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    Dartplayer Dot Net :: View topic - Solutions "How to grow the sport?"
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    Solutions "How to grow the sport?"
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    cannibal
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    PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Solutions "How to grow the sport?" Reply with quote

    Question at hand is "How to grow the sport". This is a very broad statement that could apply to both Participants and Spectators. For purposes of this discussion lets just focus on participants.

    Concerning participants the issue can be further segmented into 2 areas: 1) locally (both league and local tournaments) 2) Regional/National tournaments or competitions, generally anything that requires substantial expense of travel. Again for the purpose of this discussion lets just focus on the local as we all have experience and perspective on this as this is where the vast majority of us started.

    I happen to be fortunate enough to play in a very large league QCEDL. QCEDL is a league consisting of 120 teams or so focused on team play (no singles, everything doubles or triples). Affliated with QCEDL is a singles league, a womens single league, and a womens team league. The league also runs Mr Philadelphia 501 championship series over a 7 month span. They also run 3-4 annual LOD charity shoots, a Thursday and Tuesday night singles 501 championship shoot. Loosely affliated with the league are the following shoots run by its members, Cricket Championship series over 5 months, and various ADO qualifyers.

    For this post I am going to focus just on the shooters out for fun or the new shooters. I think the approach QCEDL has taken towards this segment of shooters has been very succesful therefore I will explain how they do things.

    I think a good league has to recognize and accomodate the fact that the vast majority of shooters who participate are out for a good time first, winning isn't everything tho still trying, want close competition, and to drink alot of alcohol. This is great because this is the segment that generates the most revenue (or has the potential to) Many of the bar owners in our league realise this and will pay the shooters fee as well as their own sponsor fee to ensure a team stays with them year to year. Those that don't typically don't have teams every year. A minimum of 10 weeks the bar should have 15-20 people drinking at a good clip.

    A good league also has a promotion/relegation system to keep things competitive, you win you move up, you crap out you move down. This keeps things competitive, and shooters keep coming back as they have some hope they are going to win their division and get their jacket. (winners get jacket with QCEDL logo and their name on it).

    I think format can play a big role in encouraging participation as well. For these shooters they don't want to be hung out on their own playing singles, hence all the legs are doubles or triples. 15 legs make up a match night, a shooter can only shoot 7 legs, and every shooter has the right to shoot in 3 min if they so desire.

    Tuesday night is traditionally the lower skilled divisions this is probably where we get the most influx of new shooters and turn over in rosters year to year.

    Thursday night upper divisions are more serious in their approach, especially in div 1 and 2. Many of these shooters participate in the singles shoots, LOD's thru the year. These teams have rosters that are fairly stable year to year, and often will have a shooter or 2 new to the division but interested in increasing his skill, so they get a little mentoring along the way.

    Keep in mind the vast majority of these shooters don't really want to make the sacrifice to get better, they want to drink and hang out, sure they want to win but its a less prominent motivator for being in the league. Why turn them away when they can contribute something to the game, they enjoy it, and they generate the most revenues.
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    PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Solutions "How to grow the sport?" Reply with quote

    cannibal wrote:


    Rolling Eyes I think the approach QCEDL has taken towards this segment of shooters has been very succesful therefore I will explain how they do things.


    I don't want to be a wet blanket here but the measure of "has been very successful" escapes me as I am under the impression the league membership has been in decline for quite a while. Am I wrong about this?

    Does this apply to existing members rather than recruiting new members?
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    PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    my measure of success relates to the structure of the league and format of matches creating the right incentives to get the participants.

    Of course the league has shrunk by about 16% in 3 years, but the population of Philadelphia has been declining over the last several decades, especially the demographic that constitutes the members of the dart league, i.e. white middle to low middle income and middle aged males. Throw on to that the decline in the economy over the last 2 years. I would say the decrease in the league numbers might have been even greater without the incentives for the lower skilled shooters.

    The upside is in the last several years the league has started the singles league, in addition I believe the attendance over the last 2 years for the Cricket shoot and the Mr Philly series has been up (I know for the last year it was up for both)

    Don't worry wet blanket I will get to what the league has done wrong, it ain't a bed of roses. I am just trying to keep my posts down to somewhat digestable sizes lol
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    PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    QCEDL still isn't very good with youth throwers. You have to be 21 to join a league and even to participate in Mr. Philadelphia.
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    PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Solutions "How to grow the sport?" Reply with quote

    cannibal wrote:
    Question at hand is "How to grow the sport".


    I think it's important to get the young folks involved. I started throwing around 16 and I still love it.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    If we are talking about leagues at this time, and I believe we are, most venues are bars, in which minors can not play in. Also, most leagues state that you have to be 21 to play, due to playing in bars.
    My opinion, leagues are what their respective BOD's make of them. You either like the product that is being put out, or you don't.

    What really needs help growing are tournaments. Each year the participants dwindle, therefore the prize money decreases. It is here where you have to try and win over the average Joe, or Josephine's. They are what makes up the majority of dart players. The question is, how do you get the average player to attend tournaments? Do you pay out to top 64? This may change the thinking of some, but then it also may upset the Pro's. Why would they want to travel for less money?

    I think the best solution is to run tournaments for B and below shooters, at all the bigger tournaments, where they have a good chance of winning top prize. I really think this would peak more interest in the average player, and as they attend more tournaments, they will in time gain, not only the confidence, but the much needed experience to try and go up against the top players.
    The more players these type of tournaments attract, the more money the venues, and tournament makes, and the better the payouts will be for everyone.

    Everyone is happy, you are drawing more players to the tournaments, payouts are bigger, venues are making money, and you are showcasing to the average player what it takes to be a top player.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    True Frank,but how do you determine who is a B shooter and who is not?I believe it is all about the Youth..we need a BDO style system...where they start them young and allow them to grow into the sport.The BDO ALSO seems to cater to the everyman as opposed to the top 1%.The ADO is not set up to lead the sport into the future.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    dwalsh wrote:
    True Frank,but how do you determine who is a B shooter and who is not?I believe it is all about the Youth..we need a BDO style system...where they start them young and allow them to grow into the sport.The BDO ALSO seems to cater to the everyman as opposed to the top 1%.The ADO is not set up to lead the sport into the future.


    I agree Dave, we do need to cater to the youth. This is where your future stars will be coming from.

    As for how to determine who is B and below, that would be a problem.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:40 am    Post subject: general league format questions Reply with quote

    I just had some extra questions about your normal league. It sounds very good and I am always curious in other leagues.

    Is it based on 6 player teams or 4/8?
    What format is it? (15 games only 501 or cricket or?)
    Do you play on one board all night or multiple?
    How Long is a normal night? (7-11pm for 4 hours?)
    What if any are the negatives with these leagues?

    Again I am always looking for new formats but I am also curious if in general, per your thread criteria: "How to grow the sport?" I feel it should start with growing leagues and tournaments will follow.

    are 4/6 person teams better, more likely to draw interest and or start a team of peeps you like?

    what formats do "the people" like?

    we play 2 boards at a time and it allows people to be playing more of the time. (is this limiting the number of locations or causing more locations to get involved?)

    could 2 hours be a better time frame for "the people" to shoot for? (if B&C league are "the people" is there format forcing 5 hour play time?)

    instead of traveling leagues would in house leagues be a more fun atmosphere? (getting a location with a banquet room with 10 boards instead of bars with 2 boards, may also help solve the youth "bar/21" problem)
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    For me, the obvious answer on how to grow darts in this country for the long haul lies in youth darts. Unfortunately youth darts are primarily promoted in the adult tournament atmosphere and reaches a very small demographic.
    People talk about Olympic events etc etc. but I think the key is to get darts into the schools, high schools in particular.

    To do this would require major support by dart manufacturers and a quite large volunteer base from the dart community.
    When and if developed, it would have great potential to gain great momentum in the sports marketing area which is caters to youth trends.
    I think it's a quite simple concept but no easy task.

    I think the first step would be for the ADO to fund a committee to research and develop a strategy to market this to the school systems on a national scale

    At the end of the day the usual question remains, who will step up.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:03 am    Post subject: Reiterating Reply with quote

    Don't want to re-hash some other posts, but consider this--we're about to have a State Championship where they'll have 3 divisions, and the payouts will be bigger for the weakest players and smallest for the best players. This will be the first year this has happened, although I've seen in coming for some time. The current over/under on how much longer the league will survive is 18 months.

    So I think we're proving a payout structure that serves as a disincentive to improvement is more likely to kill a sport than improve it.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:13 am    Post subject: Re: Reiterating Reply with quote

    Dreadnaught wrote:
    Don't want to re-hash some other posts, but consider this--we're about to have a State Championship where they'll have 3 divisions, and the payouts will be bigger for the weakest players and smallest for the best players. This will be the first year this has happened, although I've seen in coming for some time. The current over/under on how much longer the league will survive is 18 months.

    So I think we're proving a payout structure that serves as a disincentive to improvement is more likely to kill a sport than improve it.


    Agreed...you need something to shoot for.The incentive to grow as a player will never be there if you reward complacency.I'd rather play for 1000.00,than play for 500.00 or whatever the structure may be. We live in a world where everyone expects a trophy...whether they earn it by winning or just for participation.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:21 am    Post subject: Tournament money Reply with quote

    just running it up a flag pole and seeing if anyone salutes it but what if money was taken out of the picture? -- NO PAYOUTS

    is it possible? it would take greed out of the picture.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:34 am    Post subject: Re: Tournament money Reply with quote

    overlord wrote:
    just running it up a flag pole and seeing if anyone salutes it but what if money was taken out of the picture? -- NO PAYOUTS

    is it possible? it would take greed out of the picture.


    That works for league play, but not open tournaments.

    The MMDL is the biggest dart league in the world, I believe, with over 500 teams, down from over 1,500 teams. The league has no money prizes, except for the tournaments they run. This works well, and keeps most players happy. They give out trophies, plaques, and shirts, instead of cash.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    willing to admit it might not work but....

    if leagues are for teams to prove their the best and no money is involved...
    why aren't tournaments the place for individuals to prove their the best with no money involved?

    I've seen charity tournaments, where 50% payback, are more successful than ones at the same location 100% payback. More successful anyway, if "How to make this sport grow" is judged on number of people in attendance.

    "if we're trying to rebuild something that is broke, just imagine the possibilities..."
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: general league format questions Reply with quote

    overlord wrote:

    Is it based on 6 player teams or 4/8?
    What format is it? (15 games only 501 or cricket or?)
    Do you play on one board all night or multiple?
    How Long is a normal night? (7-11pm for 4 hours?)
    What if any are the negatives with these leagues?


    Each team has to have 6 but can have up to 10. Each division has 6 teams in a 10 week half you play each team 2x.

    format is 15 games comprise a match, 4 801's, 8 501's DIDO, 3 crickets.
    The 01's have 3 shooters a team per game. Cricket is 2. The max number a games a shooter can shoot is 7, max 2 801's, 4 501's, and 1 cricket. The lowest 2-3 divisions only shoot 13 games (2 less 501's).
    We only use 1 board, an avg night runs from 8:00 till 11:00 or 11:30.

    overlord wrote:

    are 4/6 person teams better, more likely to draw interest and or start a team of peeps you like?


    Teams avg 8 shooters as people have things come up with work or family etc...If a team has less than 6 shooters they have to forfeit matches.
    Pts are awarded for each leg won for the standings. Playoffs are then seeded based on the season end ranking

    overlord wrote:

    what formats do "the people" like?


    I think in most of the divisions people are happy, maybe they would want to shoot more crickets if anything or get rid of 801 are the only occasional complaints I hear. In the upper div 1 and 2 I think there is a small number that would like to see a few single matches thrown in. But that then changes the amount of influence your better shooters are going to have on your standings. Typically to have a chance of winning in Div 3-2 you need 4-5 quality shooters, Div 1 you need 5-6.

    One thing to consider is if your bars are paying to participate in the league you don't want the night to go to fast and you don't want to few people there as in my experience the 2 biggest factors in how much people spend at the bar are time and number of people. If your hanging with friends you drink more and stay longer. The sponsors have to make money for their investment.

    overlord wrote:

    instead of traveling leagues would in house leagues be a more fun atmosphere? (getting a location with a banquet room with 10 boards instead of bars with 2 boards, may also help solve the youth "bar/21" problem)


    In the inhouse league I started it is geared towards those wanting to improve their game playing singles and you have to be comitted to show up. I would say it is more serious than most inhouse leagues. Cash payouts depending on how many shooters and how much I can get from the sponsor. So you can make a inhouse league for whatever your needs are.

    Good point on the youth stuff

    QCEDL info can be found at www.phillydarts.com
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    A small suggestion:

    There are really two basic types of dart players: Those that are serious and those that play for social reasons. Currently, most "solutions" try to lump both groups together and that, I believe, causes most of the contention (and resulting lack of interest).

    Darts needs to adopt the philosophies used by other sports/games with both recreation leagues and feeder paths for the more competitive player.
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    There are many reasons for the decline of our beloved game. IMO, some of the reasons are:

    - the lack of player incentive to keep improving (i.e. no bona-fide professional game)
    - the presence of disincentives to keep improving (i.e. cash payouts for non-pro levels of play, handicapping systems)
    - a new and different generation of players playing the game which has neither evolved nor adapted
    - leadership which lacks vision and is stuck in the old ways of doing things
    - the lack of a common framework, unified vision, and collaborative commitment to manage and grow both the amateur and professional levels of the game

    If I were king for the day, I would assign resources to the high level list below, and make them responsible for figuring out the nitty-gritty details, refining the framework, and coming up with solutions to execute this vision for North America...and ultimately tie parts of it to a larger global vision. Smile

    Professional level - tournaments only
    • a stand-alone, governing body that is separate from amateur levels
    • governing body is a for-profit organization with paid positions and run like a business
    • national and global professional tours
    • national and global professional ranking systems
    • professional players must earn pro tour cards to compete in national and/or pro tours
    • professional players compete for large cash purses
    • professional events are broadcast via television and/or streamed live on the internet
    • professional tours produce highly visible and marketable superstars
    • professional tours and pro players attract major sponsorships from large regional and national companies, as well as global Fortune 500 companies
    • professional players make a handsome living from sponsorships and tournament play

    Amateur level – tournaments only
    • separate governing body from professional level
    • governing body is a not-for-profit organization with volunteer positions
    • local (city/state) and national amateur competitions
    • local (city/state) and national amateur ranking systems
    • amateur players can be anybody who wants to play in a tournament
    • amateur players compete for non-cash prizes
    • amateur events have both adult and youth categories
    • amateur youth events are separated into divisions based on age
    • amateur adult events are separated into divisions based upon performance rankings
    • amateur adult and youth events are strictly managed by the governing body
    • amateur adult and youth events are streamed live or pre-recorded and posted on the internet; with larger events occasionally broadcast on television
    • amateur adult and youth levels have highly visible rising stars
    • amateur events and amateur players attract sponsorship primarily from local and regional companies
    • many amateur tournament players have a goal of becoming professional players and they will work hard to achieve that ultimate goal

    Amateur level – league systems only
    • separate governing body from amateur tournament competition
    • governing body is a not-for-profit organization with volunteer positions
    • governing body is a local organization with potential ties into a larger organization
    • local (city/state) league competitions
    • local (city/state) league ranking systems
    • league players can be anybody who wants to play in a league
    • league players compete for non-cash prizes
    • league events have both adult and youth categories
    • league youth events are separated into divisions based on age
    • league adult events are separated into divisions based upon performance rankings
    • league adult and youth events are strictly managed by the governing body
    • league players are incentivised and encouraged to play in amateur tournaments (i.e. league qualifiers leading to paid tournament entries, publicised praise for tournament accomplishments, local business sponsorships which provide nominal support and incentives to compete in tournaments, etc.)
    • many league players have a goal of progressing to the ranks of amateur tournament players and some dream of becoming professional players
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=Bowling+Alone&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1920&bih=995&wrapid=tlif130938418327810&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=4678527762894288603&sa=X&ei=7Z0LTpewEo_pgAetpsGAAg&ved=0CFAQ8wIwAw#

    This is the big story within which the decline in dart league participation is happening. This might be one of the best books of it's kind in the past decade, and in my opinion it's well worth taking a look at it. Can be found used for almost nothing, too.

    Also in my opinion, to grow the sport you need to take it out of the bars. There's too close of a connection/association with alcohol. Maybe that's what some of us like, but it stands to reason it gets in the way of wider acceptance and validation (Olympics etc.)
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject: I'm short on time again, but Reply with quote

    Some good posts...

    (Donny Jo--lost your number, so message me yours if you like)

    I would add that one organization can handle both pro and amateur just as the USGA does in golf--no duplication of effort. Decentralization is part of the problem.

    Again, I would caution that any top level tournament should be open to all. Separate amateur tournaments guarantee many of the problems we're trying to combat will remain.

    Which is not to say that every tournament has to be open. I never said we didn't need an amateur game. To my mind, league play with it's handicaps and classifications or whatever is fine. Tournaments are a totally different animal, and everyone violating this rule with mulitiple classifications and handicaps have done nothing but enrich themselves (Archnid, Medalist, etc.) and warped the sport.

    Anyone remember the name of the Kurt Vonnegut short story about the nationwide handicap system?
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:24 pm    Post subject: Harrison Bergeron!!! Reply with quote

    Thanks to Jen Schaffer! Everyone defending the use of handicaps oughtta give this story a read. It's quick...
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:27 pm    Post subject: It's online... Reply with quote

    http://www.nationalreview.com/nroriginals/?q=MDllNmVmNGU1NDVjY2IzODBlMjYzNDljZTMzNzFlZjc%3D
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    habanerojooz
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    PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 4:47 pm    Post subject: Re: I'm short on time again, but Reply with quote

    Dreadnaught wrote:
    I would add that one organization can handle both pro and amateur just as the USGA does in golf--no duplication of effort.

    The USGA has it's own unique objectives, some of which are wide in scope, but the USGA does not handle the professional side of golf. The organization which handles the professional golf tour is the PGA.

    The USGA website explains this better than I can:
    http://www.usga.org/Content.aspx?id=25847#1

    The USGA has its own major championship events, but these events are not what constitute the 'pro' tour. In my view, the closest thing to the USGA, is the BDO and WDF, which have their own major events, but they do not have a full blown professional tour. The BDO and WDF also provide a framework of rules which are used by other non-professional darting organizations.


    Dreadnaught wrote:
    Decentralization is part of the problem.

    I agree that centralization is needed. But I assert that the professional and amateur sides of darts both demand and deserve their own governing entity which is focused and dedicated to the unique requirements, wants, and needs of their respective domains.

    I PM'ed you my number. Perhaps we can talk more about this while sharing a beverage in Charlotte.
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    overlord
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    PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Just spilling some milk out on the kitchen floor seeing if anyone laps it up...

    habanerojooz wrote:

    Professional level - tournaments only

    Amateur level – tournaments only


    Tournaments could have 2 flights
    Pro - $ Flight
    Recreational - No $ Flight

    I'm been asking several people in there hobbies and found Frisbee Golf does this very same thing.

    Rec would still pay a "Tournament Administration" fee or "Right to Assemble License" fee, or what have you.

    Again just trying to get attendance #'s up.


    Last edited by overlord on Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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    PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Had an interesting conversation with a Ten Pin Bowler, concerning league attendance and commitment.

    I had always thought shorter season were better for people to make a commitment. After hearing his bowling league was 42 weeks long, he made me think darts (2 -14 week leagues and 1 -10 week league) allow too many reasons or excuses not to play again next season.

    Any thoughts on this concept?
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