The Clash of the Titans

It’s the bout everyone has been waiting for. As soon as it was announced it was obvious that it would sell out in minutes. London Brawling versus Gotham, with the Brawl Saints taking on Leeds Roller Dolls as an opener, a bout that on any normal day would be the headline act. But the 12th July will not be any normal day.

It will be a day when Roller Derby fans from all across the UK and beyond will descend on Leeds to witness a clash between two of the top teams in the world, and more importantly, to see their idols in the flesh.

It will also demonstrate that a grass roots sport can command an audience and fan base rivalling that of many established sports, demanding to be taken seriously and attract funding from the relevant governing bodies. The only limiting factor on this bout being the number the venue can hold. However, the 800 or so travelling fans will also contribute to the wider Leeds economy, spending on travel, restaurants and hotel accommodation. Factors that should not be overlooked by businesses who benefit and who should encourage the sport to return.

For myself the camera store has also benefited as I invest in some new equipment to make the most of the opportunity.  To get different shots and to compensate for the challenging situation I’ll find myself in. It will be like the World Cup final all over again. Packed, no opportunity to move, having to make the most of the situation I find myself in, but also an opportunity to photograph two of the best teams in the world go head to head.

On the day there will be winners and losers, but on reflection everyone will be a winner. From the skaters who gain valuable experience, fans who have a great day and hotels and restaurants whose takings go up.

So why wouldn’t any town or city want to encourage Roller Derby to pay a visit? When local business leaders find out the economic benefits it can bring, surely it makes sense to be as welcoming as possible and make larger venues available at reasonable costs to satisfy demand? For an event that could have sold out five times over, or  possibly more, the economic benefit to the local area would be five or ten fold, a sum business leaders couldn’t ignore if only they could be made aware of it.


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