BSUK indoor tournament


Jenny Fromer

After a five year hiatus, BSUK got back in the business of hosting an indoor softball tournament over the weekend of 26-27 March in London. For those with long memories, and possibly still sporting the carpet burns, we last did this on back-to-back years at the Westway Centre under the A40 flyover. Lack of a viable venue has been the issue up until now, but London Indoor's new home at Canary Wharf proved ideal for the comeback.

I'd like to say a few words about Play on Sports in Canary Wharf. The relocation to the docklands happened just over 15 months ago when we were unceremoniously asked to leave the Brixton Leisure Centre on a few days notice because of damage to the venue. From day one, the staff at Play on welcomed our business, and actually took steps to keep it. Over the last summer they built an extension to the venue specifically to add on courts that better matched our requirements and dropped in marked bases on those surfaces.

When we first planned the tournament we booked out the whole centre which would have given us up to 8 available courts. There was initial talk by the BSF of incorporating an Indoor All-Star tournament which we had hoped would push the numbers up to 20+ teams. In the end, only 12 teams took part, and many of those were made up of the faces who had been part of the regular Saturday leagues, but it was exciting to see three brand new teams from Windsor, Go Mammoth and the OddSox.

As the most repeated piece of feedback was that there were too many games -- 16 (or 17 for those that reached a final), I'll hold my hands up to creating the schedule. My thinking was two-fold. First to make sure everyone played everyone; and second to make sure that teams felt they were getting value for money. On the plus side, we achieved these goals, but probably at the cost of almost killing everyone. For the older crowd, or the classic movie-buff, the end of Day 1 was like a scene from, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"...

The other problem with the intensive schedule was that the various added-extras we planned -- coaching clinics, the batting cage and the home run derby -- suffered from the fact that everyone was spent, and needed all available breaks for recovery. The HR derby did go ahead, and actually drew quite a crowd, although it may just be that those present couldn't physically move from the bleachers. With all due respect to Duncan Waugh who came through to win, the event was something of a crapshoot. As we watched match-up after match-up go to a multiple sudden death rounds, many of us were thinking we probably need to adjust the parameters next time so that it wasn't quite so difficult to hit a homerun.

So, the event was something of a learning curve for next time. We're already talking about trying to run another tournament in November, and this would be our chance to build on what we've learned. For me, the one thing that would really improve the experience would be to get teams from around the country to take part. Much as I enjoy playing against my fellow Londoners, I pretty much do that every week whether indoors or outdoors. Some variety would be great. I remember fondly attending large-scale indoor tournaments in years past in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and I'd like us to stage something comparable. It would be really good to get ideas on how to attract more teams from other regions.

All in all though, it was a really good way to round off the indoor season, and despite the gruelling schedule it seems like everyone survived, and most really enjoyed the weekend.

tagged under: astroseries, home run derby, tournament, indoor softball

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Harvey Pryor 13:15

Hi Jenny

An interesting review of the tournament and I think the thing that summed it up for me was the value for money element that you clearly wanted to offer.

It would appear that those who did enter, played too much and I guess if you’d have attracted more teams but kept with the same number of pitches&hours; and therefore costs, with the same overall revenue, then you would have achieved your goals, as people would have got a more manageable number of games (ie less) and the overall cost per team would have been lower making it more accessible.

Certainly it was the initial cost that put teams in the East Mids off when I spoke to them about it as we tend to put on a 4 hour indoor event (guarantee of 4 x 30 min games per team) for about £35-40 per team (maximum of £5 per player if you have the minimum of 8 on a side).

From the sounds of it lessons have already been learnt and if the result of a few ‘hiccups’ is an even better event in November, at a more reasonable entry cost, then I’m sure you’ll get more interest. To attract those that are coming from further afield you have to remember they’re also paying travel & hotel costs too (no camping during the winter !!!) and not just entry fees like the local teams have….


jeff oyeing 01:37

Thanks for the info. This is great!

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