How much does this cost?

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by RECON, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. RECON

    RECON Rookie

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    The sport is still really small in comparison to other small sports. I feel like a big reason for this is because it costs a lot of money for equipment and lessons and stuff, so it is a real turn-off to most people.

    Even in the NCAA it is evident with the news that Brown is cutting their program. They do not have the strongest athletic program, and to save money, they are getting rid of the team. Fencing teams spend money for schools while football and basketball teams make money money. (Brown is a terrible team anyway, but I just used them as an example; I'm sure there are more teams that actually had a good fencer once or did decently in the NCAA and then lost their program.)

    A big attraction to fencing, at least in the United States, for kids, is that fencing looks good for colleges and you have a good chance of getting recruited or a scholarship or accepted or something. With seemingly fewer NCAA fencing teams, the previously mentioned attraction is not as strong.

    Since it is so small, to compete at a relatively high level for most people usually costs flights, hotels, and usually both. That adds up, and many people are not willing to pay for it.

    Since money is a very big issue in the fencing community, it also creates a social hierarchy. You get a few snobby kids in NYC clubs and stuff and it makes the whole fencing community look like that, which is not true.

    You can cure cancer with the money that some of these snobby kids take for granted for their petty fencing expenses.

    This could be a good business opportunity for a company like Nike or something to make really low-priced fencing equipment. It would make overall expenses a fraction of the price, and make fencing, as a sport, much more appealing.

    Perhaps Underarmor can take initiative; they're starting to get their fingers in the fencing community. A great way for Underarmor to make the sport better is to perhaps create a fencing shoe based on the Vibram Five Finger shoes. It is light weight, durable, and uses up less fabric/materials and will cost less for manufacturing, and also less the consumer (fencers). Underarmor can also create fencing jackets made out of that really tight fitting material they make. They can even put some padding under it, similar to those lightweight basketball pads that NBA players use. They can even make it in different colors - maybe keep it white, but at least put a little design on the side or something.



    Discuss.
     
  2. catwood1

    catwood1 is a Verified Fencing Expertcatwood1 Podium

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    You're dumb. Ever looked into how much a 15 year old basketball player that wants to be top 30 in his age group is paying a year in bball related expenses? How bout baseball? No? Go do that...
     
  3. RECON

    RECON Rookie

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    How much do they spend? And how much does a fencer spend?

    And by "top 30", do you mean like NBA?
     
  4. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

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    Golf is no less expensive if you buy a full set of clubs, pay for lessons/tee times, and replacement of all the balls you knock into the water hazards.

    The real issue isn't so much the cost as fencing is not an American sport -- i.e. "run real fast," "throw real far," "put the rock in the hole."

    With three weapons, target areas, sets of rules, etc....it's hard to follow for the average viewer.
     
  5. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    Football is expensive (although heavily subsidized stateside). Tennis is incredibly expensive (although has the chance for very lucrative professional play and sponsorships). Skiing, Snowboarding, etc are all very expensive as well. Hockey is absolutely outrageous. Compared to all of these sports fencing is cheap. Really, most sports not subsidized by school programs aren't cost effective for individual athletes and can easily ost more than fencing (even soccer if you have to rent field time, hire a competent coach, etc). Team sports can end up being cheaper as you can divide costs, however high level coaches for those sports know this and charge much more.

    Fencing being expensive is a myth. It isn't cheap, and cost can be prohibitive for some people, but the same can be said of other self-funded sports as well.
     
  6. catwood1

    catwood1 is a Verified Fencing Expertcatwood1 Podium

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    Top 30 in his age group. If you want to be one of the best bball players under the age of 17 (when you're trying to get into a good college program) you spend alot. Same for many sports.

    Being an elite athlete is expensive. Being an elite athlete in a non-premier sport, or before you reach the pro's is REALLY expensive.

    And to Purple, it being complicated isn't the problem. Do you realize how many people follow the way the BCS bowl system works? WAYYY more complicated than fencing rules. Id say even standard NFL football rules are significantly more complicated than a full understanding of how foil / epee / sabre rules work. What about the simplist sport there is? Soccer is REALLY simple to follow. Not that big in the USA.

    Its not our sport, never has been. We're fighting an uphill battle trying to get fencing into the light. People will learn to understand (and argue about) complicated rules, but they have to care first...
     
  7. Alexander Kai

    Alexander Kai Rookie

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    We need to make them care first, what if we could get some celebrities to fence each other? Or some important government people.
     
  8. vivoescrimare

    vivoescrimare DE Bracket

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    [​IMG]

    Do what now?
     
  9. Degenmeister

    Degenmeister Rookie

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    He said "important" government people.
     
  10. piste off

    piste off Podium

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    A very, very good point.

    The main expense in fencing is not the equipment, but club and lesson fees as well as travel (if you are serious).

    It was not always that way. The growth over the last 10-15 years targeted the younger set, with the draw as you outlined that the sport is an advantage for college. I firmly believe that drove the cost structure up (fencing was nowhere near as expensive as it is today, on a relative basis).

    If the college angle goes away, I wonder what will happen to the demand and the cost dynamics?

    R-
     
  11. piste off

    piste off Podium

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    Yeah, if one of those Westbrook kids flaunts their trust funds in my face one more time I am going to...

    Wait, what?

    R-
     
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  12. RECON

    RECON Rookie

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    Think of it in terms of percentages. Let's say the top 1% of basketball players and fencers are the "elite" like you say. Maybe even 2%. For fencers, that's like 2 to 4 people in those age groups, but for basketball it can well over 100,000 people. It's more likely that those top 2 or 4 fencers spend a LOT of money. Lessons EVERY day, footwork classes and stuff at their clubs, membership fees, top-of-the-line equipment - even at a mediocre club it can be a second mortgage payment for many parents.

    If you're one of the top 30 in US high schools in basketball or football, you also have a very good chance at going to the NBA or NFL, or at least get a full scholarship to college. Fencing can't offer that for the most part, seeing the emaciating number of NCAA fencing teams.
     
  13. RECON

    RECON Rookie

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    I was actually considering the Peter Westbrook Foundation in my original post. They are an example of how if we give lower-income people a chance, they can do great things - there is an amazing amount of talent in lower income areas. A lot of the people on the US National Team are from the Peter Westbrook Foundation, and it shows that if we can do the same concept as PWF but to the whole sport, great things can happen not only for many other people, but for the sport itself.

    Fun fact: Peter Westbrook Foundation gets $300,000 a year donated by Oprah Winfrey.
     
  14. AndrewH

    AndrewH Podium

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    You don't have to spend a fortune. I started fencing in high school, borrowed team equipment then bought a starter set of my own stuff. I started going to an outside club in NJ my final 2 years, paid yearly dues plus 1 private/1 group lesson a week. Went to a D1 school (Rutgers), walked on the team w/o scholarship, made the cut and got free equipment & coaching for the next 3 years (at which point the team was cut).

    Sophomore year I started going to the NYAC and continued going there until I retired. Grand total for 4 lessons and practices a week $0, until I became a member, at which point it almost paid for itself with some travel expense reimbursement. I won some gift certificates in tournaments that paid for a lot of my equipment post-college. So really my biggest expense was getting to & from the city every day (I say every day because I also went to practices at FC & Manhattan).

    Before you claim that I'm an exception because I wasn't paying club dues- PWF/FC works similarly, with a pay-what-you-can model. The top fencers at Manhattan don't pay full price either. Speaking of top fencers, they're also eligible for a USOC stipend. It's not much, but it helps.
     
  15. EldRick

    EldRick Podium

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    Fencing is dirt-cheap compared to many other popular sports, like golf, tennis, horse-sports, autosport, the shooting sports, etc.
     
  16. Jaldebron

    Jaldebron Rookie

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    Autosports? 1) those aren't sports. 2) you're maintaining an automobile, of course it's costly. Equestrianism involves the horses doing the work, so those people aren't athletes either, but the horses are. Golf isn't a sport either, that's what the commentators on FOX said during Tigergate. Tennis is expensive.

    Fencing startup costs are very expensive. If a company like Nike got in on the game, this could only be a good thing.

    Most fencers are a bunch of elitist snobs (just look at angrydad's posts), we have an image problem with all these snotnosed jerks running around poking people.

    Recon points out that you could cure cancer with the money these elitist jerks spend on making it to national events and getting lessons and things. These people don't need lessons or costly airfares when they could spend their money on fighting cancer. Man, these new york/LA fencers sure seem greedy. And you just know that these rich-kid-elite-athletes are using their money to maintain NCAA fencing programs so they have an easy way into the Ivy League.

    Recon is absolutely "right."
     
  17. piste off

    piste off Podium

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    Fencing is nowhere near dirt cheap, at least if you want to be at the highest competitive levels. Sure, you can compare anything to collecting Fabergé eggs and claim that it is inexpensive but that ignores the difference between absolute and relative levels.

    Bear in mind that the average median household is around $50K. I know quite a few fencers that spend at least a third of that on club fees and lessons alone. Of course, these are people who are trying to be the best; but let's keep this in perspective.

    Of course there are exceptions. I followed a track like AndrewH and was able to get pretty high - but ran into the realities that some pretty heavy financial commitments were necessary (even not including career opportunity costs). Comparing that reality to some other FILLINTHEBLANK expensive pursuit did not help the situation any.

    R-
     
  18. Alexander Kai

    Alexander Kai Rookie

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    Though for the record I have discovered that going on Ebay and scouting out physical chess clearance sales is a GREAT way to bring some of the costs down.
     
  19. TooLoftheDeviL

    TooLoftheDeviL gother than thou

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  20. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Podium

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    Just for comparison sake, here are what my approximate expenses have been for fencing compared to my other competitive sport, ultimate frisbee, which is about as cheap as you can get since there are no referees to pay and equipment consists of a pair of cleats and a frisbee.

    Starting Fencing:
    $50/month club dues = $600/year
    I used club equipment for the first year, then slowly bought my own.

    Starting Ultimate:
    $60/year membership
    $60/year league fees
    $50/year for cleats
    $10 for frisbee
    Total: $190

    So a difference of about $400 the first year, which is relatively minor over the course of a year. Many fencing clubs are cheaper than what I was paying and many are more expensive.

    Competitive fencing season (without NACs because I was poor):
    $60 USFA membership
    10 100 mile driving day trips for tournaments @ $.35/mile (at the time) = $700
    5 100 mile driving day trips for lessons @ $20 per lesson = $450
    2 360 mile driving trips for tournaments plus one night hotel = $275
    Tournament entrance fees = about $240
    Blades and tip parts = about $250
    Total = just under $2000/year

    Competitive Ultimate Season:
    UPA member ship = $60
    Practice field fees = about $100
    Cleats = about $120 (two pairs per season)
    4 tournaments about 400 miles away @$.35/mile plus two nights hotel = $1280
    3 tournaments about 100 miles away plus two nights hotel = $330
    Tournament fees = about $140
    Total = just under $2000

    So in conclusion, fencing does not need to be much more expensive than the cheapest sports out there. I have spent significantly more the first year of ownership for each of my dogs, so I don't think that cost is the limiting factor for the sport.
     

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