N.E. Brigand

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

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How many thousands of marching band programs are there around the country?  I think the last answer I saw was MikeD's; somewhere in 20,000s?  Could it be correct to so that the average membership of those programs is 50?  If correct, that's 1-million participants.  Plus parents and family to come watch them perform, let's call it 1.5mm pairs of potentially interested eyeballs of just the participants and their families (and not including those who go just because they enjoy the shows).

Let's say just half of those care about marching arts enough to go participate and watch a show.  750,000 participants and fans, potentially.

44 corps, 150 members (100 average membership?  125?)  That's about 6000 performers today.  DCI advertises that over 100,000 fans watch the 100+ shows each year in person and online.

6000 performers compared to the hypothetical pool is less than 10% of the hypothetical participants.  100,000 viewers is about 40% of hypothetical viewers.

Is drum corps popular enough to support itself?  The 990's show the answer and I'd say definitively NO.

ANY activity that is not growing is slowly dying, and the history of DC since DCI was formed backs that notion.

Does every major-league baseball team wish every kid played baseball?  Yes, it's not popular enough until that goal is reached, correct?

Does every NFL team, basketball, hockey, soccer, needlepoint club, traveling choir, church, senior/community center, symphony orchestra, ballet company NEED to grow by becoming more popular (and successfully attracting viewers/participants)?  No, not if they don't care about a slow death on life support where the wires and tubes are removed one at a time until the patient can't support its own life.

Whatever plan DCI has to drive its business, it had better focus on the business of becoming more popular and growing.

According to the (maybe inaccurate) numbers above, there's room to grow - LOTS. 

If "Popularity" equals growth, then No, drum corps is definitely not popular enough.

 

Edited by garfield
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40 minutes ago, garfield said:

How many thousands of marching band programs are there around the country?  I think the last answer I saw was MikeD's; somewhere in 20,000s?  Could it be correct to so that the average membership of those programs is 50?  If correct, that's 1-million participants.  Plus parents and family to come watch them perform, let's call it 1.5mm pairs of potentially interested eyeballs of just the participants and their families (and not including those who go just because they enjoy the shows).

I should give you credit just for having a brief, passing thought about the other 7 billion potential fans/participants who are not currently affiliated with American marching bands.

One comment, though.  If you hold this belief...

Quote

ANY activity that is not growing is slowly dying

... then the word "enough" should not be in your business vocabulary.

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7 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

actually for drum corps to get more popular, DCA needs to learn how to market themselves. DCI has done a great job the last 6 years

That's probably true, I never even heard of DCA until 2 years ago, and only because of getting back into DCI. DCA events are like ninjas, unless you're looking for them you never see them coming, or notice they were there.

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well - we drive in the middle of the night, practice at schools closed for the summer and perform in stadiums where all the good experience seats were sold out ten months in advance

we rarely do public appearances and when we do it's on the 4th of July and typically a song/guard work we spent very very little time practicing

so - with all that considered

it is EXTREMELY popular due to it's very high quality and unique idiom-only aspects

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11 minutes ago, George Dixon said:

well - we drive in the middle of the night, practice at schools closed for the summer and perform in stadiums where all the good experience seats were sold out ten months in advance

 

"Put the locals on the 5-yard line. They'll get it, and want to return."  :laughing:

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5 minutes ago, Fran Haring said:

"Put the locals on the 5-yard line. They'll get it, and want to return."  :laughing:

HA!

Fran and I have discussed this very point on several occasions. Filling the grandstand should not be the primary objective, as strange as that sounds. The important goal is to give everyone who does attend a very good experience to make them want to attend yet another time.

 

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"Expanding" World Championship attendance sounds good but in reality is silly insofar as Lucas Oil Stadium is concerned. For several years, people have been sitting with end zone views.

Even in the best possible listening environment in any stadium, an end zone seat is not good if you like the music.

If the mythical 1981 Montreal crowd did appear next year, where would they all sit? Now, if expanding means more corps (looking at Battalion and Columbians), then yes, that is great.

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1 hour ago, cixelsyd said:

I should give you credit just for having a brief, passing thought about the other 7 billion potential fans/participants who are not currently affiliated with American marching bands.

One comment, though.  If you hold this belief...

... then the word "enough" should not be in your business vocabulary.

Of course, you're right.  I didn't include a YUGE part of the non-participants because the activity is PAID for, at the corps level, by MM dues, not gate and not charitable contributions.  If drum corps just attracted the majority of participant kids who care, they'd likely double or triple participation, and eyeballs interested in seeing will follow.

Also, without participants, the tour won't be bigger and the opportunity for fan eyes diminishes.

If I were CEO of DCI and asked to establish a growth goal, I'd say that drum corps has attained "enough" status when fans produce enough gate receipts that the corps are able to function and thrive on the gate alone, and marching members are able to participate for free. 

Doing so would require more participants and more shows on the tour, and charging higher ticket prices.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, wolfgang said:

"Expanding" World Championship attendance sounds good but in reality is silly insofar as Lucas Oil Stadium is concerned. For several years, people have been sitting with end zone views.

Even in the best possible listening environment in any stadium, an end zone seat is not good if you like the music.

If the mythical 1981 Montreal crowd did appear next year, where would they all sit? Now, if expanding means more corps (looking at Battalion and Columbians), then yes, that is great.

I attended DCI in Montreal.  Also several other DCI Championships. Montreal was the biggest Finals crowd I ever witnessed. I can't guarantee whatever number went up on the scoreboard that night was 100% accurate, because audience counts have way too many variables to influence the balance between reality and the visual appearance. We need to consider, for instance, the width of each seat, the distance between rows, and the number of aisles. 

Indy DCI is over capacity now for all practical purposes. The additional revenue will need to come from other sources besides the nightly gate. This is precisely why broadcast revenue is so critical to DCI's improved financial health.

Hey, I actually prefer enjoying DCI through broadcast. Must be nuts, right?

Edited by Fred Windish

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1 minute ago, Fred Windish said:

I attended DCI in Montreal.  Also several other DCI Championships. Montreal was the biggest Finals crowd I ever witnessed. I can't guarantee whatever number went up on the scoreboard that night was 100% accurate, because audience counts have way too many variables to influence the balance between reality and the visual appearance. We need to consider, for instance, the width of each seat, the distance between rows, and the number of aisles. 

Indy DCI is over capacity now for all practical purposes. The additional revenue will need to come from other sources besides the nightly gate. This, is precisely why broadcast revenue is so critical to DCI's improved financial health.

Overcapacity is a function of ticket prices.  Higher demand should necessitate higher prices.  Higher prices may reduce capacity but certainly draws more revenue.

Also, don't forget that DCI closed the top (two) levels of seating in LOS.  I don't know the capacity available, but we're not using it.

Also, part of "Grow" necessitates that there are A. More shows on the tour and B. Designing shows that appeal to all four sides of the field.

 

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