Following questions from the community, BF provides a summary breakdown of costs incurred in running the September BF events which is factored into entry fees.
As we start to return to fencing and rebuild the sport, we are very much looking forward to seeing events and competitions taking place across the country again. During September we are running three weekends of Cadet and Junior ranking events made up of 24 individual competitions in total, giving young fencers across the UK the opportunity to get back to competition.
We have received feedback and questions regarding the cost of running and entering events so we thought it would be helpful to share with the community an overview of the main costs incurred by BF when running these events.
Ultimately our aim as we re-start our competitions is to keep the cost of event entry as low as possible, retain quality of experience whilst at the same time minimising the overall losses to BF at a time when Covid is already having a significant impact on financial reserves.
It is worth noting that prior to Covid the BF Events programme has historically been an area of financial challenge, year on year we have been working to reduce the deficit and were nearing break-even, post-Covid we are facing additional costs and challenges.
In respect to our major fencing events, there are multiple costs associated with running an event, with facility hire, and volunteer expenses (accommodation and travel) being some of the greatest area of spend.
Some of our fencing clubs/event organisers are able to to negotiate either heavily discounted or free venue hire, particularly where they have an ongoing usage arrangement with a single venue, which can significantly reduce overheads and keep entry fees down. This is more difficult for BF, in part as we aim to run events in various locations across the country but also because the larger venues (which are needed to accommodate 24-30 pistes) are in high demand. In general, we are expecting venue costs to rise this year as venues attempt to recoup some of their lost income and increased overheads of the last 18 months. With some COVID restrictions still in place, floor space requirements (eg space per piste) have increased which impacts entry limits. The average venue cost across the three September competitions is just over £8.3K per 2-day event (which roughly equates to £320 per piste).
When it comes to the event team, we are reliant on volunteers (referees, armourers, DT and general event crew) as well as BF staff to support the delivery of events. With access to a suitably skilled local workforce not always an option, we are reliant on volunteers traveling across the country to the various events, which results in increased travel and accommodation overheads. Based on pre-pandemic figures and current bookings, the predicted total expenses costs across the 3 events is an average of £8K per event, however we are already experiencing price increases in travel and accommodation so this may increase. We rely on a minimum of 24 volunteer referees each day for the A events, rising to 36 for the Nationals, on top of welfare officers, set-up/take-down teams, DT, general event support & administration etc. This equates to an average of just under £90/day of expenses per volunteer. Medical cover costs have also slightly risen, to an average of £1.25K per event.
Like the majority of other sports across the UK we do not pay our event officials a fee to support our National Governing Body domestic events and we are extremely grateful to all those that volunteer for events.
Another area of cost is equipment hire, equipment transport and external management fees. Over the three competitions this is an average of £7.3K per event, which includes a significant equipment hire discount from our partners Leon Paul as part of their sponsorship of BF events.
In terms of entry fee income for the September events we are looking at an average of £24K per event.
This means that without considering any other cost – for example any BF staffing management & administration, platform fees etc – we are currently forecasted to lose money on these events.
It has been suggested that we reduce the entry fees thus attracting more entries – more fencers means more pistes and more officials which in turn increases costs, and the venues themselves have capacity limits. These capacity limits (alongside the start and end times) drive the existing entry caps. Recognising that the current entry fees can create an insurmountable barrier for some members of our community, we have extended our Financial assistance scheme – for more details click here.
We are very aware that this is not a financially sustainable position long term but we recognise the need to re-start competitions and provide our fencers with vital opportunities to assess their current form, assess progress against the pathway framework and their individual development plans, and demonstrate their readiness to progress to international fencing.
Finally, we are very much looking forward to re-connecting with our fencing community and would like to take this opportunity to thank our growing team of volunteers without whom these events would not be possible. (We do still need referees so if you can volunteer for any one of the six days please sign-up here.)
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