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Finding the Perfect Host City: Seven of the Factors That go Into USA Fencing National Tournaments Site Selection

06/18/2024, 3:30pm CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Finding available venues is a constant balancing act that involves multiple factors. Here’s a peek into that process.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Throughout the year, USA Fencing's Events staff meets with cities from coast to coast, all vying to bring fencing — and our community of fencers — to their downtown convention centers. 

Finding available venues is a constant balancing act that involves multiple factors. It's challenging enough to find one suitable venue on the ideal weekend, and then you multiply that by seven to account for the number of North American Cups (NACs), plus Junior Olympics and the 10-day Summer Nationals. That number grows to nine when you add in two Super Junior & Cadet Circuit tournaments!

Here are just a few of the essential considerations that USA Fencing must weigh when selecting a host city for our national tournaments. Please note that these aren’t necessarily in order. And if you’re curious to dive more deeply into the process, be sure to read the National Events Bid Packet (linked here), which is essentially an RFP that we sent to prospective hosts.

Adequate Venue Space

The ideal convention center offers at least 250,000 square feet of continuous space. This vast area is needed to accommodate the more than 60 fencing strips and the thousands of athletes, coaches, officials and spectators who attend our events. By our calculations, there are fewer than 40 convention centers in the United States that are large enough to host a tournament. 

Hotel Availability and Affordability

Nearby hotels must be plentiful and offer a range of price points suitable for our athletes, families and officials. It’s vital that these accommodations provide both comfort and convenience to support the best possible experience for participants.

Inclusivity and Legislation

USA Fencing prioritizes locations in states that uphold the rights and dignity of all individuals, including women and LGBTQIA+ members. Our commitment extends to selecting cities that actively support inclusivity, relying on resources like the “Equality Maps” from the Movement Advancement Project to guide our choices.

Accessibility of Dates

The competition calendar is tight, influenced by other important fencing dates including the FIE (International Fencing Federation) and World AbilitySport (formerly IWAS) schedules. The availability of the convention center on specific weekends crucial to our national tournaments is a decisive factor. As we continue to lock in locations further and further in advance, more spots will open up to us.

Cost-Effectiveness

Budget considerations are always front and center. The chosen venue must offer reasonable rental rates and preferably provide discounts or financial incentives, which help in mitigating the overall cost of hosting the event. USA Fencing’s budget relies on these calculations. 

In some locations, there are also considerations to be given to what local labor unions may operate in the venue, as this typically means elevated costs for things like tournament setup and teardown. When this is factored in, the number of 40 venues actually drops even lower once we factor in which locations are manageable within our budget.

Community Engagement and Local Support

Cities that demonstrate a strong commitment to fencing through local media, community outreach programs, and support from local businesses and the hospitality sector score higher on our list. This support not only enriches the event but also fosters a welcoming atmosphere for attendees.

Infrastructure and Logistics

Essential services such as reliable internet, adequate parking, and easy access to transportation are part of the calculator, too. These logistical aspects ensure smooth operation before, during and after the tournament.

Final Thoughts

As each year’s national events calendar comes together, please trust us when we say that it was a complex puzzle filled with compromises and practical reasons behind each site selection.

We continue to work towards a future where every major U.S. city can meet these criteria, supporting the growth and enjoyment of fencing from coast to coast.

Tag(s): Updates