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Guardian article today

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That's why i worry for the likes of Eastbourne and Birmingham that have moved up. The fans they need to balance their books don't exist anymore. There is no new blood coming into the sport and there is nothing that can be done to change that.

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Again Steve, the number of existing fans is still so insignificant compared to what we had years ago, that even if we all went regularly now, it wouldn't make a difference.

As far as the distances needed for even a "local" team now, I was really spoiled in having two teams in London, plus. Arena, Crayford, Rye, Milton Keynes, Eastbourne, Reading, Oxford, and Canterbury all very doable. From having at least ten tracks from which to choose, only ONE of those survives now.  THAT is what hurts.

Steve

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2 minutes ago, cityrebel said:

That's why i worry for the likes of Eastbourne and Birmingham that have moved up. The fans they need to balance their books don't exist anymore. There is no new blood coming into the sport and there is nothing that can be done to change that.

As I have said many times, and as was also stated in the article, with what tracks we do have being forced out of the urban areas, people aren't exposed to the sport now. Even if they are, they can't just hop on a bus or train like we did...

Steve

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Posted (edited)

I'm fortunate to live 2 miles from the Shabbey, shame that the local rivals Reading and Oxford aren't there anymore, and there are no London tracks. I will still attend most matches and the Cardiff GP this year, it was better when speedway was March-October with about 30 home matches on a Saturday, but with only 7 teams in the Premier will have to make do with half that number.

It's a great sport, don't know why more peeps don't watch it.

Edited by auntie doris

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The public view it as old hat and poor value for money. Can anyone change that perception, i doubt it. When you've got an experienced promoter like Len Silver charging £15 for NL racing, must mean the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, auntie doris said:

It's a great sport, don't know why more peeps don't watch it.

You are right, there isn’t a great deal wrong with the action but unfortunately lots of other stuff around it is poor, some out of the sports control but many things completely within. I’m thinking poor stadia and facilities, poor customer service when the weather is bad, poor promotional communication, expensive admission, failure to appeal to a younger audience, bad presentation, poor track prep and meetings dragging on. Obviously not every track or every week but these things occur far too often and people unfortunately vote with their feet. 

Edited by Bagpuss
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6 hours ago, steve roberts said:

At the risk of repeating my personal scenario I was a regular at Cowley for over thirty years and the track was within walking distance of my various homes at the time. However since I moved to York (2004) that criteria seriously altered. The reality would now require driving to either Sheffield, Scunthorpe and/or Redcar which would result in having to fork out serious petrol money (plus wear & tear) to attend a meeting that consists of 15 (?) races with admission prices at £15 (?). The sums just don't add up as far as I'm concerned. I've given up talking about speedway to locals as York being a non-speedway town nobody has ever heard of it so even sharing expensives is out of the question.

I'm sure that now the depressing regularity of track closures around the country has also influenced whether 'fans' choose to travel distances to follow their once favoured sport?

As a fellow "Yorkie" I have to agree.

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1 hour ago, Bagpuss said:

You are right, there isn’t a great deal wrong with the action but unfortunately lots of other stuff around it is poor, some out of the sports control but many things completely within. I’m thinking poor stadia and facilities, poor customer service when the weather is bad, poor promotional communication, expensive admission, failure to appeal to a younger audience, bad presentation, poor track prep and meetings dragging on. Obviously not every track or every week but these things occur far too often and people unfortunately vote with their feet. 

Nail on the head.

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44 minutes ago, moxey63 said:

That is the problem as well, riders get more out of it than the fans these days. 

The article was as accurate as something intending to be neutral could be. A Glorious past and nearly 75 years of joy - I enjoyed nearly 50 of those and still love watching on TV - especially the GPs and Swedish and Polish leagues. I watch the UK matches that BT broadcast but they look like the poor relative to other speedway on TV. I went to around 8 matches in the UK last season ( King's Lynn ) and never thought that it was value for money or great entertainment with only one or two races worthy of the name per match. 

I would still be prepared to pay for a decent live stream of UK matches ( not of course at the Sky or BT level or quality ). I have proposed this several times but the BSPA have never given it a trial. That's a pity.

IF it survives ( UK speedway ) it will be in a very different semi-pro form but will need to be marketed very differently and properly. It is a very pale shadow of what it was now and cannot be revived even if one promoter does end up owning all the clubs in the "top" level.

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3 hours ago, waytogo28 said:

The article was as accurate as something intending to be neutral could be. A Glorious past and nearly 75 years of joy - I enjoyed nearly 50 of those and still love watching on TV - especially the GPs and Swedish and Polish leagues. I watch the UK matches that BT broadcast but they look like the poor relative to other speedway on TV. 

You're really sounding like me now...

I thought it was a very well-written and fair piece, which cannot be said of much of the garbage I have read from so-called neutrals over the years.

Even though it IS different now to what it used to be, I still love watching it on the box, but the UK stuff seems so stale and antiquated.

I've been to junior matches at Hackney during the winter that had more life than some of the those I have seen in recent years. As has been said before, it is not the fault of the racing, but the presentation, atmosphere, and audience - or lack thereof...

Steve

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7 hours ago, cityrebel said:

Nail on the head.

Forgot to mention guests and R/R, which probably do people’s heads in more than anything else. Not saying it’s a simple situation to solve because it’s not but over recent years there have seemed to be more injuries and fixture clashes than ever. 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Bagpuss said:

Forgot to mention guests and R/R, which probably do people’s heads in more than anything else. Not saying it’s a simple situation to solve because it’s not but over recent years there have seemed to be more injuries and fixture clashes than ever. 

With many fixture clashes, and guests needed, due to riders riding for several teams around Europe and domestically..

An amazing plan...

Signing employees who dictate to you, the business owner, when you can and can't open your doors to your customers..?

It will never work as a successful business operating model, because quite simply it cannot..

Yet, year in, year out, this is the model they use...

No surprise really then that the sport in the UK is where it currently is...

As everyone knows...

Keep doing the same thing and you will keep delivering the same results...

Edited by mikebv
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No fixtures clashes in the Premiership this year! Yayyyy

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Posted (edited)

When riders admit to joining your team merely because it fits in with their other commitments between the leagues and on foreign jaunts, it shows a disconnection between the importance of the team and the fan who is supposed to travel miles after work, pay a large sum of his wage and support a group of men who act as a team for a few hours and then disperse their separate ways to act as a team somewhere else.

When a rider who was part of that newspaper article used British speedway to learn his trade against genuine competition and then sits on his lofty perch and feels he isn't part of the problem, not wanting to dirty his boots racing on these shores any more... that is another problem. And the rider I'm referring to isn't the only one.

But he states that he is in the best physical shape he's ever been going into this season, so get some money on him winning the GP. To me, as a former fan driven away by this type of thing, I'd say that I'm not bothered about your individual aim. You don't ride over here for a club, so how can I get excited about your chase for individual profit?

When Peter Collins had to quit in 1980 because of his shoulder injury, the first thing he suffered was being banned from riding in the British qualifiers for the World Championship. I know we're living in different times, but riders have just gained too much power over the years and now, it seems, get more out of speedway than the fans who pay them. British speedway has allowed so much of its grip to slip away. The start was letting riders race in other leagues across Europe. 

Loyalty is a two-way thing between competitor and supporter. Somewhere in time, it's been lost. Without the feel of a connection between you and your team, that need to get up off your backside and leave the house to support it at the track isn't as appealing.

I feel that is just one of speedway's current problems.

Supporters must have been lost because of it.

I mean, it's an instant passion killer for a fan, when a rider grabbingly states something akin to these words: "Yeah, I'm happy to join the club because it fits in with my other meetings in Poland and Sweden, as well as my commitments to my Premier League side. Sorry, I know it's a Monday track... but who am I joining?" 

 

Edited by moxey63
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An excellent article which critically analyses the state of speedway today.

1) Speedway is stuck in the 1920/50's the engines are unique, expensive and have no longevity.

2) The promoters and riders are overpaid and aloof of the supporters. Who solely pays the wages, bills and running costs?

3) Looking for a Barry Hearns or any other benefactor while the tracks close and attendances dwindle, is definitely not going to happen.

Unfortunately it's a slow but predictable decline.

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