22/02/2023- Events


BF Executive team warns of significant budgetary challenges for the BF events portfolio in financial year 2023-24.


Since then costs have continued to rise significantly, creating a financial challenge for the sustainability of the BF events portfolio.

The main categories of costs in events are:

  1. Venue – the venues that we have been using are now charging around £8K per day of competition. In some cases this is nearly double what we paid pre-Covid. This is a combination of the increase seen as we exited Covid lockdowns and a further increase in the last 12 months as operators pass on the rise in utility costs and inflation.
  2. Volunteers & Officials – Combined costs of travel, subsistence, accommodation and fees are averaging £9K per day per event. Across the hotels that we use we are seeing increases of 50% in comparison to pre-Covid, mileage rates were increase by 40% in response to fuel price rises and rail fares continue to increase.
  3. Equipment hire & transport – With a 38 piste venue our equipment costs are approximately £2.4K per day plus a one off transport charge of £2.4K per event – (this is based on a 40% discount with equipment providers Leon Paul, part of a negotiated contract).

So for a two-day event the costs are now sitting at around £40-45K.  (with no provision in these above numbers for BF staff administration/management of the event.)

Income for an event primarily comes from entry fees. With overall entry numbers for two day events varying from 350 to 550, in order to raise £40K in income (after transaction fees) entry fees would need to range from £75 to £120.


In addressing these areas we are considering and exploring a number of avenues:

  • Entry Fees – In some cases we can increase entry fees (not possible for the Eden Cup) but even with grants available, over time this creates an increasing barrier to participation. Team events are particularly challenging as the income is low, yet the piste usage and officials/volunteers costs remain high. Where we can increase numbers of entries we will, but note that this often increases the number of referees/pistes required.
  • Local Volunteers/Officials – Longer term, one option is to increase the pool of skilled volunteers and officials at local, regional and national level so that we can reduce the amount of money spent on transport and accommodation, using more local volunteers and officials where possible. This has the added advantage of reducing our environmental impact and creating workforce to support local/regional clubs and competitions. We will continue to work with the Home Countries who share with us responsibility for growing the numbers of volunteers and officials in the sport.
  • Other National/International Event Models – We are engaging with our European and worldwide counterparts and reviewing their setups to see what lessons we can learn.
  • Venues/Sporting Facilities – Like many other sports we will continue to raise the overall lack of affordable sporting facilities through our funding partners and up to government level. We continue to explore other venues and may need to accept compromises in size and quality of venues.
  • Licensing – We have been looking at options to licence BF portfolio competitions to organisers/clubs who have access to local teams of volunteers and venues (and/or equipment) at significantly reduced rates which allows them to run competitions that are financially viable. This will be piloted with the BRC A events which BF added to the BF portfolio to help accelerate athlete development as soon as lockdown restrictions were lifted.
  • Sponsorship – The sponsorship market remains difficult. Since the Beazley sponsorship deal (focussed around the 2012 London Olympics) BF has, supported by grant funding, worked with a number of different sizes and types of agencies with limited success. Agencies typically require some form of a retainer and this needs to be offset against any money they raise which in these times is not guaranteed.
  • Membership Income – In the past losses in BF Events have been subsidised by membership income. Whilst membership levels have recovered since Covid they have not yet returned to pre-Covid levels. BF will be working with clubs to ensure all fencing participants (whether they compete or not) have the appropriate membership type. (As we move towards negotiating insurance renewal please note that it is vital that all fencers in clubs have a valid and appropriate membership type, not just the fencers that compete. More information here.)


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