Eagles plan digital transformation

Eastbourne Speedway is planning to transform Arlington race nights for supporters by harnessing the massive power of digital technology.

It is designed to reshape a night at Eastbourne Speedway for most fans, while still remembering the needs of people without a mobile phone.

Director of the Eastbourne HG Aerospace Eagles, Ian Jordan, has begun announcing a tranche of new and exciting business technology aspirations and phased launches planned for the 2021 season and into the future.

The Eagles and their MSDL side, the Eastbourne Seagulls powered by the “Save Thurrock Hammers Campaign”, will press on with the exciting new cutting-edge ideas, despite the announcement on Wednesday (January 6) that the sport’s AGM has been delayed by a week until Thursday, January 14.

Jordan explained: “We understand fully the reasoning and logic for the delay of the AGM and hopefully the extra week will give everyone involved the time and opportunity to reflect on the vitally important issues facing all sports regarding Covid-19 and Brexit and also the more specific ones affecting the structure of Speedway going forwards.

“We have made our views regarding 2021 crystal clear.

“Whilst we see the coming season as pivotal, we would hope that everyone understands that no successful transformation of any progressive business has ever been implemented by rushed and reactive planning.

“The way forward may be to work on something truly transformational for 2022, when hopefully the worst of Covid may be passed, or at least better controlled.

“We think that could involve all stakeholders in the Sport including riders, sponsors and supporters so that everyone can add value to a generational transformation project that could also bring in outside and independent expertise like Team GB have done with great benefits.

“This would ensure all aspects of the outstanding product that we have are truly optimised.”

Jordan said the club had a number of exciting business and sporting announcements to make that could be impacted by decisions made at the forthcoming AGM.

However, he said now was the time to launch Eastbourne’s “Digital Eagles” concept for the 2021 season and beyond.

Last winter, the club launched plans for a “Speedway Hub” at Arlington, including an updated track shop and e-merchandising solutions, an area for video and post match presentations and a specially designed “Introduction Area” for any newcomers to the Sport to get a quick idea how Speedway racing works.

Speedway Hub

“Sadly the arrival of Covid-19 scuppered the 2020 season and we have to be brutally realistic and understand that having significant numbers of people congregating in confined indoor spaces, is not going to be practical, or possible, for the foreseeable future,” Jordan said.

#DigitalEagles will bridge that gap and move to what was to be the evolution of the Speedway Hub for the 2021 season.

It will be Covid compliant, user friendly and we also believe really enthuse and create interaction with the tens of thousands of younger supporters and families that we want to attract to Arlington.

Eastbourne Speedway has enjoyed a significant increase in crowds in recent seasons by attracting new, younger supporters via its Community Programme introduced by Jordan on his arrival in mid 2018.

It has already announced plans to make up to 65,000 Under-15 Season Passes available to tourist attractions, sporting clubs and community projects across Sussex and surrounding areas, including an exciting tie-up with the Community Programme at Brighton and Hove Albion FC orchestrated by Ken Burnett of T2TV.

Jordan explained the concepts and ideas being planned for the start of the 2021 season.

“We have an outstanding Media Team and access also to the unique and imaginative creative genius Barry Cross whose work is widely respected.

“We have launched Flying High a digital monthly magazine to widespread praise in the winter and whilst that is and will remain a FREE publication, we now know what we thought possible with a match programme is not only infinitely possible but adds massive digital scope.

“We will therefore produce and sell our match programmes both in print and digitally from 2021. These will be able to be downloaded by PDF or on to a App that we are developing and will be of the same quality as Flying High

This will be more Covid-19 compliant, cheaper for us to produce and give everyone the chance to read and re-visit the programme at their leisure before and after the event, at the event or remotely anywhere in the world.”

Jordan explained there would also be an aim to launch two versions of the match scorecard, a blank one for supporters to fill in on their phones or devices or a continually updating version, via the App.

He commented: “We know some fans want us to install a large scoreboard.

“This would cost tens of thousands of pounds and only benefit those in the stadium who could see it for around 90 minutes up to 20 times a year.

“The Digital App and Downloads we believe are far more beneficial to individuals present, or not, and also expands our marketing and advertising opportunities, reach and revenues.

“If we take the App and Digital download further we can explore even more exciting new ideas like, a 30 minute pre-match downloadable magazine feature showcasing the teams, riders and hopes and expectations for the meeting ahead and similarly a Press Conference with participants filmed and downloaded immediately after the meeting which is a feature we are very keen to implement but which Covid-19 and those enclosed space issues may rule out for the foreseeable future.”

Jordan said the #DigitalEagles initiative tied in perfectly with the excellent web and social media platform built by Media and Creative Director, Ian Smalley, since the start of 2019

It would allow the club to showcase all of the excellent content providers we have such as Paul Watson, Kevin and John Ling, Mick Corby, Ray Black, Ken Burnett and others like our track photographer Mike Hinves.

Jordan commented: “The scope for ongoing networking, advertising and raising awareness across all demographics and age ranges is immense and every youngster that comes to Arlington can now watch LIVE Speedway Racing and also read and view Speedway-related content on their phones between races.

“We will also seek to add another digital enhancement to tie in with our plans to have a completely new Air Fence in place during next winter, by finalising plans we have to add a transponder loop on to the Speedway Track, which will provide data for our riders and mechanics and track staff, but which will also be of major interest I’m sure to supporters old and new who will be able to download and look at retrospective data from the transponder system.”

Jordan promised fans that the Eagles would maintain the traditional paper, public address and media for the loyal customer and supporter base.

“Our strategy is built around the 3 Rs: Retain existing Supporters and look after them, Regain those who have maybe slipped away and re-enthuse them and Reach Out to those who have never seen Speedway Racing before but who we hope will come once and want to come back for more.

“These can be exciting and positive times and despite all of the horrors and trials and tribulations of the past 12 months, we cannot wait to get started,” Jordan said.