The Doctor Shows the Way
'Speedway's Second Coming' by Chris Seaward raised some interesting points. Chris' analogy was to a television programme (Sharpe) that bowed out on a high only to return some time later as a huge disappointment. I think we have all experienced this with something or other. Often when we revisit things or places that we were sad to leave, we discover they are no where nearly as good as we remembered them. It is called looking back through rose coloured spectacles. Maybe speedway of old falls into this category. But maybe it was because everything was just right at the time and it was this that made speedway of old so memorable.
It is not a universal law that things are never as good as you remember them. Nor is it that they cannot be resurrected to greater glory. The recent re-launch of Dr Who is an example of that and it is perhaps a better model for speedway to follow than Chris' example of Sharpe. Here is a programme that was extremely popular, but then went into decline. Since its re-launched it has been hugely successful, even bringing back such antiquated monsters as the Daleks. The secret? The writer and production team knew what the audience wanted. Moreover the new show was highly appealing to both new and old fans alike.
Before speedway can re-launch itself (and few of us doubt that a re-launch is necessary), the promotion teams need to understand what would be an appealing speedway product. This is where the failing is. It is all very well having good marketing exercises, but if the product is wrong then this is in vain.
So what do supporters (both new and old) want? Exciting and affordable entertainment. It is not just about teams winning, it is about the riders doing their best, racing and giving their all for their loyal support. It is not about waiting around while the riders and officials decide whether to race or not. It is about fluidity and it is not about long-drawn out meetings. But most of all, it is about entertainment and value for money.
" Something has to be done about the number of meetings that are rained-off. Not just from a club's point of view, but of that from the supporter also. People travel miles to watch speedway, and it's no good giving tickets to allow people to the re-run of a postponed match. It's not always feasible for people to get time off work, or to be able to travel to the same venue on a different date. It's time promoters did something to cover the tracks or to have a better drainage systems. This may sound 'easier said than done', but supporters are not going to put up with this sort of thing forever. People go to all lengths of things to be able to get to various meetings, and spend hard earned money coming through the turnstiles. Once the punters start coming, then clubs need to be prepared to do that little bit extra to make sure they keep coming back. One bad experience will be enough for a lot of people not to bother to attend again. "
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