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Speedway to reinvent itself?

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, mikebv said:

Followed both RL and Speedway closely for a fair few years, and always thought a certain closeness between their operating models..

Eg's

Owners running the sport and making all the decisions with the usual vested interest rather than an independent body having total control for the common good. (The RFL exists but the Super League clubs rule the roost)..

Club 'success' therefore, being more important than a successful national team. (Something RU and Cricket cottoned onto and moved forward from immeasurably, and their domestic games then fed off this success)..

Loads of overseas players coming in rather than having development of UK based players (and guaranteed team places for them)..

Players getting some eye watering  contracts for a sport well down the sporting spectrum, and then trying to fund these contracts through sponsorship and debt, (supported by other businesses) rather than the inadequate gate receipts.. 

A very much "Open the doors and they will come" philosophy, with a view taken by those owners of "I love it as it's a very exciting sport so its bound to be attractive to everyone isnt it?"...

No national joined up marketing of the sport with each club doing "their own thing" at local level, with varying degrees of success (or failure)...

No set days or nights for each club, it used to be Sat and Sun and now it's any time at the behest of the broadcaster..

And. Play offs introduced that rendered many matches during the latter part of the season as "dead rubbers" given many of the same teams reached the play offs, (the ones with money), and the same others didnt...

As you say, swap the word Speedway for Rugby League..

 

 

 

Maybe slightly different when the broadcaster is BBC plus BT Sport!!

And not forgetting that most RL stadia offer  a modern, comfortable experience for the spectator!

Edited by Skidder1

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Skidder1 said:

And not forgetting that most RL stadia offer  a modern, comfortable experience for the spectator!

Most stadia in Super League, certainly. Few below the top tier (and even some in it - e.g. Belle Vue, Wakefield; Wheldon Road, Castleford) could be described as either modern or comfortable! Compared to British speedway venues, however, almost all are palaces. :-)

Edited by Piotr Pyszny

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On 8/18/2021 at 8:24 PM, chunky said:

I heard the future of British speedway is pretty black, though?

When I came onto the forum I chose a name to reflect my opinion that the UK domestic sport was failing and would not make it ( in a form we would recognise as Speedway Racing circa (let's say 1999 ) and still don't think it will. 

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15 hours ago, waytogo28 said:

When I came onto the forum I chose a name to reflect my opinion that the UK domestic sport was failing and would not make it ( in a form we would recognise as Speedway Racing circa (let's say 1999 ) and still don't think it will. 

The way to go is out of the forum m8 :D. Leave it to those who want the sport to survive and who love watching speedway at their local club.  If you have the money to invest in speedway to make it what you want it to be go ahead, if not ..........

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3 minutes ago, Trees said:

The way to go is out of the forum m8 :D. Leave it to those who want the sport to survive and who love watching speedway at their local club.  If you have the money to invest in speedway to make it what you want it to be go ahead, if not ..........

You are always so angry with and bitter about anyone who sees UK speedway in different light to you. That is sad. There was me thinking that a forum could look at all aspects of the sport that we enjoy, from all points of view. I still absolutely love GP speedway on TV and watch domestic matches with some pleasure too. It's not free and I pay to still have that choice via BT.

I just feel domestic UK speedway has lost it's way so much  and at the heart of that are people who believe that it is all right as it is and little needs to change. But the facts are that support for the sport in the UK are diminishing, less and less people attend for hatever reasons. We have met and I cannot believe that you really want this Forum to be all made up of Happy Clappers? Even you have expressed to me that Mr Chapman  - some years back was not getting it all right at King's Lynn! That lind "adoration" is for the Facebook pages, is it not? 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Trees said:

If you have the money to invest in speedway to make it what you want it to be go ahead, if not ..........

Ah, that old chestnut, the only way that can happen is for @waytogo28 to buy every club, or at least enough clubs to have the deciding vote at conference to pull the sport out of the mire it's in. And although he/she could probably pick all those clubs up for a tenner they'd be taking on a mountain of debt. Unfortunately we're stuck with what we've got unless a Kerry Packer type comes along. We had our chance with Sky TV coverage and blew it.

Edited by iainb

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3 hours ago, Trees said:

. Leave it to those who want the sport to survive and who love watching speedway at their local club. 

I only wish I could. My 'local' clubs are all circa 60 miles or more away sadly

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I always use 1990 as a benchmark for the decline in UK speedway. My first full proper season as a fan aged 12.

I have been looking back though the archives.

1990 saw 26 professional clubs split into 2 leagues the old British league 9 clubs & the national League of 17 clubs.

The British championship was contested by 48 British riders starting with a  quarter final stage. Compare that to today.

18 professional clubs & a British championship where 16 riders are put straight into the final as there aren't enough to do any thing else.

1990  182 team spots with no doubling up 2021 126 team spots where I believe 123 of those are held by doubling up riders. Also let's not forget that in 1990 those 26 league clubs all had junior League teams with an additional 4 spots per team.

1990 plenty of opportunity to ride, speedway in various formats alongside the league format eg 4 team championship & best pairs. I think that season my track Ipswich had 30 home meetings. Oh what happy days. 

The only real beacon of hope in that time was the early part of Sky's involvement I think by 2005 so 6 years in with sky it was clear that there wasn't any plan or indeed desire to do anything different....what a missed opportunity!!!

Although on the decline it's been the past 10 to 15 years where the real damage has been done.  

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4 hours ago, Trees said:

The way to go is out of the forum m8 :D. Leave it to those who want the sport to survive and who love watching speedway at their local club.  If you have the money to invest in speedway to make it what you want it to be go ahead, if not ..........

Problem is trees those who love watching speedway are reducing every year and nothing is being done to entice news people in

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5 hours ago, Trees said:

The way to go is out of the forum m8 :D. Leave it to those who want the sport to survive and who love watching speedway at their local club.  If you have the money to invest in speedway to make it what you want it to be go ahead, if not ..........

Problem is 'Trees', your type of blind optimism of 'carry on regardless' has given promoters licence to simply continue down the crumbling path the sport now finds itself on...

They have treated punters with disdain for years, as they believed they will still blindly turn up each week and suck-up whatever dross was chucked at them under the guise of 'professional team sport'

 

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40 minutes ago, frigbo said:

Problem is 'Trees', your type of blind optimism of 'carry on regardless' has given promoters licence to simply continue down the crumbling path the sport now finds itself on...

They have treated punters with disdain for years, as they believed they will still blindly turn up each week and suck-up whatever dross was chucked at them under the guise of 'professional team sport'

 

That seems to suggest that the promoters 'trouser' a nice little earner from speedway, when reality is, most, if not all, lose money. The biggest problems for speedway over a fair number of recent years, is crowd levels have gone down, while costs for promoters have gone up. That circle can't be squared. Maybe some promoters do lack charm and appear to have a 'take it or leave it' attitude, but if you are losing money, I think I might be a bit cheesed off! It's been said so many times, the riders are paid too much, which will be the promoters biggest overhead. Yes, the riders deserve to earn good money, as they are the ones on the track, but if the money isn't coming through the turnstiles, why should they bleed the promoters, the fans (with constantly increasing admission charges) and the sport dry! The riders need to get back to being semi professional. Yes, one bike strapped onto a bike rack, on the back of a Ford Focus!  

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2 hours ago, cowboy cookie returns? said:

I always use 1990 as a benchmark for the decline in UK speedway. My first full proper season as a fan aged 12.

I have been looking back though the archives.

1990 saw 26 professional clubs split into 2 leagues the old British league 9 clubs & the national League of 17 clubs.

The British championship was contested by 48 British riders starting with a  quarter final stage. Compare that to today.

18 professional clubs & a British championship where 16 riders are put straight into the final as there aren't enough to do any thing else.

1990  182 team spots with no doubling up 2021 126 team spots where I believe 123 of those are held by doubling up riders. Also let's not forget that in 1990 those 26 league clubs all had junior League teams with an additional 4 spots per team.

1990 plenty of opportunity to ride, speedway in various formats alongside the league format eg 4 team championship & best pairs. I think that season my track Ipswich had 30 home meetings. Oh what happy days. 

The only real beacon of hope in that time was the early part of Sky's involvement I think by 2005 so 6 years in with sky it was clear that there wasn't any plan or indeed desire to do anything different....what a missed opportunity!!!

Although on the decline it's been the past 10 to 15 years where the real damage has been done.  

The big decline really started in 1985 when the British League lost (I think) 5 teams, dropping from 16 down to 11. The set-up was never healthy from that point onwards, and even though the National League gave the appearance of being vibrant for a while, the lack of cooperation and understanding that the health of both leagues depended on each other, ultimately dragged the sport further under. 

Doubling-up is not an issue if it's to cover for injuries and to give lower league riders experience of riding in the top flight, and as such the antipathy between the BL and NL which led to a refusal to use riders in the other league was really quite pathetic and led to the ever-increasing professionalism of the NL which eventually forced some of those tracks to fold. Doubling-up is only an issue if it's employed because of a fundamental lack of riders to fill all the teams. 

You could also point to 1989 when the BL decreased again to 9 teams, the BL/NL merger in 1991 that was vehicle to get Poole into the top league, the even more ill-fated 'one big league' BPL in 1995, followed by the introduction of the BEL in 1997. Endless tinkering that's did nothing to address the underlying issues or have an resemblance of longer term thinking.

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24 minutes ago, Humphrey Appleby said:

The big decline really started in 1985 when the British League lost (I think) 5 teams, dropping from 16 down to 11. The set-up was never healthy from that point onwards, and even though the National League gave the appearance of being vibrant for a while, the lack of cooperation and understanding that the health of both leagues depended on each other, ultimately dragged the sport further under. 

Doubling-up is not an issue if it's to cover for injuries and to give lower league riders experience of riding in the top flight, and as such the antipathy between the BL and NL which led to a refusal to use riders in the other league was really quite pathetic and led to the ever-increasing professionalism of the NL which eventually forced some of those tracks to fold. Doubling-up is only an issue if it's employed because of a fundamental lack of riders to fill all the teams. 

You could also point to 1989 when the BL decreased again to 9 teams, the BL/NL merger in 1991 that was vehicle to get Poole into the top league, the even more ill-fated 'one big league' BPL in 1995, followed by the introduction of the BEL in 1997. Endless tinkering that's did nothing to address the underlying issues or have an resemblance of longer term thinking.

...John Berrry was often quoted as saying that Poole supremo Mervyn Stewksbury had his own agenda and was one of the worst things to happen to speedway in recent history.

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Absolutely agree, 1985 was the start of the downward slope....

1995 one big league and then the Sky money offered two great opportunitues to reset, re-plan and move forward - both were squandered.

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15 minutes ago, frigbo said:

Absolutely agree, 1985 was the start of the downward slope....

1995 one big league and then the Sky money offered two great opportunitues to reset, re-plan and move forward - both were squandered.

...I was fortunate, at least, being an Oxford fan as we entered our most productive period honours wise and was reflected in crowd levels at Cowley and generated interest at away venues. At least I have some great memorable moments to look back on!

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