#WednesdayWisdom: The Future Is a Niche Market, Part III

Looking for a little #WednesdayWisdom? We’re pulling out past stories that are still just as relevant today. Here’s a pearl from Jim: The Future Is a Niche Market, Part III. [This article was originally published in 2008.]

Photo Credit: Chicago Outfit Roller Derby at Windy City Fieldhouse

When I was a kid (not that long ago, sorta), roller derby was in its waning days as mainstream television fare. It never made the networks, but every local station had straight-faced broadcasts of tough, serious men and REALLY tough women skating around the circle and whomping each other. I never understood the point-scoring system, but I knew it was awesome.

What’s interesting is that over the last few years, roller derby has made a comeback, but there are some key differences:

1. There’s irony. Lots and lots of post-modern irony.

2. It’s only women, which saves fans all the trouble of waiting for the men to get off the rink, and …

3. It’s successful only in its live incarnation.

You’re not going to see roller derby between the LA Ri-ettes and Santa’s Little Helpers on TV, but you can see it live.

And you won’t be alone. Niches like roller derby are examples of things that can be very, very healthy. In fact, here’s a question: If you had to be in charge of marketing either roller derby or mid-sized musical theater in mid-sized municipal theaters, which would be the better gig? One’s got some prestige and nice buildings; the other’s got demographic juice and a marketing hook.

Plus, Gene Simmons showed up to roller derby. I can’t see him spending the evening in orchestra seats watching Oklahoma.

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