Roller Derby Marketing: Spread The Word About Your Team

Roller derby marketing for teams like this one in Toronto Canada
Roller derby in Toronto, Canada.

Looking to increase awareness of your roller derby team? Whether you’re seeking out fans, skaters or sponsors, make a big “smash” with these essentials steps towards getting noticed.

Roller derby marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – considering that most teams are run by league members with smaller budgets, who may not have marketing experience as their “day jobs,” it’s important to keep it simple and affordable. That being said, having a small budget established will go a long way towards attracting the desired attention.

Your Team Is Called… What?

If you’re setting up a new team, or even rebranding an existing one, an important point to consider right away is the name of it. While league names should be straightforward, team names are the place to get a bit more creative and quirky. If you’re having trouble coming up with something, you could draw inspiration from:

  • Your city or region – especially if it has a nickname or is renowned for something specific.
  • Popular or alternative culture, such as horror films and bands.
  • Puns, rhymes and plays on words that describe the attitude or outlook of your club.
  • What other teams around the world have called themselves.

Names linked to your team’s location are especially good ideas, as they’ll make you easily identifiable both for marketing purposes and when it comes time to enter competitions. Consider your name carefully – rebranding and changing it can be a considerable amount of work and expense.

Get Creative With Your Logo

Logo design is definitely an area where you’ll be wise to invest a little money. Avoid the trap of making it too cluttered, or drawing from too many different images and sources. A clean logo with relevant graphics and design will look nice for a lot longer. Your logo is the immediately recognisable image that represents your team, so it’s worthwhile to make it a good one.

The Seaside Siren Roller Girls are a roller derby team in Southend-on-Sea Essex
The logo of the Seaside Siren Roller Girls, a roller derby team in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

Develop An Internet Presence

A good website is essential, and your roller derby marketing efforts will not be complete without it. Your site doesn’t have to be huge, elaborate or expensive – in fact, simpler is often better. Make it stylish, uncluttered and easy to navigate and visitors to it will be happier with their web surfing experience. When building your site, don’t forget to include:

  • A basic introduction about your club.
  • A list of upcoming fixtures and tournaments.
  • Mention of your sponsors.
  • Information for potential skaters, including tryout dates.
  • Special or fundraising event details.
  • An address and location, made even better with a link to a Google map.
  • Up to date contact information.

It’s a good practice to keep internal team news either off the website or in a dedicated section, as it’s irrelevant to other visitors (fans, potential skaters and sponsors) and may prove confusing or off-putting to wade through. If you do want it on the same website, you may consider a separate page or blog category aimed only at current team members, which will keep that information neatly contained in one place. Other things to avoid are too many weird fonts, animated graphics and distracting pop ups.

As imperative as your website is to building your fanbase and attracting attention for your club, you’ll need more than that for outreach. Social media-wise, you can turn to everything from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest to spread the word. Fixture results, injury reports, photos, fundraising efforts, upcoming tryouts and more can be shared on your social platforms of choice.

If you don’t have a lot of time and resources to devote to your online marketing campaign, stick to the core social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Then, branch out from there as you feel able.

Roller derby marketing for teams like this one in Toronto Canada
Roller derby in Toronto, Canada.

Print Stuff

Another worthwhile area that will take a small amount of financial investment; print is key to your roller derby marketing. If you can only pick three things to print, make them the following:

  • Business cards – to hand out to potential sponsors, providing them with a quick and easy reference of who you are, what you’re after and how they can reach you.
  • Leaflets – to advertise upcoming events, fundraising nights and skater tryouts.
  • Posters – once you have events to promote, posters placed in strategic locations around town with some strong visuals are a great way to let people know what you’re up to.

Go Networking

Your outreach will have a more personal touch if you actually get out and meet people at local events – and this can be done in a wide variety of ways, all of which have the potential to be hugely beneficial to your team. If it’s sponsors you’re seeking, put the skates aside for a minute and head out to local business networking events. They may be the last thing you’d think of attending, but everyone is there to market themselves – just like you! Be prepared to talk about the benefits of your sport, the growth it’s experiencing and the positive aspects for the women involved. To gain an extra advantage, have your business cards at the ready. You may even want to print a small number of flyers specifically focused on why and how local businesses should sponsor you, so you can leave them with the contacts you make.

Other local events, such as charity rides, fetes and fairs also have great potential for increasing your exposure. While they might not be the places to seek out sponsors, it’s at them that you could find fans and potential skaters, as well as educate the public and dispel myths about your sport.

Central City Roller Girls roller derby marketing referee
A Central City Roller Girls referee.

Put The Fun In Fundraising

The trick to fundraising is this: whatever you choose to so, make it fun and accessible for a large number of people in your community. Try fancy dress skate-a-thons, seeking out donations of prizes for raffles and selling tickets to fans or live music nights where ticket proceeds are donated to your team. Whenever you’re endeavouring to fundraise, make sure to spread the word everywhere possible – contact the local newspaper, plug it on Facebook, ask your contacts to re-tweet; shout it from the rooftops!

Two points to take away with you are as follows:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Sometimes folks who may be willing to offer their support are waiting to be asked specifically. And others may not have thought of it, but when the idea is broached feel happy to contribute.
  • State the benefits. Convince people of why they should sponsor you. What will they get out of it? How will it make them look? In what ways does it benefit the community?

Whatever direction you take your roller derby team in, be original and authentic. You’ll win over supporters and attract attention to a venture which clearly has such a dedicated following. And just as you’re not afraid to get tough when you put your skates on, don’t hesitate once they’re off. A little tenacity can go a long way.