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The continuing decline of Speedway

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Get a successful GB Team and the media profile will increase. Rugby Union and Cricket latched onto that years ago to compete with a Football obsessed media and population..

When GB ruled the roost in Speedway, Terrestrial TV and the Newspapers were interested...

Then along came all the Scandinavians and Americans who we trained and Terrestrial TV and Newspapers no longer wanted to cover something without the 'feel good factor' that successful National Teams bring..

Do that and the domestic scene will naturally start to see benefits (like it has done previously) through its association. (Ideally with the most recognised British lads riding over here!)..

Have some kind of reward for the League Winners to make that competition relevant. Do this by paying 'Team Prize Money' each meeting rather than individual points money and have a Trophy at the end of the season for the team that tops the Leagues. (You can still divide up the cash individually 'off camera' as per each riders agreement..)

Then have the play offs..

If, as now,  the play offs are 'all important' why bother attending matches before that when they are nothing more than a warm up for the main event..?

To encourage regular attendance flog discount tickets at each meeting for the next two/three/four matches etc, it is quite stark who 'irregular' the 'regulars' can be...

Simply,  get those who do actually know about the sport and do attend, to attend more...!

Don't bother with season tickets as far too restrictive to encourage 'special offers' through the season..

And the 'die hards' will come anyway. ..

Ride on the best night for your business with riders committed to putting GB first..

And No 'Mickey Mouse' "arr but this is Speedway" make it up as you go along rules. ..

(Poland and Sweden never use "arr but this is Speedway" to justify nonsense administration do they?)..

It looks like GB actually now have a 'proper plan' led by people with clear vision with, most importantly, Woffy well on board, so maybe,  just maybe,  there is a small light at the end of that long tunnel?

Edited by mikebv
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It does seem that some of the debate revolves around the fans/supporters. Older fans were brought up on a diet of mixed racing, league, cup, individual meetings 4TT etc and enjoyed the weekly fix which also achieved the desired aim of riders in having more track time. Today many will not turn up / support anything other than league meetings. That is fine and a choice we all make

However with fewer clubs not always having their preferred choice of racing night and having to fight over a dwindling pool of riders given the pull of European clubs, it does make it difficult to get a settled 1 to 7 in any BL club with regular weekly racing particular when the customer base only want one form of meeting and will not turn out in decent enough numbers to support/following speedway racing except a league meeting. Up and coming riders have little chance of breaking in when the track time is so scarce. Perhaps the decline is not just due to the product and all the associated issues, it may well be that the punter has played a major part in the decline with their choices. Other theories will do the rounds as to who or what is wrong and lots of ideas on here have merit but perhaps the supporters need to look inwardly and think would I run a speedway team with such a fickle client base.

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11 minutes ago, ouch said:

When your clientele is old farts, of course you’re going to attempt to bring in a younger crowd. What you don’t do is implement a system (or systems) that helps drive these old farts away whilst simultaneously failing to attract newbies. 

Agree 100% with you, in my opinion the biggest mistake in today's speedway are the play off's they have done more damage to speedway than anything else. They should be scraped & instead run an end of season K.O.C. one for the top half & one for the bottom half of the leagues. BUT NO wholesale team changes allowed.

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Just a small thing, but how about allowing each team two proper practice heats before the match starts?

That would help with set ups, identify any track problems and allow the shale to move out a little for better racing.

 

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25 minutes ago, Ghosty said:

Agree 100% with you, in my opinion the biggest mistake in today's speedway are the play off's they have done more damage to speedway than anything else. They should be scraped & instead run an end of season K.O.C. one for the top half & one for the bottom half of the leagues. BUT NO wholesale team changes allowed.

The best idea ive seen ...I can see it now Leics v Wolves the winner winning the bottom of the table  ko cup ..should pack them in .maybe they could have in on  pay for view ?

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I have never understood why we have play offs, just copying football I think. Why not, at the end of the season have the KO cup with the top 4 teams automatically going into the quarter finals to meet the 4 surviving teams from a series of qualifying ko rounds. The top 4 would then be drawn against the other 4 and not each other until the semis.

 

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4 hours ago, Aces51 said:

That isn't how it was in the pre play off days. Yes, fans wanted to finish top of the league but with a league of 16 - 19 teams that wasn't the only interest just as it isn't now in the football PL. Interest was retained because it was an achievement to finish in the top 3, because you wanted your team to finish higher than your local rivals or the teams you disliked or because you wanted to avoid the wooden spoon. Just as in the football PL you had an expectation for your team, which wasn't necessarily that they would finish top or thereabouts and the interest was in watching to see if they could achieve your expectation or hopefully, exceed it. 

With play offs the interest isn't there until about this time of year when the real fight for a play off place begins. In fact, as Mark Lemon has highlighted, there is an argument not to do well in the earlier part of the season to drop below the team building total and give yourself opportunities to replace original team members with better riders at the business end. Fans know that meetings in the first half of the season are often meaningless and some pick and choose or wait until they become more important before spending their hard earned money. People will always point to the attendance for the play offs as the justification for them. Those attendances are not what they were and what we need to be looking at is the attendance figures over the season not a few meetings at the end. If we hope to attract people to the sport we have to ensure that every meeting or, at least, as many as possible have relevance and importance. If they don't matter many fans won't be bothered about attending.

The problems with attendances must be more acute during March to May because of weather and football, live or on TV. And if the race night is also wrong, the problem just gets compounded. So would a heavily discounted mini season-ticket covering those months be an answer, then have a more premium-price season ticket to cover June to September but include family concessions for the holders? Obviously the product needs to be got right to match, i.e. run the matches quick in the early season, and keep down the dust during the premium months.

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9 minutes ago, Thornaby48 said:

I have never understood why we have play offs, just copying football I think. Why not, at the end of the season have the KO cup with the top 4 teams automatically going into the quarter finals to meet the 4 surviving teams from a series of qualifying ko rounds. The top 4 would then be drawn against the other 4 and not each other until the semis.

 

Nearly all sports have play offs not just football .

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2 hours ago, orion said:

Yet again  the modern fan would not care if his team came 3rd if There were no play offs .time has moved on .as I said before play offs give most teams something race for  all season .if Poole say say have much bette team r than anyone else at go clear by June it would mean no else would have anything to race for and the season would be over and the modern fan would not turn up .The bottom line is play offs are a massive success in all sports ,so for oaps mainly to say they are a big reason why fans don't come to UK speedway anymore  is insane .

The evidence of the Football PL shows you are wrong about modern fans. No play offs and not only do supporters turn up in huge numbers but the vast majority of fans know that their club has virtually no chance of winning the league or finishing in the top 3. They realise even before the season starts that success for them is finishing mid table or, avoiding relegation and that is sufficient to keep them interested and turning up to matches. 

Edited by Aces51
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22 minutes ago, Aces51 said:

The evidence of the Football PL shows you are wrong about modern fans. No play offs and not only do supporters turn up in huge numbers but the vast majority of fans know that their club has virtually no chance of winning the league or finishing in the top 3. They realise even before the season starts that success for them is finishing mid table or, avoiding relegation and that is sufficient to keep them interested and turning up to matches. 

What you don't understand is  that  the pl  has champions league spots and  teams can go down as well as  Europa league spots  and massive prize money for each place  .so plenty for teams to play for and fans to watch .so no need for play offs as every game has something riding on it

plus the crowds are massive as they have sold so many seasons tickets before the start of the season ..now you tell me what speedway got to race for with no play offs ? Nothing bar the league title  that could be over before you know it.

Edited by orion

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How about having the KO Cup at the end of the year. Draw based on league position. Top v Bottom, Second v Second from bottom and so on. And rename it "The Play Offs".

Winners of the league are League Champions. Play off winners are "British Champions".

Then you have League Champs. You have Play Off/British Champs. Everyone is happy. Because Play Offs/British Champions sound important. KO Cup doesn't. Nobody will notice it's the same thing.

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11 minutes ago, Aces51 said:

The evidence of the Football PL shows you are wrong about modern fans. No play offs and not only do supporters turn up in huge numbers but the vast majority of fans know that their club has virtually no chance of winning the league of finishing in the top 3. They realise that success for them is finishing mid table or, avoiding relegation and that is sufficient to keep them interested and turning up to matches. 

Sorry can’t agree. The Football PL is vital to finish in the top 4, Champions League, Europa League and avoiding disastrous relegation. Keeps many clubs with something to play for and vast majority of fans interested. No need for play offs. Speedway doesn’t have this option. 

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I’ll be honest and say the damage has already been done. I banged the drum many many years ago to no avail. The play off debate in terms of speedway can be quite complex and many of the intricacies are lost on some. 

We are now at the point where we need to attract new fans as the anorak wearing, board waving fans have been pretty much forced out. The sad thing is their money is just as good as anyone’s yet it’s been almost literally thrown away. 

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Historically most Mondays either in the past via Sky or now via BT the outcome in more or less the same, not many fans in attendance, no atmosphere BUT come the play offs, Still on a Monday night and suddenly the stadiums are alive and buzzing with record numbers of fans for that club, for that season, its great but where were all those fans the previous six months?

So the question is, are the league meetings not seen as important enough? and if so, how do they get more people taking an interest in the journey and not just the destination?

The play offs work, they generate interest and therefore money, no need to change that, but the play offs on their own will not subsidize everyone's season.

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6 hours ago, ouch said:

When your clientele is old farts, of course you’re going to attempt to bring in a younger crowd. What you don’t do is implement a system (or systems) that helps drive these old farts away whilst simultaneously failing to attract newbies. 

...Good post! My point exactly and something I've commented upon many times over the years initially on the old Oxford Forum and those who I used to stand with on the pits turn at Cowley....many, if not all, that are now lost to the sport.

Edited by steve roberts

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