Welcome to the ‘derby disco’…
With all the furore being raised against idiots who light dangerous flares amongst the crowds at sporting events, it is clear that the spectacle those same idiots are seeking is in fact a spectacle that the media are all too happy to pick up on, because the media know that it also looks like a spectacle to the media’s own audience (see the image on the left above, readily available in the media.)
There is nothing wrong with spectacles, per se`. They are by definition spectacular!
But what if there was a way to assimilate (subvert?) the illegal use of flares, and even and noise devices into the mainstream of the game?
Obviously this could not be done using dangerous flares and detonators, and although electronic flares and electronic noisemakers may be safer, but they would still be ‘owned’ by individuals and thus be prone to being misused in the heat of the moment.
Consider events like the Superbowl, who understand well that a pyrotechnics display can create a great spectacle. Even the NRL has made good use of pyrotechnics.
Of course raw pyrotechnics do not fit the current vibe or image of ‘soccer, and I am not advocating anything as gauche as fireworks on top of the goal posts.
But just imagine for a moment what the RBB would look like (when the Wanderers score) with the whole block lit up in billowing red glowing smoke, perhaps pulsating with a bit of synchronised bass accompaniment! Even more spectacular?
The venues themselves are the solution. They are able to install smoke generators, colored lights, and possibly noisemakers under the seats in the active supporter areas, to be triggered each time their team scores a goal. With the correct artistic design, it would create a true spectacle but keeps the party firmly where it belongs… off the field.
And who doesn’t love a good disco ; )
There are a few implementation points that can be debated, such as the duration of the lights/smoke, and the volume of lights/smoke compared to, say, ticket sales in the active supporter area… but consider who benefits in the following situations:
- What active supporter would not enjoy a celebration that went off (even more) like a party?
- What casual fan does not enjoy seeing their active supporter group in their full glory?
- What players would not enjoy watching their fans ‘go off’ even more than they already do?
- What club would not love something that encouraged more supporters, particularly active supporters?
- What club would also not love the fan engagement around the design of that spectacle?
- What venue would not love a value-add that increased demand for tickets… potentially for ALL sports?
- What FFA administrator would not like to remove some of the impetus and incentive for people to make their own mischief, when it could be done safer, and better?
- What broadcaster/advertiser would not love something that added to the spectacle of the game?
In short, let not talk about active supporter areas as if they were battlefields, let’s make sure they are parties!