Who Goes to NACs and Pays the Fees 2017 - 2019?

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Between October 2017 and April 2019, across 14 NACs (excluding Summer Nationals in St Louis), close to 80% of all NAC registrations were from fencers under the age of 18.

Competitive fencers under 18 also pay more than 40% of all membership related fees.

See: Why Should Parents Care About Who is on the US Fencing Board of Directors

Very obviously, parents are US Fencing’s single largest source of financial support, and the least influential in US Fencing’s decision-making despite our survey responses over many, many years.

Based on US Fencing’s 2018/2019 Approved Budget, we estimate that parent spending on US Fencing membership and tournaments will exceed $5 million this fencing year, representing about 60% of US Fencing’s total cash revenues.

See: NACs Will Generate an Estimated $1.9 Million in Surplus This Year, So Why Did US Fencing Raise Event Fees?

Breakdown of NAC Registrations

Based on publicly available data from National Results on the US Fencing website, Fencing Parents counted the number of registrations by event starting in October 2017 and ending in April 2019. The numbers include registrations from 14 NACs. We estimate that the National Results data under count the total number of registrations by about 5%, which we observe is the average “no-show” rate for NAC events.

NAC Registrations for 14 NACs starting October 2017 and ending April 2019

NAC Registrations for 14 NACs starting October 2017 and ending April 2019

The total number of registrations between the 2017/2018 fencing year and the 2018/2019 fencing year increased by less than 1% overall.

However, there were actually some very significant changes within events, with some events losing more than 20% in registrations. It is interesting that the events that had the highest number of recreational fencers lost the largest number of registrations.

There was a substantial dampening effect on participation in Division 2 (22% decrease), Division 3 (19% decrease) , Veterans (8.4% decrease) and Youth (5% decrease) due possibly to fee increases and extraordinarily inconvenient NAC locations.

These decreases were offset by increases in Division 1, Junior and Cadet categories resulting in a slightly less than 1% increase in total registrations.

NAC Registrations October 2017 to April 2019 by percentage

NAC Registrations October 2017 to April 2019 by percentage

The clearly parent supported groups of Junior, Cadet and Youth categories increased by slightly more than 1% between 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 totaling 58% of all NAC registrations.

While technically Senior events, Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 events have a very large component of fencers under 18 competing in them.

With many of the adult recreational fencers stripped away from Division 2 and Division 3 this season, we estimate that almost 90% of Division 2 and Division 3 events comprise fencers under 18 seeking a rating classification upgrade, and Summer Nationals qualifications in the relevant event.

Division 1 events have a large component of high school fencers seeking national points. We estimate that they comprise more than 50% of the Division 1 fields at NACs.

When we combine the 58% from the Junior, Cadet and Youth groups with the estimated 9% (90% of total) for Division 2 and Division 3 registrations from fencers under 18, and the approximately 10% (50% of total) for Division 1 registrations from fencers under 18, we are looking at almost 80% of registrations coming from fencers under 18 for NACs.

Non-Veteran adult fencers account for approximately 11% of all NAC registrations, and Veteran and Wheelchair fencers for the remaining 9% of registrations.

The revenues earned by US Fencing from each of these groups is distributed by the same percentages.

NOTE: You can download the spreadsheet HERE. It includes a breakdown of registrations by event at individual NACs.

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