"This bout brought in about 2,000 people…in a town of 3,000 people"
January 12, 2013 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Journalists miss the real ($60M) roller derby story. Every time.
posted by iamkimiam (46 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or, maybe journalists think personal stories about the people involved in roller derby are more interesting and attractive to readers than stories about baskets of money? Certainly, human-interest stories about the participants are probably going to convince more people to actually go see a derby event (i.e. purchase tickets) than will stories about the money the events generate.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:20 AM on January 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


I read this story earlier, when it went around all my derby friend's facebook accounts and while interesting, I think it misses the greater point: In sports, we rarely care about the business.

Unless it's Peyton Manning or LeBron james signing a massive contract, the dollar amount rarely shows up on the sports page.

However the village blacksmith is alive and well in the derby community. For instance, I discovered all the local girls were sending off their wheels to get them regrooved, when any machinist with a lathe and a spare room could start this business locally and clean up. So one guy finally saw the need, offereed the service and did quite well. Or there's the story of my friends who invented a doodad to make laying out the track easier and it's not allowed them to quit their day jobs yet, but they're suddenly in change of a lot more of their own lives. Which is pretty cool, but it's no different than the pro-shops in golf or the soccer store at the local mall. It's just a smaller community and a lower price of admission to the entrepreneur.

For most fans though, this is a sidebar. They, like me, enjoy the sport, not the business, and are happy just to see it covered like a sport, not a freakshow. So good on the businesses who make something of this community, but part of why I love derby so much is that I'm not some dead-eyed walking wallet to my local league, at least not yet on the level I feel I am when I go to a MLB or NFL game. It still feels like a sport where they're happy to have honest-to-god fans, and not consumers.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:47 AM on January 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


As much as I hate to say it, she does have a point to a certain extent.

But I would question her WFTDA figures. Derby is certainly not on the upward trajectory it was two years ago, and if people are paying that much money per annum as she states.

Also, $60 million across the US geographic area, in a nation of (say) 300 million is worth about $50 per capital per annum.

What does the average American spend on booze and candy in a year? Or toilet paper?
posted by Mezentian at 6:05 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think the objection is to the human stories so much -- if you look at derbylife.com it's all human stories -- but that it's the same fucking human story over and over and over and over. And it's sort of becoming inaccurate, to be honest. Yes, I work a day job, but I do not pull on fishets at night -- I wear compression leggings, like 90% of female athletes, because they're comfy, cover my ass, and don't give me weird trackburn. And when I'm not training, I also work out, and research nutrition and new ways of exercising (mostly because I get bored easily), and I'm going to be helping teach people skate at our rec league on Monday night. I talk a lot to others about the human interest side, but I have yet to see a reporter do a story about how at our first scrimmage, my freshmeat class spent a nonzero amount of time crying, hugging each other, cheering each other on, overcoming our fears, and then going out for the most well-deserved pint I have ever had.

The money is interesting, the human side is interesting, but the way derby is written about in mainstream media is unbelievably not interesting, repetitive, and isn't advancing the sport any. Forget the fucking fishnets already, and write about how leagues are skater-owned and operated. Write about how derby spreads! Write about anything other than 'By day she's an accountant, by night she's KicksYourAss Nasty, the queen of the track'!
posted by kalimac at 6:21 AM on January 12, 2013 [19 favorites]


Amateur sport goes through different phases, and derby is on a slow upswing, that's for sure. And yet, when something like derby has made its way to Your Small To Mid Town, with its sass and funny names and tattoos, you know it is probably overdue for the inevitable correction.

In some ways, every newspaper writer, even the small-town stringers, know that most of the stories they cover are doomed for obscurity. Maybe it's no excuse for lazy reporting, but they do this sort of thing for every "scene" they cover. The lifestyle pages are, really, the dustbin of culture -- by the time normal newspaper readers hear about it, you can almost bet that it is going to be on the downswing.

I will point out that one the ways you can tell hard-core enthusiasts of any stripe are worried, is when they start talking about all the economic good their hobby foments, and how powerful and pervasive of a movement it is.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:22 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's easy to lose perspective when you're heavily involved in something. The numbers she mentions are simply not that big when you consider the scale of the country or the world. Sports pages primarily inform people about sports that are followed - there's a section for baseball, hockey, basketball etc. Each of those has a significant following - people who are reading care about the results. Roller Derby is simply not followed by even a small number of the average newspapers sports section. Coverage will continue to be small and infrequent "novelty" articles because most people have no interest in league results. Roller Derby isn't going to be on page A1 because it just doesn't have the following to deserve that.

It's certainly expanding across the country and the world, but it remains a hobby for amateurs. There's a lot of other hobby sports (including amateur leagues for the major sports) which also don't get much coverage. The only reason Roller Derby will get more newspaper area than an equivalent sport is the novelty of it.

Here in the UK there's a couple of professional ice hockey leagues which tends to draw crowds of a few thousand. Hockey sees next to no coverage in the sports papers because very few people follow it. It's a minority sport, and so sees minority coverage. Compared to the millions of followers and billions of pounds of value generated by the soccer leagues ice hockey is a drop in the ocean.
posted by leo_r at 6:24 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


60m is nothing in sports - it won't quite buy you 3 years of prince fielder, for example

that's why they "miss" the story about money - because it's not much of a story compared to other sports
posted by pyramid termite at 6:27 AM on January 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Also, $60 million across the US geographic area, in a nation of (say) 300 million is worth about $50 per capital per annum.

Actually, that's $0.20 per capita per annum ($60MM / 300MM people). So, not even two sticks of gum per person per year. It's a small group of devoted fans spending much more than that per person that makes this a story, not the overall total.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:40 AM on January 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing about this is, I could take that blog post, go all mad libs on it and replace the references to roller derby and get a decent article about any number of odd little niche activities that a core group of devotees spend money on and then the press shows up to gawk at the weirds. What this needs is a third section that roots through a year or so of small city newspapers and show how they miss this aspect of every subculture that comes down the pike.

My counter example is New Castle, PA, where they have actually caught on that when 10,000 freaks show up for two weeks, rather than gawk, it might be worth while to stock up on certain fast moving items and schedule extra staff. Of course, New Castle has been in the blue recently and might be predisposed to noticing if an extra million or two gets dumped on the local economy.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:05 AM on January 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Someone find all the numbers in the story except for golf instead. That's why roller derby, financially, is not a big deal. Sixty million dollars is peanuts, not an "industry", it's barely a product line. Apple probably brings in more than that just in cable sales every year. 39,000 people play in the whole country? 39,000 people probably play golf just in Denver.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:19 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Judging by the published demographics and what I can see on Google, it looks like a white, upper-middle-class, white-collar, female, and disproportionately lesbian thing (skaters and fans). I guess that's one story reporters could be going after:
By day Lacy Clems, 33, of Ourtown, is a mild-mannered lesbian nurse at our local hospital. But by night the nurse pulls on her fishnets, laces up a pair of pricey black roller skates, and is a white middle-class lesbian madly racing about after other women, a surprising number of whom are also white middle-class lesbians.
Maybe not. But what can realistically be expected from a roller derby article? The money's not all that significant or interesting. You have to write about the games (if there's enough interest in daily game reports) or the people, and the people are all amateurs who do something else by day but by night are pulling on those damned fishnets and skates.
posted by pracowity at 7:21 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this sounds like a 'my favorite hobby is important because its my favorite hobby and people don't give it proper respect' type of thing.

This sentence in particular annoyed me for some reason: Derby is the viral sport of this past decade.
posted by graphnerd at 7:35 AM on January 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I had a slightly different read on this than many of you, in that I see roller derby as continually misrepresented and fetishized in news media in the exact same tired way again and again. Behind that by-day/by-night fishnets trope are all the other aspects that news outlets *could* be reporting on that make derby really interesting. This includes the personal stories and the way derby does seem to be expanding rapidly everywhere. And if news media were taking those things more seriously instead of going "whoa, women with day jobs acting like girls hitting each other at night, HARDCORE!", derby (and its players) would actually have some recognized legitimacy as the emerging sport it is. This is evident in the International competitions, number of leagues, registered players and fans the sport has generated in the last decade. Derby also has a huge culture surrounding it (that is not defined by tattoos and fishnets). But those aspects are not reported on.

tl;dr: It's not that derby players want their sport to be commercialized and marketed with all the trappings that come with that, it's that they want their emerging sport to be treated as such...an emerging sport that has widespread cultural and entertainment value. And it's astounding to the degree that that's NOT being done, as it's also a hugely missed opportunity, financially and otherwise.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:03 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's young, she's obviously very dedicated to derby, and she wants it get to recognition commensurate with her love for it, and somehow thinks the money angle will be the hook.

She also doesn't realize what a bubble she's in (the racial demographics of Moab, UT/Lansing, MI/Portland, ME are....not-so-diverse).

What I'm curious about is the injury rate!
posted by honey badger at 8:03 AM on January 12, 2013


Just off the top of my head, derby can't hold a candle to the money in mixed martial arts, the popularity of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or the virality of CrossFit. A quick search of the New York Times tells me that Ultimate (the disc sport which the layman thinks of as Frisbee but which does not in fact share that brand name) is in the same boat as roller derby: it's got roughly the same number of participants in the U.S., and every story is about how it's not just for tie-dyed hippies anymore. And those are just the sports that I happen to follow!

I'm well aware that there are dozens of niche sports that bring in beaucoup dollars and that have devoted followings that I'm not aware of in the slightest. Hell, I've heard that people make money from playing StarCraft.

Derby deserves respect, and I'm sensitive to the objection that news stories may often follow a pattern that perpetually restates gender norms and fetishizes women's athletics. However, the fact remains that news stories need to write for a lay audience and sixty million bucks is chump change in sports.
posted by daveliepmann at 8:18 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


What I'm curious about is the injury rate!

It's not a matter of "if you get injured" but "when you get injured."

I've been playing for 4 1/2 years and (knock on wood) my worst injury was a sprained MCL that kept me off skates for 3 months. I've seen broken legs, ankles, arms, wrists, fingers, concussions, separated shoulders.....
posted by Lucinda at 8:28 AM on January 12, 2013


What I'm curious about is the injury rate!

Approximately 100%, if you're playing seriously. And who would play seriously in a sport with a 100% injury rate?

BTW, I still vividly remember seeing the LA T-Birds and the Chicago Pioneers bashing the crap out of each other, in a derby in Rock Island, Illinois, must have been about 1971.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:32 AM on January 12, 2013


it's that they want their emerging sport to be treated as such...an emerging sport that has widespread cultural and entertainment value. And it's astounding to the degree that that's NOT being done, as it's also a hugely missed opportunity, financially and otherwise.

To be certain, I'm not really familiar with the topic by any means (which in and of itself might prove the original point), but there really isn't anything in the post to convince me that derby is anything more than a niche interest--and a potentially faddish one at that (hence the 'viral sport of the decade').

I'm not saying that those things are in any way actually true. But the angle that the author takes doesn't convince me otherwise. A (self-reported) 40,000 participants and $60MM is really the definition of a niche hobby.*

To piggyback on an early comment, the golf industry apparently is apparently worth $68 billion.

So yeah, there's probably a point to be made about the cliched articles being written, but framing the argument in terms of those numbers makes it seem like the author's passion is warping her perspective.

Of course, whether or not a subculture is niche has nothing to do with how meaningful it can be for participants or fans.
posted by graphnerd at 8:34 AM on January 12, 2013


Derby is the one roller sport that gets any attention! Artistic skating,speed skating, and hockey get very little attention in the media. And all those folks spend money on lessons, club dues,skates (boots, plates, wheels, bearings...), travel, costumes/uniforms, etc.
posted by vespabelle at 8:35 AM on January 12, 2013


And who would play seriously in a sport with a 100% injury rate?

What's the rate for boxing?
posted by radwolf76 at 8:37 AM on January 12, 2013


Yeah, welcome to every niche sport participants' feelings on mainstream media coverage of their hobby ever.

I sympathise to a point, because I've been there with other sports, but when the narrative around your particular sport is "an empowering activity for women that is entertaining to watch", I don't think you can be too mad. As a fan of and participant in fight sports, I'm tempted to take out my tiny violin.

And to cut the average regional newspaper some slack (though I will acknowledge the specific recent NYT article that spurred this blog post really is super lame and the paper probably could have done better), most of their readers probably don't know anything about roller derby. You really do have to write that introductory one the first time so people know what it's all about. And if it's your average city newspaper, then it's probably going to be pretty lame, because mainstream newspapers typically write lame culture articles.

I do think there is a broader issue of how the media covers women in contact sports in general, but it's the same for say, boxing and rugby, and that is, as others have said, a sort of fetishisation. There is often a reverse sexism where articles about women in tough sports are very positive, while those same media outlets would criticise the sports or athletes as barbaric or dangerous or antiquated when the participants are men. You'll also see feature articles written about women who are relative newcomers and haven't yet achieved very much in their sport, where the same media outlet would never write about a man with the equivalent experience, because the novelty value isn't there. As both a journalist and a female in fight sports, I'm often very conflicted when I read these, because it's nice to see the sports get positive coverage for once and it's even better to see female participants get recognition (because you rarely will in the sports' own magazines and websites), but I know there's a double standard at play.

If roller derby was a majority-men's sport (and there are male roller derby leagues out there, and actually, there is probably a pretty good article in what it's like to play a sport where the male teams aren't taken seriously for once), but had all the same tropes -- the costumes and the nicknames and the bravado -- I wonder what the standard media narrative would be?
posted by retrograde at 8:50 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind that this is a sport that up until a decade or so ago had about as much legitimacy as Professional Wrestling, with about 1% of the latter's box office draw.

It's hardly surprising that the sport's quirkier aspects are going to get the bulk of the reporting.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:16 AM on January 12, 2013


And who would play seriously in a sport with a 100% injury rate?

Football players, hockey players, soccer players, cyclists...Hell, pretty much every baseball player gets hurt at some point playing the game. Maybe golf doesn't reach 100%, but I'll bet the percentage of them hurt at some point playing the game is much higher than you think.

I've been playing for 4 1/2 years and (knock on wood) my worst injury was a sprained MCL that kept me off skates for 3 months. I've seen broken legs, ankles, arms, wrists, fingers, concussions, separated shoulders.....

Pretty typical for, well, *anybody* playing almost any competitive sport in a league. This is why almost all pro leagues have more rostered players than they can field, and injury lists that allow them to bring players onto the roster while the injured player heals.
posted by eriko at 9:20 AM on January 12, 2013


Not to bash roller derby at all, but I think the comparison that someone made with crossfit is particularly apt. If roller derby is the viral sport of the past decade, what does that make the crossfit games, which started in 2007 and (I would hazard to guess) have eclipsed roller derby in the measurements this author seems to think important (in terms of the number of participants and in terms of money spent)?

I think that if roller derby is having as much impact as the author thinks, a different barometer of its impact and success is necessary. As others mentioned, her preferred method of showing its relevance shows how it really is still a niche sport.
posted by mangasm at 9:22 AM on January 12, 2013


Derby is the one roller sport that gets any attention!

In my admittedly limited experience there's a very high level of cross pollination between the roller sports. One league I used to be very heavily involved with had two gold-medal figure roller skaters and a fair number of roller hockey players, who in turn pilfered extensively from the league for their other sports. And all of whom cross advertised. The biggest crowd one promoter said he'd ever had at a figure skating exposition was when one of the star jammers skated.

If roller derby was a majority-men's sport, but had all the same tropes -- the costumes and the nicknames and the bravado -- I wonder what the standard media narrative would be?

We'd mock it as a trailer-park sport and its heros would become counterculture hipster icons. You know, just like derby ten years ago. Or pro-wrestling twenty years ago. Small sports like these thrive on community, and there will always be insiders and outsiders. (Nota bene: I am a pro wrestling and derby fan, much to my derby playing/coaching wife's chagrin...)

Anecdotal data point: at the championships this year, you could buy shirts with the faces of your favorite derby girl on them. Not team, mind you, individual players. Much like... say... your favorite WWE wrestler.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:23 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't the big problem with Roller Derby that we were watching it before it was cool? I remember in the mid-2000s, I was at a student newspaper, and a writer had written the "standard" Roller Derby article, which got the front page; meanwhile, I was thinking "seriously? Roller Derby is SO three years ago".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:38 AM on January 12, 2013


Journalists are bad at their jobs, news at 14.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:47 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't the big problem with Roller Derby that we were watching it before it was cool?

Yes.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:52 AM on January 12, 2013


And while I'm sympathetic (in the same way many posters have stated already) I also think the author needs to realize how bad reporting of sports reality is. The vast majority of people who make a living playing professional baseball are in the minor leagues - and there's rarely any coverage about the minuscule salaries, hopeless dreams, etc. The NYT published a great longform piece about an NFL wannabe who got cut from the training camp and how difficult that period was. Truly shocking coverage of a subject that is almost never reported - but of course the player in question was the journalists' nephew.

99.99% of all sports coverage misses the story in the same way that it is author thinks it is missed in Roller Derby. We don't read about the Division II college basketball star playing to near-empty crowds who has no idea how to let go of a career wish that will never materialize. We don't talk about track and field participants dreaming of the US Olympic team with no understanding of how to get there. We don't read about amateur swimmers who want to be the next Michael Phelps but lack the institutional support to get full-time training.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:56 AM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is why almost all pro leagues have more rostered players than they can field, and injury lists that allow them to bring players onto the roster while the injured player heals.

This happens in WFTDA as well. The most players you can have on a charter team is 20, but you can only roster 14 for each bout.

I think that if roller derby is having as much impact as the author thinks, a different barometer of its impact and success is necessary.

How about: our roller derby league's bouts have higher attendance than our city's professional indoor soccer team, but who gets on the front page of the sports section?
posted by Lucinda at 10:00 AM on January 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


What I'm curious about is the injury rate!

What's more important is the kind of injuries suffered. It's a full contact sport, but the players are all going in parallel. In other sports, it's perpendicular and head-on collisions that cause head injuries. (hockey players getting boarded, football linemen smashing into each other, etc.) So, roller derbistas get a lot of sprains and breaks when they go flying after big hits but suffer relatively few head injuries compared to other violent sports.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:45 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The money is interesting, the human side is interesting, but the way derby is written about in mainstream media is unbelievably not interesting, repetitive, and isn't advancing the sport any.

Yes, because ultimately the media is a tremendous normalizing influence. If something is over X big it gets its own section. If it's smaller, you get the flood of condescending "ain't they cute" stories.

Only really big things are real to the media. So little else ever has the chance to be real.

Yeah, welcome to every niche sport participants' feelings on mainstream media coverage of their hobby ever.

You aren't defeating her point.
posted by JHarris at 12:11 PM on January 12, 2013


allen.spaulding has it.

Media coverage of everything has a huge winner-take-all component to it that feeds back into itself and distorts our popular culture terribly. It's not even a power curve, it's way beyond that. It's why the top level of the same four or five sports get all the coverage, it's why celebrities become so grotesquely, apocalyptically, self-destructively huge, and it plays a role in why we only have two political parties in the US.
posted by JHarris at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Craft is a billion dollar industry and knitting isn't even #1 there (in needle arts, crochet outranks us in terms of practitioners and dollars spent). There are over 2 million users on Ravelry. Given that most of them have multiple projects going at once and yarn is NOT cheap... La la la. Big economic impact.

They should just be happy they don't get the idiotic puns and "not your grandma's..." nonsense put into EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE WRITTEN BY A MUGGLE ABOUT KNITTING EVER.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


We provide our own idiotic puns.
posted by corvine at 1:23 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


They — and all newspapers — are missing the story. So, let me give it to them. This is for you, fellow newspaper reporters of the world: Derby is the viral sport of this past decade.

Pssssshhhht. Kickball is the viral sport of the last 10 years.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:37 PM on January 12, 2013


JHarris: ...and it plays a role in why we only have two political parties in the US.

I'm gonna go ahead and say that, while the media bashing is fun and all, that's the natural consequence of a first-past-post system.

And relatedly, I'm really not sure what the expectation of the press is from a lot of people here. They're operating under massive economic constraints and responding to reader incentives. How exactly does in-depth covering of subcultures and niche groups fit into that?
posted by graphnerd at 1:58 PM on January 12, 2013


I've only attended one roller derby (Windy City Rollers maybe 8 years ago; they were at the Congress Theatre), but from what I see, the teams do themselves a disservice in how they present and market themselves. They frankly come across as more like performance art (i.e., like professional wrestling) than competitive sport, even if it's not "fake." It would probably help if they skated using their real names, rather than hokey stage names consisting (at least in large part) of puns and double entendres. If it looks like a circus, even if they are dead wrong, the popular press will present it as a circus, and people not in the know will assume it is a circus.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 2:18 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Isn't the big problem with Roller Derby that we were watching it before it was cool?

i saw it on tv in the 60s, usually before or after pro wrestling on saturday or sunday afternoons - it was syndicated

it had more of a presence back then than it does now
posted by pyramid termite at 3:27 PM on January 12, 2013


Journalists are bad at their jobs, news at 14.

Mockers are bad at mocking, news at...14?
posted by limeonaire at 4:01 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna go ahead and say that, while the media bashing is fun and all, that's the natural consequence of a first-past-post system.

It's not as simple as FPTP resulting in two parties, though. Canada has 3, plus the Bloc Quebecois. Britain has a whopping 11 parties in the House of Commons, though only three are big. (Of the remaining eight, three exist only in Northern Ireland (and Sinn Fein are boycotting), two are the SNP and Plaid Cymru and the other three only have one MP.) I don't think the deciding factor is FPTP, so much as it's much easier/more worthwhile to be a smaller (though non-tiny) party in a parliamentary system--there's a chance you're needed to form a coalition, and suddenly you have power disproportionate to your size.

Even then Minnesota technically has three major parties (as defined by state law), but one of them never really wins anything (though gets nontrivial numbers of votes--enough to impact the outcome of races). Vermont has three parties electing people to the state legislature, though I think things are pretty complicated in Vermont. (There are multimember districts for a start. But then parties are also allowed to share candidates. So the only person elected as a Progressive and not as Progressive/Democrat was one of two people running for two seats (the other being a Democrat). Most of the Progressive/Democrat candidates came out of the Democratic primary, but one came out of a Progressive primary where no one entered the Democratic primary.)
posted by hoyland at 5:01 PM on January 12, 2013


I for one would rather read about the fun quirks, costumes, and awesome nicknames of roller derbyites than how much money they make. I do not give a shit about the latter, I just want to read about the cool kids. What's the matter with that? I'd want to hear that sort of thing in any lifestyle article.

(I love the idea of derby, especially the names. But man, I cannot skate for shit and I don't want to cripple myself with the injuries. Reading about how Pamela Ribon broke her tailbone years ago still burns in my brain with horror.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:57 PM on January 12, 2013


I just retired after six years of derby, five of which were with one of the leagues mentioned in the article. Having been heavily involved in the operations of my league and being friends with people who know the inner workings of the WFTDA and other leagues, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what is holding derby back, and it's not what anyone involved in derby wants to hear. It's the DIY thing. Every league is being run by people who, for the most part, have little to no experience in the job that they are doing for their league. That's even true for WFTDA. Most PR managers for leagues have no experience doing PR. Marketing directors have no experience in marketing. They are flying blind and learning via a crash course and yes, it's worked out for a lot of leagues such that they are making just enough money to keep from going out of business, but for WFTDA, the top-level governing body of the sport, not to have professional business people involved and still advocate for the growth of roller derby to professional levels? It's a fucking joke.

I understand that there isn't a lot of money (everyone here is correct, $60 million is NOTHING) to pay professional sports marketing people or anyone who actually knows what they are doing in terms of sports and/or business administration, but the repeated refusal of many involved with the sport to allow someone who does actually have experience and know-how come in and help (for fear of "selling out" or "losing the DIY aspect") will be the death of the sport in this current incarnation. It will never grow beyond what it is now without that.
posted by Fuego at 11:13 PM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sixty million -- like, nationwide, sixty million -- is much less than I would have guessed. That may not be the best angle. What's interesting to me, though, is that while I understand objecting to hacky, recycled articles (comics people have been making fun of the "Boom! Pow! Comics Aren't Just for Kids Anymore!" article since roughly the Carter administration, and that thing's more unkillable than Dracula, a friend to journalists desperate to make a deadline for well nigh unto decades now), I kind of don't understand the need to be seen as somehow more legitimate, as I figure a huge part of what makes derby great for the people who are in it is its grassroots nature, its community, its status as an arena you can walk in and out of and live a real life around. How much "legitimacy" is really desirable here?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:49 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a recovering musician, it's nice to know there are other hobbies that bring with it a bizarre sense of entitlement regarding press coverage.
posted by yorick at 10:41 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


it plays a role in why we only have two political parties in the US.

We've had a two-party system for a lot longer than we've had anything resembling modern mass media.
posted by aaronetc at 12:29 PM on January 13, 2013


« Older "To the world of today the men of medieval Christe...  |  Are you more honest than a ban... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments