EAST COAST BAYS BRIDGE CLUB
SUBMISSION TO NZ BRIDGE ONLINE BRIDGE STRATEGY CONSULTATION
John Cameron, President, 24/07/22.
This submission has been collated from individual responses to the NZ Bridge consultation form as circulated by the Club, and a further consultation meeting at the Club on Sunday, 17 July, chaired by Colin Bray.
There were 17 individual responses, and 14 attendees at the Sunday meeting.
Where possible, complete responses have been forwarded directly.
Implications of Online Bridge
1. What are the major implications of online bridge from your perspective and how should they be addressed by New Zealand Bridge?
The major implications of online bridge relate to many of the items in the questionnaire, but the underlying theme that is continually evident is that it must be introduced and supported with no detrimental effect on the Clubs, in terms of membership and financial wellbeing.
Most submissions acknowledge the benefits of online bridge, but there is general consensus that it should not be to the detriment of in-person bridge.
Many submissions recognise the social network and interaction of a community facility that the Bridge Club provides. This is the main reason, whilst enjoying bridge, many just enjoy the company, something not replicated as fully in online bridge
Online Bridge Sessions
2. In the future would you like there to be a regular schedule of online bridge sessions? (e.g. daytime and evening sessions similar to club play)
a. What are your reasons for saying this?
b. If this is something you would like to see, should they be run by New Zealand Bridge or by individual clubs, or both? What are your reasons for this view?
Our Club currently runs online bridge sessions on Wednesday and Sunday evenings.
The Wednesday evening is well-patronised with 10 tables, Sunday less so, varying between 4-6.
Our Club would respond to members' needs to extend sessions as required.
3. What would be your ideal future? e.g. in-person, online, mix of in-person and online - for the following types of tournaments:
a. B-Point Club tournaments?
b. A-Point Club tournaments?
c. Regional events and Mini Congresses?
d. National events?
Consensus is that the Tournaments currently run by the Club should continue, and if required to be online, then that can be at the discretion of the committee.
It is acknowledged that online Tournaments will not incur the out-of-town participant costs of travel and accommodation, but they will reduce that social interaction that our submissions emphasise as key to bridge through in-person bridge.
4. If online tournaments are part of your ideal future, who should organise them (e.g. NZ Bridge, regions, clubs)? What are your reasons for this view?
Answered above re Club Tournaments.
5. How important is it for in-person and online tournaments to be scheduled at separate times?
a. What makes you say this?
b. If they are held at the same time, should there be geographical restrictions on who is allowed to enter the online tournament?
The online tournaments should be held at separate times to the in-person tournaments. This reflects our main assertion that online should be an adjunct to in-person bridge.
6. What would be your ideal future for the Interprovincial Championships? At what time of year and how (e.g. in-person or online) should it be held?
7. What, if anything, should be done to support people learning bridge online?
a. If you think online lessons should be offered, who should organise them? NZ Bridge, clubs or both? What makes you say this?
b. If you believe NZ Bridge should offer some centrally organised online lessons
i. How should clubs be involved to ensure learners can transition to club play?
ii. How often should online lessons be run?
Currently, and probably over the last two years, our lessons (run by Club) have been a mixture of in-person and online.
What we are finding is that the uptake and subsequent attendance at in-person sessions is reduced. So whilst it may be that lessons can be done online, the individual Clubs have to do a lot of work to convert them to in-person member.
And that is the issue for the Club.
8. We invite ideas and thoughts about how the following aspects of online bridge should be resourced (e.g. by NZ Bridge, by clubs or both) in the future:
a. Online directing
b. Technical support for playing online
c. Organisation of any Online National Events
We are fortunate in the quality and range of our directors. We have sufficient numbers to manage the current offerings of both in-person and online bridge. We would expect this situation to continue with new directors undergoing National qualification. Technical support for online is a tricky one, given that many do not have the facility to partake in online bridge. It is a two-edged sword in that the more you do to support online bridge in this area, the more likely you are to turn people from in-person bridge at the Club. If that is what people need to play the game, then Clubs should provide the technical back-up/support to facilitate this, with National support as required.
9. What, if anything, should happen in terms of sharing some or all of the revenue from the following types of online bridge:
a. Club sessions run by clubs but open to all bridge players
b. Centrally organised online sessions run by NZ Bridge
c. Club tournaments
d. Regional events and mini congresses
e. National Events
f. Online lessons organised by NZ Bridge
Responses were consistent.
Any activity run by the Club should generate Club revenue.
That does not preclude NZ Bridge supporting Clubs with financial packages as required - as was done during Covid.
Our Treasurer is concerned about ensuring the financial viability of our Club. Our membership is critical - the more we lose, the more we need to recruit.
We have already seen the impact of online learning and in-person uptake
10. Are there any other comments or thoughts about in-person or online bridge that you would like to share as part of this consultation?
We have enjoyed the benefits of online bridge during the pandemic shutdown, but that benefit compromises our in-person offering - the more you support online, the more you detract from in-person, which from the bulk of our submissions, has been the major concern. i.e. the lack of that real social interaction, the fabric of our Community!!
As long as the goals of NZ Bridge align with the Clubs, then we can move ahead.