules here and there is not the answer in my view but beyond that what are the possibilities?

Edited by steve roberts
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Good post Steve. 

What I mean by too much like the seventies is the overall package. Presentation wise, very little has changed. The racing itself doesn't need changing. 

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15 minutes ago, BWitcher said:

Good post Steve. 

What I mean by too much like the seventies is the overall package. Presentation wise, very little has changed. The racing itself doesn't need changing. 

I feel all warm inside... Trump and that North Korean bloke meeting up for a few bevvies, and now BWitcher and Steve Roberts on here agree with each other. If you would have told me this last week I'd have laughed.. laughed I tell ya.

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Posted (edited)

I agree about the presentation. Easy improvements are to speed up the meetings with no overlong delays between races, apart from the unavoidable delays after some crashes, music that appeals to a younger audience and making fans feel appreciated.

We also need to look more at what appeals to youngsters. We need apps that not only provides them with a constant flow of up to date information but that are interactive. How about an app that allows users to predict results of matches and races and then marks their predictions against the actual results using emoji's and amusing comments. It could also be used as a race card with instant updates after each race.

Edited by Aces51
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5 hours ago, Aces51 said:

I agree about the presentation. Easy improvements are to speed up the meetings with no overlong delays between races, apart from the unavoidable delays after some crashes, music that appeals to a younger audience and making fans feel appreciated.

We also need to look more at what appeals to youngsters. We need apps that not only provides them with a constant flow of up to date information but that are interactive. How about an app that allows users to predict results of matches and races and then marks their predictions against the actual results using emoji's and amusing comments. It could also be used as a race card with instant updates after each race.

...call me an old fuddy duddy (and plenty do!) and having no understanding of what appeals to youngsters but when I went to speedway the music played was often the latest chart music or do the younger generation today no longer listen to that type of music or do the majority of staging tracks play music from the past?

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Posted (edited)

At Belle Vue until the last few seasons it seemed to be mainly music I recognised, so 60's and 70's. Now it does seem more of a mixture with much I don't recognise. Whether that means they are playing current music or just music from the 90's onwards I wouldn't know. Last year they introduced a mascot, Chase The Ace and I must admit that my initial reaction was it was something I could well do without but he is brilliant. He keeps young and old amused between races with his dancing and mimes.

Edited by Aces51
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2 hours ago, steve roberts said:

...call me an old fuddy duddy (and plenty do!) and having no understanding of what appeals to youngsters but when I went to speedway the music played was often the latest chart music or do the younger generation today no longer listen to that type of music or do the majority of staging tracks play music from the past?

Speedway still thinks it’s 1980 on a good day. They play 80s music, if you’re lucky they forget and accidentally play something from the 90s!

TBH, it’s not about music from any particular era. There’s rubbish stuff in the charts today and some great stuff was in the charts in the 60s. It’s about playing music that gets people excited. The current number 1, Gods Plan by Drake (and I just had to search for it on Spotify as I’d never heard it!) is more likely to send people to sleep then getting them excited.

It amazes me how often you see a great race, the crowd going wild then the dull as ditch water announcer reads out a result with a beat time and everyone calmly fills in their programme and then they play a nice calm song to relax everyone. Jeeze. Get rid of programmes and have a score board and as soon as that great race is over blast something that keeps people excited.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, SCB said:

Speedway still thinks it’s 1980 on a good day. They play 80s music, if you’re lucky they forget and accidentally play something from the 90s!

TBH, it’s not about music from any particular era. There’s rubbish stuff in the charts today and some great stuff was in the charts in the 60s. It’s about playing music that gets people excited. The current number 1, Gods Plan by Drake (and I just had to search for it on Spotify as I’d never heard it!) is more likely to send people to sleep then getting them excited.

It amazes me how often you see a great race, the crowd going wild then the dull as ditch water announcer reads out a result with a beat time and everyone calmly fills in their programme and then they play a nice calm song to relax everyone. Jeeze. Get rid of programmes and have a score board and as soon as that great race is over blast something that keeps people excited.

...but what to play is the dilemma faced with today's generation in mind. I have a very wide musical taste and I do recall when watching Ice Hockey that the music was very upbeat. I remember when Nigel Wagstaff was the promoter at Cowley each rider had a themed piece of music played as they were introduced...never really caught on and much of it was instantly forgettable.

During the period when Laurence Rogers was the announcer at Cowley (groan!), as well as at Cradley, the heat result was announced with a particular piece of music depending on the outcome...it got very repetitive.

When Simon Wigg staged his farewell meeting at Cowley his selection of music was very loud and heavy...unfortunately that caused problems with the local residents and the promoters were warned of the consequences and if it was to reoccur that action would be taken by the local authorities...in fact I seem to remember Sunday meetings at Cowley were put in jeopardy because of the loud music. Sure that it was Reading during their time at Tilehurst who were unable to play music because there was an old people's home nearby and Poole having issues with the local hospital?

What was quite effective, in my view, during the early days of 'The Rebels' at Wood Lane  was that the winner of the race had a spot light focused upon him as he returned to the pits with appropriate commentary. I seem to remember Dave Lanning doing a live commentary during his spell at Plough Lane whilst the race was in progress and Peter York used to pass comment during the last few yards at Cowley...if that's your thing. 

Edited by steve roberts

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Posted (edited)
On ‎10‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 11:40 AM, BWitcher said:

Good post Steve. 

What I mean by too much like the seventies is the overall package. Presentation wise, very little has changed. The racing itself doesn't need changing. 

Interesting to read Laura Morgan's interview in this weeks Speedway Star. The Workington promotion went to a local show to promote their club locally , handing out over 3000 free entry tickets for the following nights speedway. 300 take up that offer, not bad, Workington then put another offer on for the newbies with £10 entry to the next fixture, 100 out of the 300 take that up, the next week without any offers all the free entry fans are nowhere to be seen, in Laura's words what can you do ?  It may be a bit controversial but is the core product good enough ? because current fans are leaving the sport, and in this case new fans are choosing not to return. Speedway is down to its diehards, many of who will watch anything. Diehards say there's nothing wrong with the racing but that's the reason I've stopped going, others I stand with are the same, I was going more for a social than the speedway. There's only Belle Vue in the top division, with their purpose built track that I would now attend every week if I lived in that area.  Sadly it seems speedway in Britain is slowly dying a slow death, less fans , weaker teams, pennies for a TV deal and no major sponsors . sad  but true

Edited by New Science
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57 minutes ago, New Science said:

 It may be a bit controversial but is the core product good enough ? 

No, it is not. 
The Workington promotion have effectively done some market research and proven that point.
The answer to the question "What can you do?" is:  Improve the racing.

They need to draw the correct conclusions from the market research.

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But who says they won’t return at some point in the future? I first went to an ice hockey game because we had free tickets. Never considered it before that. Since then I go once or twice a year. If you’d asked the week after I fort went for free you’d say it was a failure but ask now 15 years later and I’ve been to at least two dozen games and taken others a few times too.

You’re not going to hook in everyone as new weekly fans, most will never return, those that do return will be over time.

That said, if the “show” you provide is crap he free entry has done more harm than good. It’s no good letting people in for free to watch crap as they’ll never ever return. Free entry to a good product and they might return one day. It’s too long ago since I last visited Workington (Carl Stonehewer was riding for them!) but have they considers their product is just crap?

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