As I sit here trying to figure out what to write for this week, I’ve got on a couple of short podcasts playing in the background. It is one of those professionally inspirational ones that talk about creating confidence and taking action, which is a necessary contradiction to what I really want to write this column on.
If you suck at your job, professional sports is a public enough arena that pretty much anything relevant is fair comment. Sometimes it goes further, like when a team plays a famous song whenever you go to their website and you wonder if they really got the licensing rights to be able to do that legally. Then that inability to perform a basic task becomes actual news and we have to report on it.
Reading the forums, the average indoor football fan notices stuff like this. They may prefer to swap out a ‘lol’ instead of expressing every single technical aspect of what they don’t like, but fans show that they care by talking about it. This is the first step by many to be more involved in the sport. The more people involved, the more fan friendly and successful the sport can be. This mutual growth and excellence is something fans should care about.
When I have an opinion, I have a platform to express it. I take this column and our radio show AFT Buzz then pair that with my degree in multimedia journalism. That creates a process of an entertaining narrative to point out all aspects of teams and leagues to celebrate the good and identify the bad so changes can be made.
So what about the average fan? What processes are available for them to be actionable in supporting their favorite teams and leagues?
Well if you have the time to try writing about a team or the sport in general, there are a number of indoor football-focused websites available. Personally, I’d say that Arena Football Talk is the best to get involved with. Feel free to drop us an email or Facebook message if you want to try your hand at this. Diversity in coverage though helps with overall discussion, so maybe one of our competitors are a better fit for you. These sites are done out of the love of the game and committing regular time aside for it can be difficult.
Pushing for other media coverage is big too. Ask your local newspapers, television networks and radio stations why they aren’t covering indoor football. A dedicated beat reporter may not be feasible for some of these media outlets, but at least a once-a-week recap, the box score or a feature on a player could spark interest in your team. But you have to let these editors and sports directors know that someone will pay attention to their content.
For both traditional media outlets and sites like AFT, fans need to get active on social media. Share our content, vote in our polls, comment on our posts and follow on multiple platforms. This also goes for the leagues and franchises. Doing all those things on official pages reward the franchises going all out on staff positions for information-based roles. It will also take pressure off of the major power players in the sport from having to fight fires on forums with their personal Facebook profiles or Twitter accounts and provide more official sources for Wikipedia editors.
Fans can also show their support with their dollars. Excited about a new season? Grab some merchandise and show it off. Proud to have a franchise in your hometown? Pay for the season tickets; even if you can’t make a game, someone you know will want them. Things are a little tight and you absolutely must get the car fixed or get groceries? Find the stores that advertise with your team and let them know that their sponsorship is why they got your business. You should also be doing this fairly regularly. Don’t like a decision to move venues or a coaching change? Taking away those dollars are even more telling than providing them.
Ultimately, you as the fans have a lot of pull in supporting your favorite teams on and off the field. Pushing to be more active in your fandom will help the sport reach new heights.