I've been listing
amateur roller derby leagues for about 6 years now. In that time, I've seen
just about every type of name, website, and listing for new roller derby
Because amateur roller
derby leagues are generally run by league members, without much money, and
typically involve people without much marketing experience, there are many
times new leagues (or sometimes even very established leagues) don't get the
recognition they need to be successful. New skaters and audiences are tough to
find as it is- we really have to make the effort now to generate instant
Ever done a fundraiser
and find out all the people you talk to had no idea your league existed? There
are some techniques your league can use to get better PR and recognition. These
are only my opinions, and I only offer the perspective of someone objectively
looking at league websites and trying to find useful information in them for
this list. If you're happy with what you have, then great! If you have other
tips to share, please send them firstname.lastname@example.org and I will credit
you (if you wish) and list them here. Cat O'Ninetails
TIP #1: Consider
your league's name very carefully.
I know we're rebels and
want really cool names, but please consider making your league name instantly
recognizable as a roller derby league and saving the kitschy names for your
teams. As you grow, you will probably have more than one team in the league.
Once upon a time, it was
common for roller derby leagues to choose kitschy league names, uniforms, and
themes. It certainly helped get the word out when there was a total of 50
leagues. It seems the trend to be quirky has been replaced by a deeper need to
be taken seriously as a sport. If you do need to keep the kitsch, reserve it
for your team names, bout themes, and skater names.
Keep your league name
simple and straightforward. I would even go as far as saying your town's name
and Roller Derby is probably the best league name you can use. Using Moscow
Roller Derby as an example- doesn't it sound more like a real sport league than
Moscow Roller Girls or Moscow Derby Dames- or even Krazy Kremlin Red Skirtz?
What does a Derby Dame or Rollergirl or a Red Skirtz do? Roller Girls,
Rollergirls, Rollergirlz, Roller Grrrlz, Derby Dames, Derby Damez, Derby
Girls.....all of them have one thing in common: Roller Derby- and that is the
message you want to get out to the public.
Back in the day , it
wasn't a big deal to name your league for your state or province. There just
weren't that many leagues. These days, it's more important to pinpoint your
locality as much as you can. Be careful though- your fans may not know that
your town is famous for its production of potatoes, so calling your league Spud
City Roller Derby may not be such a great idea.
Using YourTown Roller
Derby will make it a whole lot easier later when you want to skate in a
national tournament or you want to acquire a menís team or a junior team.
TIP #2: Get a
Does your league have a
web presence? Even if you have to start out on one of the social networking
sites, put one up as soon as possible! Any established league can tell you this
is a fast, free way to get noticed quickly. If you do have to start on a social
networking site, for goodness sakes, make your profile accessible to everyone!
No one can find you if it's private. Befriend EVERYONE you can find on the
site- especially local folks. When you do get a website, look at it objectively
as an outside party.
Think globally- people
from around the world will be viewing your website. Give as much information as
possible, and be very clear. Most importantly- you need your league name, REAL
location ("out in the desert somewhere" or "Susie's
backyard" won't help when potential fans and skaters are looking for you),
and what you are. You take it for granted that everyone knows that Krazy
Kremlin Red Skirtz listed in Vodka City is a women's flat track roller derby league
in Moscow, Russia. Nope. I can't tell you how many times I've had to guess
about a league's orientation or location. Giant blinking graphics, weird fonts,
and blasting music will not help your cause either. Once again, try to take the
kitsch out of it. That doesn't mean it has to be boring. Keep it smart,
professional, and very informative. Don't forget contact information. Do your
research and take a look at the very established league sites for formatting
Try to keep your
league's inner workings off your website. Use a Yahoo Group or forum or some
other way to communicate internal business. Your website is for your fans and
potential new skaters.
TIP #3: If you
change the league's name or website, make sure people know.
Dead links on derbyroster.com
happen all the time. Mostly it's due to a league suddenly switching websites
and instead of automatically forwarding to the new one, the link will just go
dead or show an older website that is never updated. Know what happens when
potential fans stumble upon your old website that hasn't been updated since
2008 or turns up a page error? They go away, figuring your league is dead, too.
Keep your website updated fairly frequently with actual derby information; especially
at the beginning. You need folks to know you do more than hold car washes and
Try not to change your
league name once it is established. Think about it. What if McDonalds suddenly
became Big Mac Burgers? It's confusing, and all that good PR you did before
changing your name will disappear, too. Sometimes it's unavoidable; in which
case, make it VERY clear on your website what you used to be and what you are
TIP #4: Get a
professional to design your logo (and your website if possible)
Not much more to say
than that. Hold a contest if you can't afford to pay someone. There are tons of
artists who will submit ideas and help you out in order to get recognition for
their work- and maybe snag season tickets and merch for their trouble.
Need more help? See our Facebook page for more information about starting a new league: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150274459221158