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The continuing decline of Speedway

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Managed to coincide recent work travels with Redcar’s last two home meetings v Berwick and Peterborough. This involved four taxi rides 1.8 miles from my city centre hotel. Not one driver knew where the track was or that Speedway existed so local.

Hope the fours works out well. Will be a very tight squeeze.

 

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4 hours ago, tigerowl said:

It's just too expensive to attract and keep new fans and particularly families.

My speedway experience is to pay £16, enter a stadium which is dilapidated and, (unless I want to watch from behind the glass, which I don't), is in a worse condition now than it was in 1974 when I started going. There are no seats, just dusty steps. 

The pre-meeting entertainment is to listen to Now That's What I Call Music number 124 and watch a pathetic introduction of the riders by a half-hearted announcer.

There is then about 13 minutes of action over the next hour and a half to two hours with a raffle akin to the ones people used to have for a tray of meat in the Working Men's Clubs of years gone by. There is no second half, nothing to entertain the kids or anyone else - nothing.

The riders all seem to manage to ride around in vans as big as a starter home and even the reserves at 'Championship' level appear to be full-time.

So, the equipment costs a fortune and riders want paying a fair return for the expenditure and the risks they take. I have no problem with that, but the situation cannot continue. The sport has to find a way of reducing costs of equipment and riders have to realise that it is not sustainable to be full time when they are riding in front of crowds of 500-1500 people.

Promoters have to promote. All they do is to open the gates, expect people to come and pay their money and come back again the next week when many of them do absolutely nothing to encourage a return.

Times are hard for a lot of people and there is better entertainment to be had elsewhere. I've been to the ice-hockey a couple of times recently and it's not my cup of tea to be honest. But there were thousands there, many in replica kits, games and entertainment for the kids, a brilliant arena and cheaper than the speedway. I prefer the speedway because I've been brought up with it but in terms of value for money there was no comparison.

Speedway, on its's day, can be the best sport in the world but it needs someone in charge who has a vision and some radical ideas. The promoters have to promote and the riders have to be more realistic and realise that they can't all be full time.

 

A very fair and accurate assessment..

I can go to Cardiff with my lad and pay £38 for the both of us to sit and watch the GP with all the best riders in the World..

I can go to the NSS and pay £33 for the both of us to sit and watch a Premiership match made up of NL and Championship riders in the main..

Now, I predict that the level of racing we see at the NSS far out weighs what will be served up at Cardiff yet we will come away from the GP 'buzzing' about what a superb sport Speedway is..

Not possibly because of the racing but more down to the event and the way it is promoted and presented..

Speedway is a great sport when done well.

It needs (and quickly) to start to do it well domestically in Britain..

I will attend Garden Fetes and Car Boots this summer better promoted locally than the Aces at the NSS...

That cannot be right surely?...

And if those who run the Sport cannot promote it to the level it warrants then they can never complain if their crowds don't meet their expectations...

"Bring a Friend" truly isn't a cutting edge marketing plan, believe me....:rolleyes:

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The governing bodies and those who run and promote speedway have been the architects of their own downfall for years. They have treated the fans with contempt but because those fans love the sport so much they return week in week out however poorly they are treated. The problem is that those people won't be around forever and newer fans demand more and unfortunately those who run and promote the sport in this country can't or won't move with the times. After the fiasco last years 4TT at Peterborough and the so called 'farewell' at Swindon and the no show new stadium that was promised i won't go to either of these tracks now like may fans who are voting with their feet. Sadly speedway is finished as a professional sport in this country. I just wish that someone capable (BSPA/SCB and Promoters look away now)  could arrange one last meeting so we could give it one last decent send off.

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I can only pray that someone at BSPA does take a look at this thread, even if no other one's appeal to them. There is much on this thread that offers quality feedback to all UK promoters. Most of it is well thought out and offered up as something which could help improve the sport in the UK. 

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Sadly speedway in the UK will not move forward while self interest remains rife.  It has so much potential to offer, yet the promoters seem unwilling/unable to realise it.  As Bwitcher pointed out, watching a meeting on TV where the crowd consists of one man and his dog (and the dog looks like he's there under protest) does not give a good impression to the casual viewer.  Equally,  Speedways great ability to launch a shower of bullets into its own foot in front of the paying public doesn't help.  The infamous Belle vue Poole meeting a few years ago being a great example.

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9 hours ago, Hot Shoe said:

I just wish that someone capable (BSPA/SCB and Promoters look away now)  could arrange one last meeting so we could give it one last decent send off.

I hope that this Final Final will be televised.

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15 hours ago, tigerowl said:

It's just too expensive to attract and keep new fans and particularly families.

My speedway experience is to pay £16, enter a stadium which is dilapidated and, (unless I want to watch from behind the glass, which I don't), is in a worse condition now than it was in 1974 when I started going. There are no seats, just dusty steps. 

The pre-meeting entertainment is to listen to Now That's What I Call Music number 124 and watch a pathetic introduction of the riders by a half-hearted announcer.

There is then about 13 minutes of action over the next hour and a half to two hours with a raffle akin to the ones people used to have for a tray of meat in the Working Men's Clubs of years gone by. There is no second half, nothing to entertain the kids or anyone else - nothing.

The riders all seem to manage to ride around in vans as big as a starter home and even the reserves at 'Championship' level appear to be full-time.

So, the equipment costs a fortune and riders want paying a fair return for the expenditure and the risks they take. I have no problem with that, but the situation cannot continue. The sport has to find a way of reducing costs of equipment and riders have to realise that it is not sustainable to be full time when they are riding in front of crowds of 500-1500 people.

Promoters have to promote. All they do is to open the gates, expect people to come and pay their money and come back again the next week when many of them do absolutely nothing to encourage a return.

Times are hard for a lot of people and there is better entertainment to be had elsewhere. I've been to the ice-hockey a couple of times recently and it's not my cup of tea to be honest. But there were thousands there, many in replica kits, games and entertainment for the kids, a brilliant arena and cheaper than the speedway. I prefer the speedway because I've been brought up with it but in terms of value for money there was no comparison.

Speedway, on its's day, can be the best sport in the world but it needs someone in charge who has a vision and some radical ideas. The promoters have to promote and the riders have to be more realistic and realise that they can't all be full time.

 

Excellent  post, pretty much sums up this once great sport of ours. However   "expect people to come and pay their money and come back again the next week" there's no meeting next week, the next home meeting is 2 or even 3 weeks time, therefore even diehard fans get out of the habit of their weekly speedway fix! 

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11 hours ago, mikebv said:

A very fair and accurate assessment..

I can go to Cardiff with my lad and pay £38 for the both of us to sit and watch the GP with all the best riders in the World..

I can go to the NSS and pay £33 for the both of us to sit and watch a Premiership match made up of NL and Championship riders in the main..

Now, I predict that the level of racing we see at the NSS far out weighs what will be served up at Cardiff yet we will come away from the GP 'buzzing' about what a superb sport Speedway is..

Not possibly because of the racing but more down to the event and the way it is promoted and presented..

Speedway is a great sport when done well.

It needs (and quickly) to start to do it well domestically in Britain..

I will attend Garden Fetes and Car Boots this summer better promoted locally than the Aces at the NSS...

That cannot be right surely?...

And if those who run the Sport cannot promote it to the level it warrants then they can never complain if their crowds don't meet their expectations...

"Bring a Friend" truly isn't a cutting edge marketing plan, believe me....:rolleyes:

You obviously want speedway and maybe Belle Vue in particular, to succeed. You often make what seem to be knowledgeable posts about the marketing possibilities of the sport. You may already have done so but, if not,  would it not be a good idea to set out in writing  and send to Adrian Smith, the CEO at Belle Vue, your experience and credentials in this field and a detailed business plan setting out what you consider to be a successful marketing plan that a business with limited financial resources could probably afford.

Aidrian is very approachable and always about in the crowd at meetings so, if you preferred, you could even make an initial approach by speaking to him face to face.

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I use castrol R in my petrol mower, strimmer and chainsaw, basically because I love the smell.  It's a smell you rarely get at speedway these days.  I mentioned this to my son-in-law and after a bit of a trip down memory lane he said "maybe they should get some old bikes and race them round to start the meeting off?"  I thought that was a good idea, right off the top of his head.  You could have two or three match races, a bit like the old Golden Helmet.  That would also get the dirt moving to improve the racing for the main event.  And if you could get away with it, run them with the old silencers, or better still without them! It would be different, add something else to the meeting and maybe just perk up the interest of a few punters enough to make them want to come back.

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3 hours ago, waytogo28 said:

I hope that this Final Final will be televised.

.....and while the nation (well ok a couple of thousand) sits in front of their TVs and wearing black armbands for one last glimpse of their beloved speedway they will be told that due to the track conditions the meeting is now cancelled. The TV cameras will then zoom in on a BSPA official  on the centre green playing the last post (completely out of tune of course) then the flag will be lowered and the death of speedway will be announced next morning in The Times.

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1 hour ago, Nobblytriers said:

I use castrol R in my petrol mower, strimmer and chainsaw, basically because I love the smell.  It's a smell you rarely get at speedway these days.  I mentioned this to my son-in-law and after a bit of a trip down memory lane he said "maybe they should get some old bikes and race them round to start the meeting off?"  I thought that was a good idea, right off the top of his head.  You could have two or three match races, a bit like the old Golden Helmet.  That would also get the dirt moving to improve the racing for the main event.  And if you could get away with it, run them with the old silencers, or better still without them! It would be different, add something else to the meeting and maybe just perk up the interest of a few punters enough to make them want to come back.

There are a couple of groups going around UK speedway tracks this season with old upright bikes and this is great for older fans who remember them but don't forget the uprights disappeared from league speedway around 25 years ago and younger and newer fans have no association with these bikes at all either in looks or smell. 

As for Castrol R yes it's smells great but is nasty stuff if you have to strip down an engine. I use Castrol A747 in a classic road racer i have and although it doesn't smell the same as Castrol R is pretty close and doesn't do the same damage to the motor.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Aces51 said:

You obviously want speedway and maybe Belle Vue in particular, to succeed. You often make what seem to be knowledgeable posts about the marketing possibilities of the sport. You may already have done so but, if not,  would it not be a good idea to set out in writing  and send to Adrian Smith, the CEO at Belle Vue, your experience and credentials in this field and a detailed business plan setting out what you consider to be a successful marketing plan that a business with limited financial resources could probably afford.

Aidrian is very approachable and always about in the crowd at meetings so, if you preferred, you could even make an initial approach by speaking to him face to face.

I thank you for your opinion of me Aces51, but honestly it is very, very basic marketing skills I possess..

I use the "listen to your customers, find out what they want from you, find the price point they are happy to pay, then give it to them", 'technique'..

I do find the "there is no other way, this is all you are going to get, I am right so take it or leave it, and if you don't use me I will shut then you will be sorry, do you know what my costs are when you moan about how much I charge?" 'technique' somewhat 'flawed'...

(Maybe I should charge for that)..:D

If any promoter cannot simply copy what a huge amount of businesses do well when it comes to marketing their own Speedway track then someone like me on a social media website truly cannot help them...

The answer is out there, and has been through decades of a dwindling fan bases feedback...

Promoters choose (as 100% is their right as it's their money) to ignore what's so obviously not fit for purpose and cracked on doing the same thing year in year out..

I actually did once meet up with a Promoter several years ago to discuss how myself and a few others could help him...

As a business man myself, I was truly, truly amazed at his opinion of the way the Sport was being ran (ie everything was rosy in the garden) and gobsmacked with his business plan, (leaflets on car windscreens in supermarkets was about the best idea he had):D

He was a genuine bloke but honestly couldn't understand why crowds were not flocking to the sport and sat amazed with my feedback as to where the sport stood against other 'professional' sports and my thoughts as to why an ever ageing demographic were the only ones who attended regularly..

Needless to say, I didn't pursue it...:D

Speedway needs marketing but on a much grander scale than the odd track doing it right as each tracks own business depends on the success of others too..

A proper, joined up National marketing plan is the only way..

Maybe one day the Promoters will finally realise that and put joint resources in to marketing and work together for the greater good so they all benefit from an upsurge in income...

And maybe hell will also freeze over..?

 

 

Edited by mikebv

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13 minutes ago, mikebv said:

Maybe one day the Promoters will finally realise that and put joint resources in to marketing and work together for the greater good so they all benefit from an upsurge in income...

And maybe hell will also freeze over..?

 

 

Birmingham are doing some good things RE getting kids involved with activities on the centregreen during the interval since the Masons took over, particularly as the riders are embracing it and getting involved.  But you're right that marketing the sport involves huge work and a clear, defined strategy for doing it nationally, as opposed to local.

It can be done no doubt, but it needs people to put the spadework in and show some vision.

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First time poster,long time fan.

The decline,I've many points & observations.Firstly,they should start with image/1st impressions. That's cut grass,tapes that are tight & don't flap in the wind.

There should be standard start Marshall attire at every track,all black Polo Shirt/Sweater/black Chinos or the like with Start Marshall printed on the back,he should be no older than 35 & slim/athletic looking. No parade on a tractor (tacky) with riders waving at clouds.Walk out,introduced,allowed a couple of laps (as Coventry did) 

No chairs on centre green with start girls texting (which I've seen)

As regards promotion of the sport,I've more of a social media presence than many/most clubs.

It should be mandatory to have/use.. SNAPCHAT/Instagram (with online merch shop)YouTube channel/Twitter & Facebook.. These are all free,give you global exposure to you & riders/sponsors etc & in an instance,these can also be monetised.You only have to look at Arsenal Fan TV who have 800k followers & no product to sell..they have betting companies/Vanarama sponsoring & adverts during their content.Often there regular contributors get on SKY/5LIVE/TalkSport.

I recently asked a promoter via Facebook messenger (he said I could ask him a question(s) as to why the club had very little/good online presence (see above) HIS ANSWER... HE DIDN'T GIVE ONE OR REPLY... This was Rye House & prior to the season starting/close to season/p&p.

So why should I or anyone else turn up.

Oh & the bloody traffic cone they use to stop the tapes from blowing is another embarrassment,they use a prong type device in Poland which looks good & unobtrusive... They may seem like small things.. But they count... 

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