US Fencing is Exploring New Cities for NACs
This article has been read 917 times since publication (updated Thursday, January 10, 2019)
In a wide ranging chat in Kansas City with US Fencing’s new Senior National Events Manager, Dan Mott, Dan indicated that US Fencing is exploring a number of new cities as potential NAC locations, and that US Fencing will continue to look at more cities that are easier and cheaper to get to for everyone. These explorations are driven by the substantial negative feedback received from parents about inconvenient locations that cost extra time and money.
balance of interest between Parents and us fencing
According to Dan, US Fencing typically commits to cities for a 3 to 4 year period. As these commitments expire, US Fencing is able to bring on new cities for NACs. Because US Fencing does pay rental for their venues in host cities, they are price sensitive about where NACs are held.
There certainly needs to be a satisfactory balance between US Fencing’s budgetary considerations, and the cost to parents of flights to host cities. The substantial amounts of money parents pay to airlines and hotels because of poorly located host cities is money that goes to waste and is irrevocably lost to the fencing community.
US Fencing should tap into the skills available at their Board level to structure arrangements that are win-win for parents and US Fencing.
the issue of jet lag
In comments from an earlier article, October NAC Milwaukee Debrief for Parents - Security Lines and Flight Times, parents from the West Coast voiced concern with jet lag. When West Coast fencers go east for NACs, the time difference works to their disadvantage. When 6 out of 8 NACs this season are held in cities that subject West Coast fencers to time differences of 2 to 3 hours each time, that is materially unfair.
For example, when an event is scheduled for an 8 am start, fencers show up at the venue at 7 am to check-in and warm-up, which means waking up much earlier for breakfast and the walk or drive to the venue. For a fencer from the West Coast, the time difference means that he/she is waking up sometime between 3 am and 4 am Pacific time, checking in at the venue between 4 am and 5 am, and starting competition between 5 am and 6 am.
When East Coast fencers go west for a NAC, the time difference works as an advantage for them. For East Coast fencers, the time difference enables them to wake up at 7 am or 8 am Eastern Standard time, check-in at 8 am or 9 am and start competition at 9 am or 10 am. For fencers in the Mid-West, there is no time difference for them at all when 5 out of 8 NACs in the 2018/2019 season are located in the Mid-West.
fairness in selecting nac locations
Fairness should be a major consideration in the selection of host cities. Advantages should not accrue to one group at the expense of other groups.
An extreme example of an unfair choice of location is Charlotte for the January NAC in 2019. Not only are the airfares exhorbitant ($700+ per person), there is a 3 hour time difference for fencers from the West Coast.
Richmond and Virginia Beach were even worse choices in prior years.
It is a sad situation when West Coast parents feel compelled to consider sending their 15 year old fencers unaccompanied to NACs because the costs are too high for a parent-fencer duo to attend poorly located NACs. It is certainly doubtful that US Fencing is equipped to manage several hundred unaccompanied minors at NACs.
possibilities for nac locations
Currently, US Fencing is exploring Atlanta, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale and Phoenix as potential host cities. All 4 cities offer reasonable resolution on the issues of flight times and costs, and Phoenix offers resolution on the issue of jet lag as well.
Atlanta and Dallas are both major hub cities with plenty of non-stop flights from around the country. A quick check shows that Fort Lauderdale is within 30 miles of Miami. Between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, there are plenty of reasonably good flight options from major cities on the West and East Coasts as well as from cities like Chicago. Phoenix is easily accessible from around the country at very reasonable costs with plenty of non-stop flight options.
All 4 cities make sense as host cities for NACs during the winter months, especially.
Other possibilities discussed in our chat include Minneapolis and Detroit. Both cities have a reasonable schedule of flights at reasonable costs from both coasts, though these cities still skew east.
Anaheim with its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport, a major hub, as well as proximity to several smaller airports in Southern California make it a great option as a NAC venue. There is a plentiful supply of hotels nearby at reasonable costs as well. Anaheim will be host city to US Fencing’s first SJCC in March 2019
Salt Lake City, another hub city is a good option with plenty of non-stop flights from around the country at reasonable cost. Denver, also major hub city that offers great flight options at reasonable costs is to be tested as a host city for national competitions in February when it hosts the Junior Olympics.
Kansas City and St Louis can stay as possibilities on the host city rotation as flight options and prices are reasonable from around the country.
The 3 cities in Ohio, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus are tough to get to from the West Coast, we get both long flights and high fares. And yet, we have 3 NACs located in Ohio this year. They should be dropped from the rotation, and replaced with cities that are easier to access.
Apparently, Baltimore and Memphis will no longer be on the rotation as host cities for a variety of different reasons even though flight options to them were reasonable.
good non-stop flight options, reasonable airfares and minimal jet lag
From a parent’s perspective, host cities that offer good non-stop flight options at reasonable fares are the right way to go. Not only do we save money, we claw back time wasted on transits and unnecessary days out of school and work.
Time differences favor some and disadvantage others. US Fencing must find a reasonable balance for all.
Perhaps, with Dan Mott’s appointment, we can look forward to much better management of NAC locations.
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