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Metro NYC Drops to 5th Place in Local & Regional Fencing Activity 2016-2017

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Metro NYC – The Capital of U.S. Fencing

Long considered the Capital of U.S. Fencing, New York City (Metro NYC) is home to five fencing clubs that trained 12 of the 17 fencers that made up the 2016 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team. It is also home to six 2016-2017 “Fencing Club of the Year” recipients, up from four the previous year; Manhattan Fencing Center (Youth Women’s Saber, Cadet Women’s Saber, Junior Men’s Saber, Senior Men’s Saber, International Junior Men’s Saber, International Senior Men’s Saber and International Senior Women’s Saber), New York Athletic Club (Senior Men’s Epee, Senior Women’s Epee, International Cadet Women’s Epee and International Senior Women’s Epee), Fencers Club (Cadet Women’s Foil, Junior Women’s Foil and Senior Women’s Foil), Peter Westbrook Foundation (International Junior Women’s Foil and International Senior Men’s Epee), Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club (Senior Men’s Foil) and New York Fencing Academy (Youth Men’s Epee).

In addition, three of the City’s clubs were awarded the “Best Fencing Clubs” designation for 2016-2017; Brooklyn Fencing Center (Foil), Sheridan Fencing Academy (Saber) and Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (Saber). The city also boasts having seven colleges with NCAA-sanctioned fencing teams.

The Metro NYC Division of the United States Fencing Association (USFA) is one of the largest Divisions¹ in the nation. In 2016-2017 the Division was ranked 5th (down from 3rd the previous year) out of 68 in terms of the number of local and regional fencer-events generated by the Division’s members. It ranked below New Jersey, New England, Central California and Illinois but above Southern California, Virginia, Northern California, Gulf Coast, and Georgia to make the Top 10 list of the most active fencing Divisions in the nation. Members come from all five boroughs of the City; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

The number of local and regional fencer-events generated by members of the Division has grown at the compound annual rate of 4.1% per year since 2008-2009, compared to the national average of 4.4% per year over the same period. A range of rankings for Metro NYC fencing clubs can be found in a downloadable free spreadsheet, titled, “A Compendium of Metro NYC Club Rankings in 2016-2017”. Click here for your FREE spreadsheet.

The significant growth in fencer-events has been underwritten by the sustained growth in epee which has grown at the compound annual growth of 8.3% per year since 2011-2012, while saber has enjoyed steady growth at 5% per year over the same period. Foil has languished with a lackluster performance of 3.3% per year on average.  The historical growth in fencer-events is illustrated in the accompanying graph.

Club Activity

The number of local and regional fencer-events generated by a club is related to the number and profile of competitive members in the club, the approach of the club’s coaches regarding competitive tournaments and the quality and distance of nearby fencing competitions. Local tournaments include events that are organized by clubs, consortia of clubs and USFA Divisions. They do not include ROCs, RJCCs, SYCs, RYCs and Divisional Qualifiers which are all classified as regional tournaments. National tournaments include NACs, Championships, and the July Challenge.

The composition of local and regional fencer-events generated by the largest clubs in 2016-2017 is illustrated in the accompanying graph. The Manhattan Fencing Center, Fencers Club, New York Fencing Academy and Tim Morehouse Fencing Club accounted for about 79% of the fencer-events generated in 2016-2017. Fencers from Manhattan Fencing Center generated the largest number of fencer-events in 2016-2017 at 1,182, about 66% saber and 34% foil. The Fencers Club followed with 934, 60% foil, 34% epee, and 6% saber. The New York Fencing Academy is a single weapon club specializing in epee as illustrated in the graph.

The growth in foil fencer-events generated by the largest clubs with foil programs in New York City over the past five years is illustrated in the following graph. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Fencers Club generates the largest number of local and regional foil fencer-events, but the number has fallen from a peak of 788 in 2012-2013 to 565 in 2016-2017.  The second largest club, Manhattan Fencing Center, has also recorded a decline in the number of foil fencer-events, falling from a peak of 597 in 2013-2014 to 407 in 2016-2017 as illustrated in the graph.

The following graph clearly demonstrates the seismic shift that has taken place in saber over the past two years with the launch of the Tim Morehouse Fencing Club. The club has catapulted into second place behind Manhattan Fencing Club, the dominant saber club in New York City. The two clubs accounted for 82% of all the local and regional saber fencer-events generated in the Division.

The New York Fencing Academy and the Fencers Club are the dominant clubs generating local and regional epee fencer-events as illustrated in the graph below. Between them, they account for 88% of the epee fencer-events generated in Metro NYC. Located in Brooklyn, the New York Fencing Academy opened in 2010 and has seen its epee fencer-events grow from 154 in 2010-2011 to a peak of 897 in 2015-2016, dropping to 734 in 2016-2017.

A range of rankings for Metro NYC fencing clubs can be found in a downloadable free spreadsheet, titled, “A Compendium of Metro NYC Club Rankings in 2016-2017”. Click here for your FREE spreadsheet.


¹ Source: askFred.net

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 States, Divisions, and Clubs. 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, Divisions, and clubs. 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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