N.E. Brigand

When will drum corps be popular enough? How would we know?

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Apparently there's an op-ed piece in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal* that proposes a new way to make baseball more popular via some rule change that would "make games more competitive" and "shave nearly a half hour off game time". Already a number of critics are faulting the plan. I don't have a WSJ subscription, so I can't read the column or comment on its merits, but I was struck by one cultural commentator's reaction because it raises questions that might also (someday?) apply to drum corps:

"All such pieces assume it's a problem to be solved if the audience for baseball is declining. But what if baseball is just an example of a mature-but-still-strong business?

Why is it important for baseball to be more popular? It's not clear that's necessary for the public. If people who aren't interested in baseball enjoy other things, they're fine. They don't necessarily need an improved baseball.

Owners and players might be better off if the fan base is expanded -- but not if that comes at the cost of alienating existing superfans, and maybe not even if it means shorter games, and therefore less ad time to sell within the games."

 

So that got me wondering: how many corps, how many participants, how many shows, how many fans are enough? What's the right size for drum corps? And what's the right way to balance the desires of serious fans with the desires of a broader public?

 

*for reference, link to WSJ essay: A Radical Pitch to Save Baseball

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48 minutes ago, N.E. Brigand said:

So that got me wondering: how many corps, how many participants, how many shows, how many fans are enough? What's the right size for drum corps? And what's the right way to balance the desires of serious fans with the desires of a broader public?

 
 

Lots of good points and parallels, baseball looking within the game itself to fill the emptying stands. Like you point out a fix that may not fill the bill.

Dci suffers from the opposite of that. Letting off the field issues affect things. Like having more corps at finals than in the past (WC/OC} and an ever-increasing fan base from eroding, Off field issues dominating the discussion that look negatively at the activity. Parents having reservations about letting their kids go there. 

I have never seen a time when the stands were more filled and filled with potential MMs and other fans more than never before. Large venues filled to capacity of viewable seats. Wonder sometimes if two night stands in certain places are beneficial. Wonder if future designs play to both sides of the field to accommodate future fan bases. Good problems.

Edited by Bluzes
typo

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4 hours ago, Bluzes said:

I have never seen a time when the stands were more filled and filled with potential MMs and other fans more than never before. Large venues filled to capacity of viewable seats.

It's well known that while recent Finals audiences are larger than in the early 2010s, they were larger still in some past years.

And there used to be a LOT more shows every summer.

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25 minutes ago, N.E. Brigand said:

It's well known that while recent Finals audiences are larger than in the early 2010s, they were larger still in some past years.

And there used to be a LOT more shows every summer.

Been there Legion and VFW finals had over 30k. dci did better in Madison, Boston but finals tickets did not cost $150.00 and the Indy market is still growing at the increased ticket price I know not all tickets are relative. Not blaming dci for the ticket price, heck the first Super bowl Tickets went for $8.00 supply and demand.

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DCI is never going to be mainstream. Sure those Legion and VFW days had super crowds, but a lot of those folks were there because of the Legion or VFW not the corps specifically.

 

Outside of a few major college bands that seeing the show is a tradition, when halftime comes, the stands empty. The HBCU big show does big crowds, but several smaller events dont draw.

 

we are band to the general population. We're never going to sell 60,000 seats or be a huge draw on major TV networks. Wanna know why the HBCU show gets huge ratings and sponsors? Reaching a demographic the advertisers want to reach. 

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I don't think anyone's arguing that DCI would ever become mainstream (however one chooses to define the term). More curious about whether people think it's big enough, too big, or too small.

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5 minutes ago, N.E. Brigand said:

I don't think anyone's arguing that DCI would ever become mainstream (however one chooses to define the term). More curious about whether people think it's big enough, too big, or too small.

it's just right for where it is now. If more corps can be formed and sustain, it'll grow. 

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Fair enough. I was really struck by that argument about professional baseball not needing to grow.

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39 minutes ago, N.E. Brigand said:

Fair enough. I was really struck by that argument about professional baseball not needing to grow.

Thought it was only playoff hockey players and BAC that need to grow        wait for it     BEARDS  Glad to hear baseball players don't need them. 

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12 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

When will drum corps be popular enough? How would we know?

how many corps, how many participants, how many shows, how many fans are enough? What's the right size for drum corps? And what's the right way to balance the desires of serious fans with the desires of a broader public?

Great question to ponder. Well, for one thing, since it's not shrinking as an activity we could assume it's popular enough.

Is there anything that keeps drum corps going artificially? Like a legacy government grant that's going away, or a dwindling pot of money donated in the long ago past? If not, and it's self-sustaining, we could assume it's popular enough.

That doesn't mean promotion should be canned. That is critical to keeping it healthy. As an example of this, 30 some years ago when I was in high school I was a DCI fan. It fell by the wayside when I graduated and life changed. Then just 3 years ago I saw an advertisement for BLL, dragged my wife to it and was hooked again, and so was my wife. Then she pushed a son into the activity (who did it grudgingly), then he was hooked. Since that time we’ve been going to shows, volunteering, participating, donating, buying stuff, brought others, etc.. Now as I said, I was a long ago fan, seeing a BLL ad isn’t going to do the same for Joe six-pack who never heard of DCI. Nevertheless, the outreach to the general public and potential fans via promotion obviously has an impact on keeping it healthy.

For instance, in the 2019 predictions thread, there was this promotional idea:

"Then, at the retreat something derogatory will be said by BAC to BD, or vice versa. A fistfight will ensue, everyone else will jump into it. There will be hundreds jailed and hospitalized. It will be on the evening news, and in 2020 there will be a record number of attendees that have never attended DCI before pushing the audience to over 100,000."

As long as there are good people with good ideas, the activity will remain healthy, and in my book that's popular enough.

 

Edited by kkrepps
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