It has been recently brought to the attention of the Manitoba Badminton Association (MBA) that some individuals have some questions and potential concerns about the tournament budgets of MBA sanctioned tournaments. Some other questions/concerns were raised in regards to the annual MBA budget as well. Our goal with this open letter is to provide an opportunity to present the facts in regards to these issues, encourage members to continue to be inquisitive and interested in a direct communication to the MBA staff and/or board, and finally to provide a means by which we will be moving forward to address some of these questions/concerns.
First of all we must take the time to acknowledge that while most of this conversation occurred on Facebook, it wasn’t until one particular member wrote an email to the MBA office staff that we became aware of any of the issues. We would like to encourage members to take this course of action in the future so that we gather the feedback we need to improve our services/product. Posting on social media is not a direct link to MBA and therefore we respond appropriately if we are not aware of such issues.
Most tournaments are run with a budget that is solely controlled by the host, including all Premier Series Tournaments (Provincials, Herb Richard, Junior Provincials, and Pal Chawla), B&C Championships, Seniors & Masters, Westman Open, City Junior Open, any any Club-Controlled Affiliated Tournament (WWC Round Robin, etc.). This means that for these tournaments MBA accepts all the registrations, then gives all the registration fees to the host except for whatever expenses we occur for online transaction fees, GST (new in 2018-19), and officials. We also donate the shuttles required for the tournament and typically some prizes or giveaways as well. We also pay for the travel and accommodations for the officials attending the tournaments so that the host only needs to budget for their time on court; using Westman as an example, which is not the most expensive for us means that we pay about $500 to send 1 or 2 officials, and the host pays about $300-600 in officials fees which ultimately is only an $11/hr honorarium for the officials which is less than minimum wage (hence it's an honorarium). Essentially it's a net zero for MBA because the prizes/shuttles we receive through sponsorship with Yonex Canada. For Norman Open we are spending much more on travel/accommodations. Attached is a rudimentary budget for this type of tournament.
There are only 3 tournaments which we as MBA purchase the prizes and everything as if we were a host, and we're trying to change that by training up hosts to run the show themselves; and these tournaments are Southman, Eastman, and Norman Open. We offer these tournaments at a lower rate than any other sanctioned tournaments in the province, and the price has actually gone down over the years, most notably if you enter in 1 event it's only $35. We have a lot of expenses associated with these tournaments that I imagine are unnoticeable to the naked eye, and they are constantly a work in progress of trying to acquire, train, and retain volunteers who are willing to work these tournaments. Our goal is for these tournaments to turn into Club-Hosted Tournaments rather than MBA-Hosted Tournaments. Attached is an example budget for these tournaments.
Tournament Budget Priorities/Prizes
Some have raised issues over feeling that prizes are not adequate for what they are paying, or that prizes are decreasing in quality over the years. Some of this is personal opinion and some of this is true, but with reason. Let us explain below.
The tournament prize situation is a difficult one to figure out, but as with all the tournament priorities can be re-aligned to what the members generally value. A little bit of history and knowledge of current practices always helps to put things into context.
From the years between 2010 and 2014 it was apparent that prizes, regardless of how much was spent or what they were, never quite fit the satisfaction of the members involved, and so we put out a survey to the membership that came back with the results that people valued the following items in terms of priority for tournaments: 1) Meaningful Competition (close matches), 2) Relationships/Friends/Community, 3) Low Entry Fee, 4) Prizes/Souvenirs.
With this information we decided to communicate this to our tournament hosts as well as use this information for the few tournaments that we had some control over; focusing on keeping registration fees low by minimizing prizes which were the lowest ranked priority of tournaments and letting the athletes focus the tournaments on what matters most to them, the competition. Some have mentioned that prices have stayed the same over the years; which is a success in our eyes because the cost of facilities, prizes, shuttles, officials, and GST has steadily gone up over the last 7 years, and we have provided new services such as Live Score, professional photography, and advertising banners that increase the professionalism and public appeal of our events.
Over the years we had some complaints that juniors received medals but adults didn't, so we decided to try 1 year to give medals to the adults to see what the reception would be, and up until now the only feedback we've received is positive, which obviously is a skewed result as apparently many people are very displease with that change. We are not averse to changing this back, and that will likely be a necessary change for 2019-20.
We recently went to a bid process for hosting tournaments, with the agreement that the hosts need to follow through on some base level requirements; for example this is how Brandon Badminton Club was awarded the 2019 Championships because their bid was the strongest by a long shot. The hosting requirements still leave a bit of freedom in the way hosts can approach the tournaments, but that will be under review now certainly in regards to potentially providing more consistency between tournaments. That being said, we do want hosts to be able to provide a number of different levels of tournaments with different price points to entice different players along the way; so that’s something we’ll consider in the review process for 2019-20.
In terms of the competitiveness of hosting tournaments, we are often left with only 1 club who has bid on an event, and sometimes none. There is a lack of clubs willing and/or able to host tournaments and therefore the lack of competitiveness can reduce the urgency in hosting a really great event. With an increased potential of hosts we could hold them more accountable, and/or the members would simply choose to play the tournaments which they would like to support.
MBA Annual Budget
As this seemed to be sort of an outlier topic, we would like to simply encourage members who have a concern with our annual budget and financial decision to attend our Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is held in September annually. We offer an in depth look at our finances and programming at this meeting and can offer an answer to any questions or concerns in this setting.
We are confident that our financial practices are working for the betterment of the sport and it’s members, and that any questions can be resolved with a quick explanation. Sometimes audited financials can be difficult to interpret accurately without an understanding of the history and/or operations behind it.
If you would not like to wait for an AGM then please take the time to contact MBA Executive Director Ryan Giesbrecht at firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the board members listed on the MBA Website.
MBA would like to take this opportunity to say that we have heard the members concerns and we’ll be addressing them in the off-season.
We will start by putting out a survey that we are URGING members to participate in. If you do not take the opportunity to make your voice heard in this way then your voice simply won’t hold the weight that it should. We will be looking once again at player priorities at the forefront of hosting tournaments
We will take the survey results to the board as well as our typical tournaments hosts to discuss and make a plan for the future.
If you have anything to add to our review process, please don’t hesitate to contact the MBA staff or Board of Directors.