The Economics of Chess Clubs

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
John Upham
Posts: 6225
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.
Contact:

The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by John Upham » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:20 pm

I found this to be of interest:

The Economics of Chess Clubs

Thoughts?
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

James Toon
Posts: 225
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by James Toon » Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:20 pm

A very interesting article. From my experience, a subscription of between £50 and £100 a year for an active member is normal. I don't know any club that charges more than that – £100 may be a psychological ceiling. It's also common to offer reduced rates for young, inactive or unemployed members. Venue costs seem to rise inexorably. As chess club administrators we're not in this to make a profit – we just want to cover our costs and ensure we stay afloat. So how do we manage it?

I was actively involved in the management of Pimlico Chess Club for a period of some years ending in 2015. Our venue was a very large church hall. It was much bigger than we needed and also quite expensive. Our solution was to maximise the use of the available space. We used the venue to host league matches in a number of competitions almost every Thursday evening for a season of about 10 months a year. Other clubs were able to use the venue for their home matches at a flat rate per team per night. The hall was usually nearly full with typically 4 or 5 matches taking place. It helped that this was in London with a lot of chess activity and a growing demand for playing space. We also ran a league of our own creation, the Central London League, which proved to be popular (and which has been among the first to reopen for OTB league chess this year). We made it an attractive competition through an investment in a large quantity of DGT 2010 digital clocks and a modernised set of rules.

Our other initiative was the provision of the Pimlico summer individual tournament running over 5 Thursday evenings in May and June with cash prizes. The entry fee was reasonable – no-one raised any concerns about it. The event proved popular and managed at least to cover its own costs. As I recall we filled the venue to capacity with a total of 60 participants in at least one year that it was running.

As a result of these operations, we were able to host a significant amount of chess activity on a weekday evening for most of the year. We managed to remain solvent without ever making lots of money. And we were able to keep subscriptions at a reasonable level for our members. The downside was that it required a lot of time and effort to keep it all going. We would not have managed it without the continued commitment of a number of energetic and enthusiastic club members.

Nick Burrows
Posts: 1478
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Nick Burrows » Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:22 pm

James Toon wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:20 pm
A very interesting article. From my experience, a subscription of between £50 and £100 a year for an active member is normal.
...in London.

James Toon
Posts: 225
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:54 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by James Toon » Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:59 pm

Much of my experience is from London where I accept that subscription rates may reflect higher-than-average venue costs. But I am also a member of Guildford Chess Club whose top rate is currently £95. Of course, they do provide a lot of chess activity for your money.

User avatar
IM Jack Rudd
Posts: 4437
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:13 am
Location: Bideford
Contact:

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:58 pm

My local club charges an annual subscription of £15, but that's the economics of a free venue for you.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 5002
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Oct 07, 2021 8:00 pm

"We would not have managed it without the continued commitment of a number of energetic and enthusiastic club members."

One of whom was James of course (but he's too modest to say that!)

User avatar
Stephen Westmoreland
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2021 4:55 pm
Location: Holmfirth

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Stephen Westmoreland » Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:31 pm

A number of Clubs in our area are in Social Clubs, who are happy for members to use the rooms and a small annual donation of around £100. With Holmfirth, we were offered a room for free in a pub, then when the venue closed found another where the manager wanted clubs (football, pool, darts..) in to boost activity. They are quite happy to see people come through the door and are especially pleased (as are the locals) with juniors playing. Mind you, venues take a lot of finding and a lot is down to luck. We can therefore charge £10 per year and let juniors in for free.

Nick Burrows
Posts: 1478
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Nick Burrows » Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:54 pm

My current club membership fee in Oxfordshire is £60. I think my previous club was around just £30.

Andrew Wainwright
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:33 pm

An interesting read and a clear view as to why we must “break the mould” for the sake of better facilities and the development of the game.

At The Chess Centre (Ilkley) we pay £10-£20 per month, and having opened our doors in May already have over 40 members supporting our project. Some of these members (patrons if you will) have never even been to the club, but they understand and support what we are trying to achieve.

Chess clubs in the UK require a new blueprint for the 21st century!

www.chesscentre.online

User avatar
Matt Mackenzie
Posts: 4296
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Millom, Cumbria

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:50 pm

Nick Burrows wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:54 pm
My current club membership fee in Oxfordshire is £60.
That seems......a lot. How often does the club meet, and are they any lower rates for various groups?
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Nick Burrows
Posts: 1478
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:15 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Nick Burrows » Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:03 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:50 pm
Nick Burrows wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:54 pm
My current club membership fee in Oxfordshire is £60.
That seems......a lot. How often does the club meet, and are they any lower rates for various groups?
The club meets once a week. I presume their are concessions, but not sure tbh.

When I joined I found £60 a little eye watering, but it's a very nice newly refurbished venue, and prices in Oxford are not all that far of those in London. Most of the subscription goes towards rental fees.

Andrew Wainwright
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:27 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:50 pm
Nick Burrows wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:54 pm
My current club membership fee in Oxfordshire is £60.
That seems......a lot. How often does the club meet, and are they any lower rates for various groups?

Oh dear :-(

That is all.....

Andrew Wainwright
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:29 pm

Nick Burrows wrote:
Mon Oct 11, 2021 1:03 pm
Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:50 pm
Nick Burrows wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 4:54 pm
My current club membership fee in Oxfordshire is £60.
When I joined I found £60 a little eye watering, but it's a very nice newly refurbished venue, and prices in Oxford are not all that far of those in London. Most of the subscription goes towards rental fees.
Oh dear, oh dear!

£5 a month in affluent Oxfordshire is "eye watering"! This is everything that is wrong with the mentality of the incumbent chess playing community. You want excellent facilities, and find <£1.50 a week "eye watering".

Andrew Wainwright
Posts: 161
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Mon Oct 11, 2021 2:33 pm

I pay over £250 for a football season ticket. £30+ a month for gym membership. £20+ a month on my children's various classes including football, dancing, gymnastics, karate etc.

This is fairly typical of my friends and wider social group (outside of chess). I also believe this to be fairly typical of people in general paying to participate in other sports and hobbies.

Why therefore in 2021 is the mindset of the chess community still stuck in the 1980s when it comes to paying for, supporting and developing a game that we all love?!

User avatar
Matt Mackenzie
Posts: 4296
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Millom, Cumbria

Re: The Economics of Chess Clubs

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:05 pm

One of the attractions of competitive chess for many of us is that it can be practised, and enjoyed, with *relatively* little financial outlay.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Post Reply