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The Growth of Foil Across USFA Divisions 2008-2009 through 2014-2015

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Ivy League Fencing

Foil is in the spotlight again with four members of the U.S. Men’s Foil Team holding three of the top four positions in the world rankings. Alexander Massialas keeps the No. 1 world ranking after his fifth place in the 2016 Havana Men’s Foil Grand Prix. Gerek Meinhardt climbed to No. 3 while Race Imboden now sits in fourth place.

After Women’s Saber, the most successful squad at the Senior World Championships over the past ten years has been Men’s Foil.  It finished the decade with four podium medals (Miles Chamley-Watson, a gold medal, Alexander Massialas, one silver medal, and Gerek Meinhardt, two bronze medals) and eight Top 8 finishers. Since 2009, members of the squad have always placed in the Top 64.

So while U.S. foil is on the ascendency around the world, how has its growth performed across the Divisions of the USFA?

Our major findings for foil are:

  • The number of foil fencing events generated has grown from 32,572 in 2008-2009 to 40,364 in 2014-2015, representing a compound annual rate of 3.3% per year.
  • Foil fencing activity has grown by 17.7% per year on average in the ten fastest growing Divisions which include Orange County (23.2%), Central California (22.2%), Central Florida (21.8%), Oklahoma (19%) and Northern California (18.2%).
  • Foil fencing activity grew by 8.5% on average in the ten largest Divisions in terms of foil fencer events generated. The Divisions include New Jersey (6.1%), New England (15.8%), Central California (22.2%), Northern California (18.2%), and Metro NYC (8.5%).
  • Compound annual growth rates for the largest Divisions range from a high of 22.2% for Central California to a low of -5.3% for Western Washington.
  • Foil’s share of the entire fencing activity market has declined marginally from 41.5% in 2008-2009 to 40.1% in 2014-2015.
  • There is no correlation between the compound annual growth rates in foil across the 68 Divisions and the other weapons.

The accompanying table provides the annual number of foil fencer events generated for each of the 68 USFA Divisions since the 2008-2009 season.  Readers can filter or search the table. You may click on a column heading to sort the data based on that criteria.

Foil Fencer Events Generated (Excluding NACs) by USFA Division Members 2008-2009 through 2014-2015

USFA Division2008-20092009-20102010-20112011-20122012-20132013-20142014-2015Compound Annual Growth Rate %
Total325723620137388376364048440305403643.3%
Orange Coast330362459496476698105823.2%
Central California71785196097712341593216622.2%
Central Florida173637662585871942106721.8%
Oklahoma6110213311418715421419.0%
Northern California7779931020107714821720201218.2%
Alabama1571391049516528427316.6%
New England106413652077237825042607281515.7%
Border Texas1251023545198225614.2%
Maryland32549960654363180781914.1%
Philadelphia69688188292614291432138313.5%
Gold Coast Florida2254463724174104905189.3%
Nebraska-South Dakota1021041431691121342029.0%
Westchester-Rockland4197737091027104610947178.6%
Metro NYC11361241118315331584180017228.5%
Michigan35198190399292396110118.5%
Connecticut721945746833932121911107.7%
Indiana2413173483823734183566.1%
New Jersey27882959339138664707426534646.0%
Southern California956927135412521664118012785.3%
St Louis2953372051832852694204.1%
Mountain Valley1131561621841031571904.1%
Capitol2422932592293292783314.0%
San Diego4373654454884755124883.8%
Iowa1682463954723752942493.7%
Wisconsin2403013354054013053203.4%
Western New York2224524705414323993853.0%
National79585091476991978610742.9%
North Carolina6606857407747948156491.3%
Louisiana1341512782252161481740.9%
Minnesota4564343493783853735100.6%
Illinois10891049110711441191112310320.1%
Ark-La-Miss150191160183163111196-0.4%
Georgia885947824741766992831-0.5%
Northern Ohio372284331343301393291-0.5%
Long Island11009949158707759671085-0.8%
Oregon765770701720802847623-0.8%
San Bernardino139182204152163175143-0.9%
Utah-Southern Idaho988100110009089086931090-1.5%
North Texas485471546491459453436-2.0%
Southwest Ohio270272269370413240162-3.0%
South Texas665493544562584522466-3.2%
Tennessee270308219262273254207-3.3%
Kansas235260248155218178226-3.5%
Columbus Ohio558413387328457401385-3.9%
New Mexico56669386935636-4.0%
Central Pennsylvania831091231041095683-4.4%
Virginia1577127313211266117111591080-5.1%
Western Washington1483141615331317137910631106-5.2%
Northeast613847861794663598494-5.3%
Colorado837691701735681609529-5.6%
Western Pennsylvania376446426350320329294-5.6%
North Coast2512228131515-7.3%
Gateway Florida473657541448503401280-8.3%
Nevada981242131018610060-9.0%
Hawaii99139117113709360-9.0%
South Jersey299249192155206178158-9.3%
Gulf Coast867832871628549619489-9.4%
Northeast Pennsylvania85131112521118040-9.5%
Green Mountain455534421391337288287-9.7%
Arizona137302303271174120107-10.1%
Inland Empire361412352273216181271-10.3%
Hudson-Berkshire395508382345299314198-10.6%
Harrisburg16713978535910688-11.4%
Kentucky28911910415421611785-11.4%
South Carolina344361282176213219174-12.0%
Wyoming1099112001-14.0%
Alaska147128101154372013-34.4%
Plains Texas19916813667231912-

We recognize that askFRED.net data includes non-sanctioned USFA tournaments such as high school tournaments, private club tournaments, and a few tournaments associated with fencing camps. While the data is not perfect, it nevertheless allows for a comparison of medium to long term growth rates in fencer activity across Divisions and States. Provided the inconsistencies are consistent over time we are able to get a trend, and therefore an average growth rate. Despite the data limitations, we are able to make valid comparisons on the performance of States and Divisions. For strategic decision making, timely, consistent, and directionally correct information is more important than data that is one hundred percent accurate.

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