Roller Derby announcers – how to make them smile

So what do you do when you can no longer play the sport you love, but want to stay involved with it? The logical step for me seemed to be announcing, previously the league had struggled to fill this position on game days and it had always fallen to the injured/ un rostered skaters.

My experience since has made me realise that announcers can sometimes be an afterthought – despite the ‘added value’ they can add to your games and tournaments. So as we go into Christmas and everyone is planning their next year’s Derby antics, I thought I’d give you some things to think about…

Time

You’re planning a totally amazing tournament, there’s going to be live stream and everything – get your Tournament Head Announcer Application out there at the same time as your other TH’s. They have to gather crews in the same way as the officials, they need to organise travel, and they need to plan their lives too! If you have a game coming up in your home town, it would be completely unreasonable to leave NSO positions vacant until the week before – why do that with announcers?

Space should not be the final frontier

Give them space – even if that’s a shared space! Announcers need space and quiet in just the same way as your officials (they need food and water too). When planning your tournament space, please make sure you think about the people who are communicating all the Derbz – just because it looks fun, or less physical doesn’t mean it’s any less draining on them as people. Announcers are like house plants, keep us warm, watered and with a little bit of food and we bloom.

Sponsorship and league info

If you have an awesome group of sponsors that are supporting your event or league, please tell us about them – before the game. Make sure the official line from the sponsor is written in a way that will sound great read out, think about slight rephrasing for streaming so your announcers aren’t telling people to visit the booth by track 1.

Sure your announcers could probably do this real quick but they are YOUR sponsors, and the responsibility is on YOU to make sure those reads are ready for the announcing crew. Equally, league information for in house announcers, things as simple as upcoming games, new skater training, raffle prizes

Whatever you’d like to be communicated to the crowd about your league should be communicated in an easy, clear way to the announcers.

Rosters

Rosters right? Ok we might get a programme, but a roster is usually a much better way to communicate some key information. (Like who’s actually going to be on the bench, and their number)

One roster per announcer is the best case scenario and don’t forget those tricky pronunciations – help us sound great for you!

Talking is thirsty work

Hey do you provide information about the venue to your official’s crews? Maybe they need to bring a water bottle or your provide coffee but they need to bring their own cup… You know who very rarely find that on until the day? Yep Announcers – help us keep our voices by letting us know the refreshment and venue information.

Shout outs!

Announcers love a shout out on social media or in your game programme, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to do, and the feel good factor goes a long way in how likely they are to come back and announce for your league.

That’s not to say you should start filling their announcer space with only red smarties and perfectly temperature controlled water, but small things to increase an announcers profile can be good for you and them.

Thanks

I know your mother raised you right! Please remember to say thank you to your announcers, in the programme and face to face – they can really make the difference between your spectators enjoying watching the game, feeling informed and feeling engaged with the play that is happening. Happy spectators make repeat visitors which can ease the cost of game day significantly, by supporting your announcers to do their best job – your league will reap the benefits.

I don’t imagine that any of this is a surprise or ground-breaking news to you, but what might surprise you is how inconsistently these simple things are done well. We’re a special group of people full of egos and words, who LOVE this sport, next time you’re assigning game day tasks to your league members, add an extra one for us.

Biertrix has announced for 5 years, with illustrious tournaments such as Women’s Roller Derby World Cup 2014 to WFTDA Championships 2017 on her CV, President and Founding member of Rainy City Roller Derby, Manchester, UK and all round avoider of maths and steel chairs.

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