What do people want from an EBU Tournament?

I've started this because several posts have alluded to asking those that don't attend what would make an event sufficiently attractive for them to support it. Perhaps the EBU could email people saying please tell us what could we provide at our tournaments that would make them so attractive that you would support them?

Peter Bushby Suffolk

Comments

  • We have club members who go on Bridge holidays with people from the local area. When asked why they're not going to Eastbourne they say: "I prefer to stay in the same hotel as the people I'm playing with and all eat together plus I'm not sure about walking to a venue to play Bridge in the evening / night-time".

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • edited September 2019
    Just back from France where I played in the Le Touquet end August tournament. Friday, Saturday and Sunday 80 tables played one session per day of 30 boards - all run by one director. Many French international women players and a strong Belgian contingent. This followed a one day mixed pairs tournament of 69 tables. For those who don’t know it Le Touquet is a pretty seaside resort about 45 minutes from Calais and a good two and a half hour drive from Paris. Lovely airy venue. Entry fee for the three session event was €150/pair - but spectacular prizes (facilitated by a strong level of sponsorship). Everyone stayed at the end for the “cocktail” and the prize giving. Is there anything we could learn from this type of event ?
  • I used to play at Le Touquet and as 466114 reports it was a fantastic event with several hundreds of attendees. Four of us went - two to play - but unfortunately the Bridge partnership came to an end and we stopped going. The stage was full of prizes and we usually came away with something. I always wondered how they could get so many items sponsored. Perhaps a visit by someone from the EBU to speak to the organisers would be a good idea.

  • I think one answer may be that "people want more than just a game of Bridge"
    perhaps we should focus on creating an attractive experience first
    and then embeds some very good bridge (for all levels) within that?
    I like the idea of talking to/learning from the Le Touquet organisers.

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • @Peter said:
    I think one answer may be that "people want more than just a game of Bridge"
    perhaps we should focus on creating an attractive experience first
    and then embeds some very good bridge (for all levels) within that?
    I like the idea of talking to/learning from the Le Touquet organisers.

    Unfortunately, much of the "attractive experience" of an event held in a French coastal resort isn't replicable in the UK! 26-30 boards per day is reasonable there; it wouldn't be here.

    Agree that many of the French events seem to have sponsorship nailed though - maybe it's easier for "standalone" events than ones organised by a national body.

  • A lot of French events (Le Touquet & La Baule being 2 examples) benefit from local sponsorship. In the case of Le Touquet it always used to be the Casino. Not sure if it still is. In the case of La Baule from the local authority and local businesses donating prizes. It's the done thing (and has been for a long time) to stay behind in France for Le Cocktail and what is often an excruciating and lengthy prize giving.

  • The Le Touquet event this year and last was held in a place called the Salle des Quatre Saisons. The Casino is currently under refurbishment. I don’t know who the sponsors were this year - but I’m absolutely sure that the organisers of the event would be delighted to talk to the EBU in the hope of attracting more British players.
    Some French tournaments hold a one-day two-session Patton prior to a two or three day pairs.
  • While my own preference might be for >30 boards a day, maybe (and I really don’t know) having less boards is exactly the way to get 69 tables in a mixed pairs event. It is a huge jump in more ways than one - not just standard of play but also endurance, “highly competitive environment” not to mention time of day - to go from a club event to a tournament. I suspect that not everyone who might want to play in something a step up from club play is ready for “full-on” EBU (or County, for that matter) competitions. Moreover if partnering one’s spouse, some might well consider (a) 30 boards in a day to be more than enough (b) themselves in need of a bottle of wine and a pleasant meal afterwards over which to unwind.
  • Let’s not forget that the room hire charges and TD accommodation costs would remain the same, so there would be little reduction of entry fees despite only playing about half the amount of bridge.
  • We also went to Le Touquet this year as part of a summer holiday - and 30 boards a day is fine if you are doing that.
    The congress has a different vibe to an English one. There are no convention cards in evidence except the ones my partner had translated into French! Despite this, calls of "arbitre" were infrequent and I believe may have been dealt with by just one director across 80 tables. On occasions we would probably have called the directors in a competitive event in England when hesitations appeared to influence our opponents' bidding significantly, but we didn't do so as we rate getting on with the locals above being sticklers for fair play or winning at all costs. Maybe that is the French view of bridge too.
    As to the cost rising if the sessions are only 30 boards a day - the pictures that 464114 has posted above show a stage full of prizes (a prize for every entrant) and free wine at the end of the event and the entry fee for 90 boards over three days - just E75. I suspect that apart from sponsorship by local businesses there is considerable input from the local authority - when you enter Le Touquet you see posters advertising all the different sports that the town is hosting. these are clearly important to their marketing of the town as a holiday destination and keeping the hotels and hence shops full.
    But all is not rosy. We went there about 15 years ago and there were over 200 tables for the same event - so they have the same problems we do despite their different approach.

  • edited September 2019
    Jeremy69 : Why would 26-30 boards per day not be acceptable? What research is this evaluation based upon? The critical issue is surely “what else is available within easy reach at the destination to fill the balance of the day?” If you hold an event in Nuneaton or Birmingham Airport or Daventry, the answer is possibly “not much” - but maybe (or maybe not) there are other places which could offer more. It may be hopeless - but how about holding an event at one of the Centre Parks, for example?

    Le Touquet and other French venues are definitely under pressure from the competition of cruises, better value locations, more accessible and sunnier destinations etc..... (in an effort to mitigate this the organisers of Le Touquet are now targeting Belgian and Dutch players with some success) .... but that still doesn’t mean that there is nothing we can learn from them.

    Just for reference, I attach the brochure for the bridge congress being held in Paris at the end of October. I’d draw particular attention to the “Jack-high” event on 26 & 27 October (what they call 4ème and 3ème séries). (I’d also draw attention to the “production values” of this brochure - but please note that I’m not advocating this or decrying it, just noting that the “image” is very different from the publicity material for most UK events)
  • Primarily that nobody, ever, asks for less Bridge for their money in all the many feedback forms they fill in. They do however sometimes ask for more Bridge on those final days of a Congress that have fewer than about 42 boards.
  • edited September 2019
    So in other words, the people who are already going to Congresses don’t want fewer boards - but the opportunity would seem to be the people who are NOT going to Congresses but whom the EBU wants to attract. Nobody asks them - or maybe they do, but I haven’t seen any data.

    [I’d just add that one reason that I don’t play in the Spring Fours (not that the EBU or anyone else has asked my reasoning), is that I cannot face so many boards on a Friday evening (after a full day’s work plus travel) - matches can easily extend beyond midnight from memory. The cost of the bridge entry is not a significant factor in my reasoning. So perhaps the statement “nobody ever asks for less bridge for their money” can now be modified to “only one person has ever asked for less bridge for their money”] ;)
  • Sponsors might be hard to get.......
    but how about a Business School that would take this on as a case study for students and allow them to do research on members and come up with researched and validated proposals?

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

  • @Peter said:
    Sponsors might be hard to get.......
    but how about a Business School that would take this on as a case study for students and allow them to do research on members and come up with researched and validated proposals?

    What a great idea Peter.

  • @Peter said:
    Sponsors might be hard to get.......
    but how about a Business School that would take this on as a case study for students and allow them to do research on members and come up with researched and validated proposals?

    Do you have anywhere or anyone in mind?

  • edited September 2019

    @466114 said:
    So in other words, the people who are already going to Congresses don’t want fewer boards - but the opportunity would seem to be the people who are NOT going to Congresses but whom the EBU wants to attract. Nobody asks them - or maybe they do, but I haven’t seen any data.

    We've had many years of collecting feedback forms from many of our members, quite a few of whom will necessarily be in the group who no longer play in EBU events, or not as much as formerly. I can't remember ever seeing a request for shorter events from them.

    If we are talking about attracting those who haven't played in our events, well yes, our efforts have been towards providing them with shorter events - one-day events at the Summer Meeting, Jack-High Swiss Pairs, Really Easy afternoons and congresses. The takeup doesn't suggest that we have a large chunk of memberships keen to play shorter events.


    [I’d just add that one reason that I don’t play in the Spring Fours (not that the EBU or anyone else has asked my reasoning), is that I cannot face so many boards on a Friday evening (after a full day’s work plus travel) - matches can easily extend beyond midnight from memory. The cost of the bridge entry is not a significant factor in my reasoning. So perhaps the statement “nobody ever asks for less bridge for their money” can now be modified to “only one person has ever asked for less bridge for their money”] ;)

    The Spring Fours is a special case in that it's an event aimed at very strong players and the format requires a late night on the first night. I would suggest it is the lateness of the first night rather than the length of the match that some people find a bit much. I can't see that shortening that match to 24 boards would be welcomed, since it would increase the luck factor, and nor is starting earlier in the day practical for those who have to go to work.

  • Gordon... I had in mind the Open Business School... but maybe we have a few well minded Business School staff amongst our members who we could leverage?

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

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