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All comments by Len Fettig
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Ira,
Good data. Thanks for doing the research. It supports Jeff's conclusion, that it is the smaller Clubs that are closing.

I didn't understand the comments about tournaments. Do you also have data that supports your tournament comments?
Dec. 16
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Ed,
That sounds like a good activity for our new BoG data collection and analysis committee.
Dec. 15
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Bridge in China
I'll add my one-cent worth.
Upon completion of High School, students must pass a difficult exam to be admitted to the University. Those who do not pass, can attend a trade school.
There is a huge emphasis on academic achievement.
As we know, bridge is a mind exercise that helps to teach inductive reasoning. Therefore, it is an appropriate activity to help the Chinese students to achieve better mental acuity.
Dec. 15
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Michael,
Great analysis. Thank you for doing this.

In my District, we analyze the attendance data, much as you have done. For ‘local’ players we divide those into ‘day-trippers’ and out of towners. When we have a lot of out of towners, the number of plays per person averages around 7.8 times. As our population group shifts more toward day-trippers, then the average number of plays is around 6.8 times.

We also adjust the event times. Day trippers prefer the 10 and 3 start times. We also run very few evening sessions; for a commuter tournament.

Like Peg's D-14, our players will (must) travel to tournaments. We define a 200 mile circle as our Hot Zone. As our tournaments grow in popularity, we see more players from outside of the Hot Zone attending.

Michael, I know how much work you put into your data collection and analysis. Please know it is appreciated.
Dec. 11
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I felt we needed some data to analyze, before making recommendations for altering the number of Regional tournaments.

I pulled data for 2005 and 2017 for comparison.


2005 2017
Open Regionals 116 119
Senior Reg. 2 3
Split Reg. 4 6
I/N Reg. 2 8
Cruise Reg. 0 2

Total Regionals 124 138

Total Tables 171,663 162,915.5

Membership - 1/1/2007 was 157,286
1/31/2017 was 168,215

Please overlook the helpful (joke) reformatting by BW.
Dec. 10
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Andrew Sinclair, I agree with your post.

Anyone who feels there are too many Regionals should ask their District to eliminate at least one tournament.

Then a year later, tell us about the ‘magical’ increases in attendance at your other Regionals.
Dec. 8
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Reduce the number or Regionals.

That statement is repeated often, but what is the underlying reason?
If attendance at our tournaments is declining, then we should figure out why it is declining.

Some of the tournaments in my area have enjoyed 10-20% increases in tournament attendance. The tournament Chairs figured out how to turn things around. They recognized that they must do some things differently or better.
Dec. 7
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US population is 327 million. Comparing Australia to the US, Australia has 3 times as many bridge players.
Dec. 6
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While many players have echoed the idea that there are too many Regional tournaments, I actually see two other more important factors.

The first is that our Non-life master (NLM) players tell me that when they go to a Regional and play in the Gold Rush events, there are a bunch of LM's in the field. The NLM players want to play against their peer group.
We have a lot of success in my area (D-15) when the Regional schedule has 0-299 MP sessions running concurrent with the Gold Rush events.
So, recommendation #1 is to run at least two 0-299 sessions per day.

The second factor is that there is a lot of competition for players. No longer can we schedule a tournament and expect players to show up.

As all of us have noticed, the use of Pianola to promote tournaments has increased the visibility of nearby tournaments. Therefore, if we are not Marketing our tournaments, then players are less likely to attend. The difference between Advertising and Marketing is huge. It can make a 10% difference in your tournament attendance, so research Marketing.

To attract players to our tournaments requires a new game plan. What might have work a few years ago, has become outdated.

The data supports the idea that tournaments that deliver what the players want, do well. Tournaments that are not willing to adapt will continue to bemoan their attendance.

Going way out on a limb, I'd say that we don't have too many Regional Tournaments, instead, we have too many Tournament Chairs that are failing to recognize the current needs of our players.
Dec. 6
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Wait, your District Director communicates with the players in your District? Does that happen in other Districts?
Dec. 4
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We run tournaments for our players.

If the traveling teams want to attend, that is fine. Concentrate your energies on developing your tournament Brand and on marketing your tournament.

Your local players (within 200 miles) are your loyal players. Give those players what they want - a good schedule, good hospitality and a fair value.

I strongly discourage any special consideration for the Pro/Client/traveling teams.
Nov. 29
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Scott Stearns - Gatlinburg operated at a loss? Hard to understand that. Are any old financial reports available on the G'burg tournament? I'd like to compare them to other tournaments.
Nov. 26
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Quick quiz: Which DD's are leaving office in another month?

A: 7 - Bob Heller
15 - Phyllis Harlan
19 - Marv Norden
25 - Mark Aquino

That is the end of the pop quiz for today. :D
Nov. 26
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Ed, Thank you for the ‘bait’. Since this is the headquarters for the World's largest retailer (WalMart/Sam's Club), the world's largest protein company (Tyson Foods) and the largest US trucking firm (JB Hunt); all within five miles of Rogers, Arkansas, there are people from all over the World who really like living here.
Nov. 25
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Ed Reppert, I explored your topic with Wendy Sullivan. I was promoting the surprising location of Rogers, Arkansas.
We have 125,000 sq ft of class-A convention space, tons of lodging, restaurants and attractions; plus great airline schedules.

She said that 140K of convention space was needed and that all of the lodging had to be contiguous to the playing site.

Too bad. With all of the local $upport available, Rogers would have been a great site. Plus, an inexpensive venue; certainly better than any of the NABC's I've attended.

Let's see, Wendy is gone, but this venue is still here.
Nov. 25
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Thanks Ed. Research is good.

So Detroit and Kansas City are tied for last place. One had more tables in play, while the other had more players in attendance. I rate it a tie for last place.

Honolulu 2018 is not looking too good. I'd say the over/under point is 8,000 tables. At that level, the League will lose $22 for every $20 entry sold.

I really need to attend the Gatlinburg tournament. I just gotta see how they can handle 8 million tables. :D
Nov. 22
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Jeff,

Regionals at Sea - 2017 there were four, 2018 there were still four.

YTD numbers can vary widely. Only the full-year counts tell us what is truly happening.
Nov. 22
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The source document shows a decline of 1% for Sectionals and a decline of 11% for STaC games (http://web2.acbl.org/bb/BOD/October%202018TC.pdf). I think someone just picked up the wrong column when preparing the written report.

I'd like to redirect attention to what may be a more important trend.
If we look at the attendance at I/N Regionals, we see YTD table counts of 3,134 and an average table count of 174. Most I/N Regionals are the Friday-Sunday timeframe. While year-to-year data is not shown on the ACBL report, here is some that should get your attention:

Number of I/N Regionals by year

2015 2
2016 8
2017 11
2018 19

Yes, there is a high level of interest, among our 0-299 MP players in attending tournaments. But the tournament schedules need to meet their needs.

What is the important concept? Our Open Regional tournament schedules must run I/N sessions, concurrent with Gold Rush sessions. The audience for these two events is NOT the same.

Give them what they want!
Nov. 22
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Source: The report to the BoG.
https://www.acbl.org/bog-meeting-docs/
Nov. 21
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