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Mythman's picture

With the “silly season” well underway the chances are that some of us are out with the abacus trying to figure out the best line up for your team based on the decisions that were made at the AGM a couple of weeks ago.

Naturally I have been debating with friends (yes both of them) about possible permutations of team line-ups and such like. This happened to lead on to the subject which often comes up whenever speedway is discussed...how do you get more people through the gate?

I have always been a believer that most teams will have three types of supporter, the hardcore, the casual and the interested observer. The hardcore likely has a season ticket and by hook or by crook will be there every week. The casual will be the guy you see at the track maybe once or twice a month and the interested observer follows results but maybe only attends a handful of times over a season.

I have always said that if you can turn your casual fans into hardcore fans and your interested observers into casual fans you have a winning formula. While this is easier said than done and there are many variables that can cause this to veer off the schedule what if there was some sort of incentive for the fans to attend?

It is fair to say that at times, the fans are the ones who suffer a lot over the course of a season, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles to watch your team away from home only to be turned away due to the good old British weather! While that can’t be helped at times another bugbear of many is under strength sides or “guest fests” turning up to tracks rather than their own teams 1-7.

Hopefully the AGM decision of fixed race nights will eliminate or at least limit the latter happening as often as it did this last season.

Another bugbear people often have is price, while I appreciate that every track has to have a certain amount of folks through the gate to sustain the sport, what if there was a way to get more people through the gate but have them paying less and in turn giving back to the supporters and fans who ultimately keep the sport alive?

At this stage of the off season we cannot be far away from most clubs announcing details of their season ticket pricing and admission prices etc for the coming season. But what if, your season ticket acted as a pass to other tracks and allowed you reduced entry to every track in the country?

Now I realise this may never happen, and I am only playing devil’s advocate but hear me out. Most clubs rely heavily on season ticket sales as a source of initial income to stabilise and sustain their clubs. In turn the fans buying one are doing their part in that too.

Obviously the idea of a season ticket is that you have prepaid for your speedway over the course of the season and providing you go to every meeting you will have saved money compared to paying at the gate every week. On top of that most clubs will know roughly what their average attendances are week on week and will have budgeted for that and priced entry accordingly.

So with that in mind, a season ticket holder of another track getting in for a reduced entry is extra money for the club that ordinarily wouldn’t be coming in and the fan is getting to see some speedway for a little bit cheaper. Chances are that fan may well buy a programme, a burger, a portion of chips, a coffee and a mars bar too, which again is extra revenue that you would not have had before. Also if you factor in children too, they will want to return so potentially will want hats or scarves and the like. Again this is revenue that you wouldn’t have been getting before, also without having to have any additional outlay from the offset.

I fully realise that this sort of arrangement may not suit everyone and there are probably lots of holes to be poked in my argument, but surely if all the promoters worked together and priced it accordingly then it might just work.

More folks in the gate make for a better atmosphere and more likelihood of those folks returning having had a thoroughly enjoyable evening watching the speedway which when the stars align and it is done correctly, is the greatest form of entertainment going.

Extra revenue for clubs with minimal initial outlay also means that the sustainability of clubs becomes greater and perhaps we can move speedway forward to become a more stable sport with a prosperous future.

Maybe, just maybe...

Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me Mythman666@hotmail.com. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to just 280 characters. You can send me a tweet @Mythman666.

Until next time...and there will be a next time.

Right I’ll hae’tae gan