by George S. for Bill Cobb
The Greater Trenton Dart League has tried this for the past 4-5 years with our League Championship Match at the end of our season. We started by using a neutral location that was not a current sponsor of the league but the venue attracted a few hundred people a night with private parties, College night and a DJ after 10pm. We had a separate room as well so we were not interfered with which helped.
The first year we had 70 people either watch or take a glance at what was going on in that room. We also had the advantage of a marquee sign out front that put our league name and the event above the main entrance facing a major road for the day. We invited the Budweiser girls to present the trophy and hand out Bud items and the newspaper even made an appearance and we made the front page of the sport section. All in all I think it was exactly what we were looking for. However there were some bars that bitched about the event not being held at a sponsor location. I understand their point but unfortunately they failed to see the BIG picture.
Since that first event we have picked a few sponsor locations that could hold at least 50 people and I believe it still helps to gain exposure even if you catch at least 1-2 new people that look and say “hey whats going on over there?”
By making it a more special event rather than just going to the bar with the best record it also seems to put more pressure on both teams by knowing you are “on a stage” with various people watching to see whats going on.
BTW – We have gone from 16 teams of 8 or more people to 20 so I believe trying new ideas can only help when trying to build a league or fan base.