I have compiled a 5 point formula for success that I feel encompasses the vital aspects required to establish a professional, nationally recognized roller derby team that showcases talent, skill and athleticism.
1. Skating ability must always take TOP priority. Athleticism and talent will sell tickets when promotions and marketing fail to.
2. Ensure safety while preserving the integrity of the game. Concentrate on showmanship but abandon fake cat fights and encouraged aggression. Strive to earn the respect of a professional athletic team.
3. Promotions and Marketing. The best way to promote roller derby is not to cling to the dated and failed ways of the past, but to find cool, hip ways for it to be relevant now. Roller derby presently lacks the management, promotions and marketing talent to get the revenue required simply to fund the sport. A staff of non- skating, committed individuals are required in order to organize and run a professional level promotions and marketing campaign. Skaters alone cannot do it.
4. High tech advancements and closer attention to detail, track personas and entertainment. Fans are paying customers. In addition to excellent skaters, roller derby needs to step up its level of entertainment. Visual aids to help the fans understand the game, like digital derby tracks that portray point scoring in real time, or choreographed half time shows to further the total enjoyment of the experience for the audience. $10+ is a lot to pay for amateur sports. A compromise would be good skating in return. At the very least, an entertaining experience.
Check out the Sun State Roller Girls' helmet cam video:
5. Marketing and entertainment are integral components in the development of a local fan base. The fifth element for success is a greater focus on cultivating new and return fans. One reason why roller derby died was because not enough attention was paid to training and developing new talent. In addition to creating solid fans whose commitment to the sport will span decades to come, roller derby needs to recruit and teach young talent.