MINUTES
ACBL BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Anaheim Marriott Hotel
Anaheim, California
August 8 - 10, 2000


 

The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Smith on Tuesday August 8, 2000 at 8:30 am.

Present: George Retek #1, Jonathan Steinberg #2, Joan Levy Gerard #3, Raymond L. Raskin #4, Sharon Fairchild #5, Nadine K. Wood #6, Bruce Reeve #7, Glenn Smith #8, Phil Altus #9, Charles D. Wilkinson #10, Jim Reiman #11, Wayne Hascall #12, Harriette Buckman #13, Val Covalciuc #14, Virgil V. Anderson #15, Dan E. Morse #16, Jerry Fleming #17, Richard G. Anderson #18, Barbara Nist #19, Robert E. Lix #20, Roger Smith #21, James H. Kirkham #22, Alan LeBendig #23, Alvin Levy #24, Howard J. Piltch #25.

Also Present: Christopher Pisarra, Chairman Board of Governors; Jeffrey Polisner, League Counsel; David O. Silber, Chief Executive Officer; Jack Zdancewicz, Chief Financial Officer; Michael Calhoun, Chief Marketing Officer; Gary Blaiss, Chief Tournament Director; Nancy Foy, Jim Miller, Julie Greenberg, Charlotte Blaiss, Jane Johnson, Jean Patterson, Kent Burghard, Edith McMullin and Rena Hetzer.


Approval of Cincinnati Minutes

The Cincinnati Minutes are approved.

Carried without dissent.


Ratification of Executive Committee Minutes

Actions of the Executive Committee during its meeting held Thursday, June 29 at 10:00 am CST are ratified.

Carried. Nay: 1, 4, 7, 18, 25 (Minutes of the meeting follow.)

    SUBJECT: Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting Convened Via Conference Call on Thursday June 29, 2000, at 10:00 am CST

    PRESENT: President Glenn Smith, Val Covalciuc, Jim Kirkham, Dan Morse, George Retek (in part)

    ALSO PRESENT: Ray Raskin, Chris Pisarra, David Silber, Nancy Foy

    President Smith opened the meeting inviting Nancy Foy to state the issue(s) at hand.

    Nancy explained that the recommendation to go to Philadelphia in 2003 and to move the Pittsburgh NABC to 2005 had to be dealt with on an urgent basis because:

    1. The proposal from Philadelphia contained provisions that were subject to the deal being completed by June 30, 2000.

    2. The ACBL could not sign a deal with Philadelphia as long as the Pittsburgh contract was in force.

    3. The Pittsburgh convention center construction was now scheduled to be complete 13 days before our event, not one year. We could not live with those risks, but would nevertheless be exposed to a $49,000 penalty for canceling. The Pittsburgh parties were amenable to moving the dates to 2005 on the same terms (plus escalation).

      1. Is the Committee willing to accept the Philadelphia proposal as written?

        By a vote of 3-2, the committee rejected the Philadelphia proposal as written.

        George Retek left the meeting at this point due to a prior commitment.

      2. Is the Committee willing to accept the Philadelphia proposal, if Nancy can reduce peak night room commitment by 20% with no other concessions?

        By a vote of 3-0, 1 abstention and one member not present, the majority approved accepting the Philadelphia contract if Nancy can reduce peak night requirement by 20%, with no other concessions.

      3. Is the Committee willing to hold an NABC in Pittsburgh in 2005 (subject to completing a successful contract in Philadelphia in 2003) with two years worth of escalation?

        By a vote of 3-0, 1 abstention and one member not present, the majority approved holding an NABC in Pittsburgh in 2005, (subject to completing a successful contract in Philadelphia in 2003) with two years worth of escalation.


Request for Consideration of Non-Agenda Items

  • USA Teams - Maastricht 2000 World Championships: Referred to Bridge-International Events as Item 002-93
  • Open Team Trials Venue: Referred to Bridge-International Events as Item 002-94.
  • Women's Team Trials Venue: Referred to Bridge-International Events as Item 002-95.
  • World University Cup Team: Referred to Bridge-International Events as Item 002-96.
  • Authorized Signers: Referred to Audit as Item 002-302.
  • Club Sanction Fees: Referred to Marketing - Clubs as Item 002-151.
  • Junior Team NPCs: Referred to Marketing - Juniors as Item 002-182.


CEO Report

The report of ACBL Cheif Executive Officer David Silber is received. (Exhibit 1)


CFO Report

The report of ACBL Cheif Financial Officer Jack Zdancewicz is received. (Exhibit 2)


CMO Report

The report of ACBL Cheif Marketing Officer Michael Calhoun is received. (Exhibit 3)


League Counsel Report

Jeffery D. Polisner, League Counsel, reported on the status of litigation.


Hall of Fame Committee Chairman

Gail Greenberg's appointment to a 3-year term as Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee is confirmed.

Carried without dissent.


Goodwill Committee Chairman

Aileen Osofsky is elected to a 3-year term as Goodwill Committee Chairman.

Carried without dissent.


The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Smith on Wednesday August 9 at 10:15 am.

PRESENT: Same as Tuesday August 8

ALSO PRESENT: Same as Tuesday August 8

GOVERNANCE
Anderson, R., Chair
Wood, Vice Chair
Steinberg
Altus
Fairchild
Raskin
Smith, R
Levy
Miller, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.


Item 002-41: Bridge Ventures Financial Report

The Bridge Ventures financial and historical report is received.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-42: Disciplinary Code Amendment

The ACBL Code of Disciplinary Regulations is amended as follows:

    5.1.6 Expulsion A determination that a person has committed an offense warranting permanent abrogation of all rights and privileges including membership.

AND Item 942-2 A. is amended as follows

  1. The ACBL Board of Directors will not hear and ACBL Management is instructed not to forward to the Board any request for readmission before five years from the date of expulsion or resignation to avoid possible disciplinary actions. When a request is heard and denied, the person making the request will be told when and if the Board will hear a subsequent request for readmission.

    Should the Board decide to hear a request, the following guidelines shall be used in considering the possible readmission to ACBL membership of former members who have been expelled or who have resigned to avoid possible disciplinary action:

    1. Admission of guilt.
    2. Appropriate written apology.
    3. Support for readmission from the player's local bridge organization(s).
Effective immediately.
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-43: Unit Transfer

The members of Unit 545 (Turlock-Merced), District 22, are transferred to District 21.

Effective Date: 9/1/2000
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-44: LM Expert Designations

Item 983-69 & 983-70 (concerning LM expert designations) are rescinded.

Effective Date: ASAP
Carried. Nay: 6, 19, 22, 23

Item 002-45: United States Bridge Federation (USBF)

The United States Bridge Federation will be formed to represent the interests of the United States bridge players.

Carried. Abstain: 1, 2, 18

NOTE: Until such time as the bylaws are approved, the ACBL CEO will act as the interim CEO of the USBF.


Item 002-46: ACBL Corporate Travel Agency Policy

An ACBL Board/Management Committee will be formed to select the ACBL Corporate Travel Agency.

Not Carried. Aye: 1, 2, 4, 13, 22


Item 002-47: ACBL Vice President

Items 991-44 and 992-47 concerning the election of an ACBL Vice-President are rescinded.

Effective Date: 1/1/2001
Carried. Nay: 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 18, 19, 20, 22. 23, 25


Item 002-48: Unit Transfer

All ACBL members residing in Baxter County, Arkansas are transferred from Unit 161, District 10, to Unit 247, District 15.

Effective Date: 9/1/2000
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-49: Redistricting Survey

The sub-committee survey for geographical redistricting is approved as amended.

NOTE: This will be sent to District Presidents (not Unit Presidents).

Carried. Nay: 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 24, 25


Item 002-50: Electronic Business Methods

Management is authorized to require, at its discretion, business between ACBL and Districts or Units to be conducted electronically.

Carried. Nay: 3, 4, 5, 10


Item 002-51: ACBL Bulletin Pages

Item 971-35 (setting the number of pages in The Bridge Bulletin) is rescinded. Management is authorized to vary the page count of specific issues; in no event will the page count go below 100 pages.

Carried. Nay: 2


Item 002-52: Unit Responsibilities

The following will be added to the Handbook of Rules and Regulations, Chapter 3 Unit Regulations, Section Two, Article III Unit Responsibilities:

    To provide equitable treatment of all sanctioned club games in good standing within the unit.

Effective Date: ASAP
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-53: ACBL-wide Recorder Database

  1. Management shall establish and maintain an up-to-date ACBL-wide 'recorder' database.

  2. Management (ACBL Recorder) shall develop and implement a training program for recorders at all levels. In addition, the ACBL Recorder shall be available to assist a unit or district on recorder matters.

  3. The Disciplinary Code is amended to read that it is an offense for a player to refuse any reasonable request for cooperation by duly appointed recorders or assistant recorders pursuant to the proper conduct of their duties (i.e., investigating a complaint or Player Memo).

    Further, that a player refusing such cooperation may, at the discretion of the DIC of the tournament, be denied an entry for one or more sessions of play up to the remainder of the current tournament.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-54: WBF Membership Dues (001-25)

ACBL accepts the new WBF dues scale effective January 1, 2002 of $1.00 per member; Junior members are excluded.

Not Carried. Aye: 1, 3, 4, 6, 14, 15, 16, 18, 21, 24


Item 002-55: WBF Membership Dues
(Reconsideration of Item 002-54)

The ACBL will offer to remit to the WBF, effective January 1, 2002, annual membership dues of $0.50 for each paid-up member, excluding juniors. In addition the ACBL will remain responsible for paying expense reimbursement to its five delegates (WBF representatives) attending meetings of the WBF Executive Council.

Carried. Nay: 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 22

 
APPEALS AND CHARGES

LeBendig, Chair
Anderson, V., Vice Chair
Buckman
Morse
Gerard
Piltch
Reeve
Blaiss, G., Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-01: Disciplinary Cases

  1. In the review of the three year suspension of Nelson F. Chuang, ACBL# 7423004, no action was indicated.

  2. In the review of the three year suspension of Richard Castonguay, ACBL# P490844, no action was indicated.

  3. In the matter of the request for an appeal of the discipline issued at the second hearing in San Antonio, July 30, 1999 of one day suspension and 90 days probation by Nancy Pickering, ACBL#R974938, the request for an appeal was granted. The finding of the committee was vacated for procedural reasons and a rehearing, to be conducted by the National Appeals Committee is mandated as soon as reasonably practical.
  4. This decision removed the violation of ACBL probation. The discipline that caused the violation now places Nancy Pickering, ACBL#R974938 on ACBL probation after the discipline enacted in Cincinnati by the NABC disciplinary committee is served.

Carried without dissent.

FINANCE
Lix, Chair
Nist, Vice Chair
Reiman
Wilkinson
Hascall
Retek
Fleming
Kirkham
Zdancewicz, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-21: 2001 Preliminary Budget Assumptions

Management's preliminary budget assumptions for 2001 are approved.

Carried. Nay: 2, 3 Abstain: 8


Item 002-23: ACBL Membership Dues (001-26)

  1. ACBL annual membership dues are increased effective January 1, 2001 from $30 to $32.
  2. Corresponding increases will be made in the other dues categories and service fees to preserve their current relationship to the regular annual membership dues level, to the nearest 25.

Carried. Nay: 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 17, 22, 24, 25


Item 002-24: Financial Operating Guidelines

The Financial Operating Guidelines sub-committee report is approved.

Carried. Nay: 3, 7, 24, 25 Abstain: 8

* * * * * * * * * *

The meeting was called to order by President Glenn Smith on Thursday August 10 at 8:30 am.

PRESENT: Same as Wednesday August 9
ALSO PRESENT: Same as Wednesday August 9

 
BRIDGE - Tournament Regulations

Gerard, Chair
Anderson, R.
Hascall
LeBendig
Wood
Reiman
G. Blaiss, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-121: Intermediate / Newcomer Status Report

Management's Intermediate/Newcomer Status Report is received.

Carried without dissent.

Suggestions to Management:

  1. Local Unit and District luminaries and officials should be invited to the IN receptions since new players are predominantly local. In addition, speakers and especially local speakers should be invited.
  2. When selecting speakers, Management should consider whether the speaker's general reputation is such that ACBL wants to endorse that person by having them speak. An excellent behavior history and cooperativeness with ACBL and ACBL goals are two important attributes to consider.
  3. Canadian attendance should be broken down by province.


Item 002-122: Promotional NABC Entry Fees

Management is authorized to reduce entry fees at selected events at NABCs as a promotional method to increase attendance.

Specifically, at the Toronto 2001 Summer NABC, there will be:

  1. A selected mid-week Wednesday Swiss Team Regionally rated event that will be sold at 25% less than the regular entry fee.

  2. A "Thank You To the Locals" final Sunday 2 session (with appropriate dinner break) Swiss Team Regionally rated event that will be sold at 25% less than the regular entry fee.

NOTE: For both events above, the 25% will be rounded to an appropriate number. Non-members will still pay the regular entry fees plus the additional dollar per session.

Management and the local sponsoring organizations will actively promote and publicize these promotional events.

Not Carried. Aye: 1, 2, 4, 18, 24


Item 002-123: Three Way Knockout Matches

In all three-way team matches where two of the three teams will remain in the event and the third will be eliminated, and where all three teams win one match and lose the other, the two teams with the higher net imp score (imps won minus imps lost) in both matches combined will advance. If there is a tie for the second position, that tie will be broken by either 1) a playoff or 2) the imp quotient (imps won divided by imps lost in both matches combined), depending on the option selected by the sponsoring organization. The default choice is a playoff should the sponsoring organization fail to make its choice before the event begins.

NOTE: Referred to Competition and Conventions Committee for its recommendations.

Deferred to Fall 2000 (Birmingham) Meeting
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-124: Convention Card Laws

The ACBL Laws Commission is requested to recommend a change to Law 40 E 2 and further to interpret the Law to permit the zonal organization to designate levels of competition and events in which a participant may refer to his or her own convention card.

Effective Date: When Laws are revised.
Carried. Nay: 1, 3, 8, 12, 14, 18, 24


Item 002-125: Non Championship Sectional

  1. Effective immediately a unit of 200 members or less or a sectional tournament which averages 15 or fewer tables per session may run up to three non-championship sectionals a year.
    1. This sectional is not required to use a Tournament Director.
    2. A qualified club director or a local-rated director may be used.
    3. The sectional will award silver points.
    4. The M value will be no greater than .65 of Open.
    5. The sectional must have a sanction and meet all other requirements.
    6. The sectional will be listed in the Bridge Bulletin with an * that it is non-championship with silver points and .65 of Open.
    7. The sanction fees will be the same as for a Championship Sectional.
  2. Upon notification to ACBL Headquarters, a unit may downgrade a Sectional(from its sectional allotment) to a locally rated tournament. Sanction fees for such a locally-rated tournament will remain the same as those for a Sectional Tournament.

    Item 821-106 is rescinded.

Effective Date: ASAP
Carried. Nay: 15, 20 Abstain: 8


Item 002-126: Electronic Equipment in Playing Area

Except for health-related equipment or by permission of the Director-in-Charge of the tournament or event, cell phones, audible pagers or any similar communication equipment may not be operated or operable in the playing area during a session of play at NABCs. Sponsoring organizations of other ACBL-sanctioned events are strongly encouraged to adopt this policy.

Effective Date: 7:30 pm PST, 8/9/2000
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-127: Regional Allocation Regulations

  1. The report/minutes of the committee are received.

    Carried without dissent.

  2. The regulations that apply to sanctioning Sectionals shall apply to the sanctioning of a District's GNT and NAOP Final.

    Carried. Nay: 4, 8, 17, 20, 24 Abstain: 12

  3. Effective immediately, Easter, because the date fluctuates over a six-week period, will not be considered a traditional date.

    Not Carried. Aye: 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20

  4. The concept of STACs was reviewed by this committee.

    1. StaCs remain under the sectional sanctioning regulations.
    2. There is no limit on the number of Units that may participate.
    3. Item 873-115 ("In scheduling these tournaments, Units should give preference to those clubs that have regularly scheduled games during the tournament period when there is a conflict among clubs.") is reaffirmed.

    Carried. Nay: 15


Item 002-128: ACBL Mid-Chart

During 2001, the ACBL Mid-Chart will be expanded to include (on a trial basis) more dynamic and experimental systems. (Examples are wide-range 1NT openings, split-range 1NT openings, multiple convention cards based on vulnerability, etc.)

Each experimental convention or system allowed shall be reviewed at year-end and a decision regarding future use may be made at that time.

NOTE: Referred to Competition and Conventions Committee to consider ways that methods can be permitted experimentally under the mid-chart as long as there is an adequate explanation of the method and a suggested defense. Suggestions to be presented at the fall meeting

Deferred to Fall 2000 (Birmingham) meeting.
Carried. Nay: 1, 3, 7, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 24 Abstain: 9


Item 002-129: Tournament Appeals Committees

The ACBL Board of Directors requests an interpretation of the Laws from the ACBL Laws Commission regarding Appeals Committees at all levels of play. A report will be given to the Board no later than the Spring 2001 meeting.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-130: The Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge

The ACBL Board of Directors requests that:

  1. The ACBL Laws Commission encourage promulgating a revision of the Laws prior to the customary ten year cycle.

  2. The ACBL Laws Commission review the specific laws dealing with "card laid-card played" philosophy in both bidding and play for the revision above.

  3. Management review its procedures, interpretations and implementations of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge to increase as much as legal and appropriate under the current laws the "card laid-card played" philosophy.

Effective Date: ASAP
Carried without dissent.

 
BRIDGE - International Events

Morse, Chair Anderson, V.
Wood
Retek
Hetzer, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-92: International Team Trials Conditions of Contest

The conditions of contest for International Team Trials (which select USA representation) will provide for an open format.

Effective Date: Immediately
Carried. Nay: 2, 3, 15, 16, 24 Abstain: 1


Item: 002-93:USA Teams - Maastricht 2000 World Championships

The following teams are approved by the ACBL Board to represent the United States at the 2000 WBF World Championships in the events indicated.

OPEN OLYMPIADWOMEN's OLYMPIADSENIOR
INTERNATIONAL CUP
George JacobsPetra HammanBobby Wolff
Ralph KatzPeggy SutherlinDan Morse
Steve GarnerJoan JacksonJohn Mohan
Howard WeinsteinRobin KlarJohn Sutherlin
David Berkowitz Shawn QuinnKit Woolsey
Larry Cohen Mildred BreedSteve Robinson
Chip Martel, NPCBob Hamman, NPCBetty Ann Kennedy, NPC

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-94: 2001 and 2002 Open Team Trials

The East Memphis Hilton is approved as the site of the 2001 and 2002 Open Team Trials. The specific dates of the Trials are to be scheduled depending upon negotiations with the Hilton and Conditions of Contest for the event. Management is encouraged to avoid, where possible, conflicting with the same Regional each year.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-95: 2001 Women's Team Trials

Las Vegas is approved as the site of the 2001 WITT (Women's International Team Trials). Specific dates for the trials will be scheduled to coincide with the 2001 Las Vegas regional, June 18-24 2001, subject to approval of the District 17 President.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-96: 2000 World University Cup Team

President Glenn Smith approved the following USA team for participation in the World University Cup in Maastricht in August.

Kevin BathurstPaul BetheAri Greenberg
Eugene HungJohn HurdLeo LaSota
Robert Rosen, NPC  

Carried without dissent.

 
MARKETING - Juniors

Smith, R., Chair Fleming Raskin
Blaiss, C., Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-181: North American Collegiate Team Championships

  1. The North American Collegiate Team Championships is reinstated.

  2. Details of format and funding will be presented to the Board in Birmingham, Fall 2000.

  3. Prior to Birmingham, a $2,000 maximum interim expense fund is approved.

Effective Date: Immediately
Carried. Nay: 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20


Item 002-182: Junior Team NPCs

The following list of Junior team NPCs is recommended for Board approval by the Junior Committee (Chairman: Roger Smith). The two Junior teams that qualify at the Junior Team Trials in Anaheim to represent the USA at the 2001 World Junior Teams Championship will choose their NPC from the approved list.

Henry BetheTom CarmichaelJo Anne Casen
Robert RosenSteve RobinsonBlair Seidler

Carried without dissent.

 
MARKETING - Clubs

Buckman, Chair Lix Wilkinson
Johnson, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-151: Club Sanction Fees

  1. The club sanctioned game table fee shall be increased from $0.60 to $0.64 per table (The current fee has been in place since April 1999).

    Not Carried. Aye: 1, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 18, 20, 21

  2. The fee per sanctioned game shall be increased from $1.00 to $1.25. (The current fee has been in place since January 1994).

    Effective Date: 1/1/2001
    Carried. Nay: 2, 6, 17, 18, 22, 25 Abstain: 14

  3. The annual sanction fee per club-sanctioned games shall be increased from $11.00 to $11.50. (The current fee has been in place since April 1999).

    Effective Date: 1/1/2001
    Carried. Nay: 5, 6, 8, 9, 23, 24

 
MARKETING - Education

Steinberg, Chair Fleming Altus
Greenberg, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-161: Education Status Report

Management's education status report is received.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-162: NABC Educational Foundation Games

  1. The NABC opening night Charity game shall be renamed the Educational Foundation game with all net proceeds from that game going to the ACBL Educational Foundation.

    Carried. Nay: 3, 4, 5, 11, 15, 24, 25

  2. The NABC designated Charity day/session ($6.00 per table) shall be renamed the Educational Foundation day/session with the entire Charity portion from that day/session going to the ACBL Educational Foundation.

    Carried. Nay: 3, 4, 5, 11, 15, 17, 24, 25

  3. ACBL will charge The Educational Foundation for administrative services costs.

    Carried without dissent.

Effective Date: Spring 2001

 
MARKETING - Member Services

Fairchild, Chair Nist Altus
Johnson, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-192: ACBL Bulletin

It will be ACBL policy that all addresses where there is a paid member of the ACBL will receive at least one copy of The Bridge Bulletin published by the ACBL.

Deferred to Fall 2000 (Birmingham) meeting.
Carried. Nay: 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 25


Item 002-193: ACBL Bulletin Advertising Rates

  1. Advertising rates in the Bridge Bulletin for units and districts will be priced at 90% of cost.

    Not Carried. Aye: 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, 23, 24

  2. Units and Districts that advertise in the Bridge Bulletin shall have their ad placed on the web site and linked to ACBL Online at no cost to them.

    Effective Date: Retroactive to March 2000
    Carried. Nay: 1, 10, 11, 12, 18, 20, 21


Item 002-194: Membership Benefits

It shall be the policy of the ACBL that ACBL Life Masters from Zone II NCBOs who are delinquent in their dues or service fees shall not be eligible to write bulletin columns, give lectures or engage in similar paid or voluntary employment by the ACBL.

Effective Date: Immediately
Carried. Nay: 2, 8, 11, 14, 15, 24

 
MARKETING

Piltch, Chair
Buckman, Vice Chair
Raskin
Altus
Lix
Wilkinson
Fleming
Nist
Smith, R.
Fairchild
Steinberg
Miller, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-141: Marketing, Publicity and Easybridge! Reports

Management's marketing, publicity and Easybridge! reports are received.

Carried without dissent.

 
AUDIT

Reeve, Chair Retek Wilkinson
Zdancewicz, Staff

Committee report by Chairman.

Item 002-300: ACBL Purchasing & Competitive Bid Policy

Note: The amended competitive bidding policy replaces the 7/7/93 policy effective immediately.

COMPETITIVE BIDDING POLICY

When the ACBL is interested in purchasing a product or service and the cost of that product is in the in excess of $25,000 or when it is appears that competitive bids or requests for proposals are necessary in purchases under $25,000, the following procedures will be followed.

  1. Detailed specifications and criteria will be established for the product or service.

  2. Competitive bids or proposals will be requested from many providers to include as many market makers as feasible.

  3. Sealed bids will be requested to be received no later than a specific future date.

  4. A written response will be required when clarification is needed from a bidder on some element of the proposal.

  5. Bids will be extensively reviewed and compared to specifications and to each other as to cost. A report will be written to the CEO comparing the proposals by cost and by the important elements of the specifications. Important deficiencies of proposals must be prominently mentioned. The report will make a recommendation to the CEO, giving reasons for the selection that was made, as well as reasons why the other top bidders were not selected.

  6. In those situations where sufficient expertise is not available within Management to properly evaluate the product or service, Management will seek out that expertise from a member of the Board of Directors or from members of the ACBL. On those few instances where the needed expertise cannot be found there, Management will consider using an outside independent paid consultant.

  7. Management at all times retains the right to refuse all bids. If this is done the report to the CEO, including the conclusions and the reasons for these, will be submitted to the appropriate Board Committee for review.

Carried without dissent.


Item 002-301: ACBL Business Controls

Management shall improve internal control by more timely reconciliation of tournament tables sanctioned and reported and of the income remitted to the ACBL.

Effective Date: Immediately
Carried without dissent.


Item 002-302: ACBL Financial Account Signators

  1. The following positions are authorized for purposes of establishing company bank and investment accounts for the ACBL, ACBL Charity Foundation and the ACBL Educational Foundation.
    • ACBL Chief Executive Officer
    • ACBL Chief Financial Officer
    • ACBL Accounting Manager/Controller
  2. The following positions are authorized to wire transfer funds from ACBL, ACBL Charity Foundation and the ACBL Educational Foundation.
    • ACBL Chief Executive Officer (confirm only)
    • ACBL Chief Financial Officer (authorize and confirm other than his own authorization)
    • ACBL Accounting Manager/Controller (authorize only)
  3. The following positions are authorized signers on checks written by ACBL, ACBL Charity Foundation and the ACBL Educational Foundation.
    • ACBL Chief Executive Officer
    • ACBL Chief Financial Officer *
    • ACBL Accounting Manager/Controller *

    * - Stamp or machine impression signatures also allowed. (Only one of the two signatures may be a stamp or machine impression).

    In addition, the following position is an authorized signer on the ACBL general disbursements account:

    • ACBL Human Resources Director

    In addition, the following positions are authorized signers on the ACBL disbursement account that is used exclusively for the North American Bridge Championships:

    • NABC Finance Office Director
    • ACBL Meeting Services Director
  4. Management requests the current practice regarding the number of signatures per check set forth below be continued:
    1. One Signature required
      • ACBL Disbursements under $1,000
      • ACBL Payroll Account
    2. Two Signatures required:
      • ACBL Disbursements of $1,000 or greater.
      • ACBL Charity Foundation
      • ACBL Educational Foundation
    3. CEO Signature Required:
      • All ACBL disbursements of $25,000 or greater
      • ACBL Charity Foundation of $25,000 or greater
      • ACBL Educational Foundation of $25,000 or greater
      In case the CEO is unavailable the CFO may sign in his absence. The CEO shall review these items upon his return.

    4. The Secretary of Corporation shall provide copy to Chairman of the Audit Committee of all corporate resolutions dealing with signatures.

Carried without dissent.


Closing Remarks

It was moved by Retek and carried unanimously that the Board expresses its thanks to District 22 and its units, including District Director Jim Kirkham and Tournament Chairman Sandy Kopec and all the other chair persons and numerous volunteers, plus a thanks to the Marriott and Hilton hotels for their fine cooperation.

There being no further business to come before the Board, the Board adjourned sine die at 4:00 p.m.


Exhibit 1 - CEO Report

David Silber - ACBL Chief Executive Officer

 

To:     Board of Directors and Board of Governors
From: David Silber, ACBL CEO

CEO REPORT : Anaheim Board Meeting

July 27, 2000

The following are highlights that have occurred since we last met. Items asterisked were identified by the Board of Directors as Highest Priority ACBL objective areas.

  1. Membership Trends and Easybridge**

    Since last fall about 10,000 people have shown up for at least an initial week of Easybridge! Some clear improvement has occurred in new members acquired which, through 6 months of 2000, are up 9% vs the same period last year and 14% vs 2 years ago. Easybridge is clearly contributing many of those gains. Whether, as hoped, Easybridge-derived members will renew at a better rate than historical remains to be seen. Losses last year were reduced by one-time amnesty reinstatements; year-to-date losses are comparable with last year if the amnesty reinstatements are ignored, but up if they are taken into account. The rate of membership decline vs last year continues to slow. (See attachments 1 and 2 ).

  2. Tournament and Club Tables

    Tournament tables through the first 6 months are up 7.1% on regionals vs last year, up 4.6% on STACs and down 1.5% on sectionals. (attachment 3)

    Club tables % change vs previous year through May is as follows:

    1997:   -2.6%       1998:   -2.1%       1999:   -4.1%       2000:   -0.6%

  3. Non-renewer research**

    Research conducted with year 2 renewers and year 2 non-renewers showed remarkably few attitudinal differences between the two groups, implying that more aggressive renewal solicitation efforts may bear fruit.

  4. Reprogramming the renewal billing solicitation process

    Effective this summer we have changed the rebilling process. Previously there were approximately 5 months between an initial bill and a follow-up notice saying membership had expired. A second notice is now received within 10 weeks of the first notice. The old and new billing systems are shown diagrammatically on attachment 4. No significant incremental costs are being incurred.

  5. Publicity**

    We began to work with a PR agency at the beginning of the year. Through 4 months the advertising equivalent dollar value of newspaper/magazine publicity received for bridge was $94,000 vs $14,000 in the same period in 1999.

  6. Direct Response Testing**

    In June we fielded direct response membership solicitation tests to non-member ACBL catalog purchasers (mail test), non-members known through ACBLScore to be active (mail) and Learn-to-Play Bridge software downloaders (e-mail). Returns are still coming in and look promising. Further list tests are in the works.

  7. Support for Clubs**

    We issued an 80-page book of "Club Managers' Tips for Running a Successful Bridge Club" the contents of which were gleaned from clubs throughout ACBL. A complimentary book was sent to every club. The book sells for $4.95.

  8. Support for Units**

    Payments to units for the membership trend incentives and for participation in the unit marketing program were made in April. 251 out of 309 units qualified for one or more of these incentives. A new seminar on "Volunteer Development" is being offered for the first time in Anaheim. Three Unit Growth Seminars have been held; in Anaheim unit education liaisons will be exposed to a "Highlights" version to attempt to further promote this program for which ACBL does not charge. The 2nd Quarter QUIP report includes information by unit on how many of the unit's newer members (0-100MPs) played in at least one of the unit's sectionals (does not include STACs). The ACBL-wide average is 10% (range is from 5% to 30%); the ACBL-wide average for all members is 38%. Hopefully this will provide a promotional stimulus for some units.

  9. Online Bridge**

    We have reached an agreement with e-bridge, a venture capital backed new bridge software company, to provide ACBL with an online bridge game site. The arrangement is particularly attractive financially as it involves no fixed dollar obligations on ACBL's part. We expect an unstructured game to become available in the fall and a structured game around the turn of the year.

  10. Computer Programming and Data Warehouse**

    1999 was a "lost" year devoted substantially to Y2K and to starting up the new financial system. We have now started to make a small dent in some of the accumulated backlog of computer programming requests. See attachment 5 for a listing of principal completed projects.

  11. Some other Miscellaneous Items
    1. Organized a volunteer "lobbying" campaign to the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee regarding bridge as a "Special Attraction Sport" at the Winter Olympics.
    2. Completed first draft of bylaws for a US Bridge Federation to be formed to represent the particular bridge interests of the USA.
    3. Improved the design of the Masterpoint onsert form (for September use).
    4. Improved employee investment and withdrawal options on 401(k).
    5. Improved delivery service for overseas Bulletin subscribers.


CEO Report - Attachment 5

COMPUTER SYSTEMS/PROGRAMMING

Some Completed Projects

  1. Installed 2 separate AS/400s (vs 1) to improve security, flexibility, maintenance downtime and responsiveness.
  2. Extended e-mail and Internet access to all staff requiring them.
  3. Completed shakedown of new financial system.
  4. Bulletin Boards established and in use for TDs and Tournament Coordinators.
  5. Enabled TDs to download membership dues status that is updated daily*.
  6. Completed programming to support payment of first Unit Marketing program incentive.
  7. Automated creation of QUIP report from AS/400.
  8. Programmed new billing timing cycle.
  9. Added/used "almost live" broadcast capability over Internet for ITT.
  10. Added polling capability to website.
  11. Programming to handle unit mergers/transfers in a way that restates history.
  12. Members electing both magazines are now automated not manual exceptions.
  13. Installed laser printing enhancement to AS/400 to improve flexibility and enhance appearance of forms and form letters.
  14. Established experimental on-line "partnership desk" for NABCs.
  15. Established separate data warehouse environment to support direct response marketing testing capability.
  16. Created and entered membership e-mail database.

Some Partially Completed Projects

  1. On-line real-time credit card authorization.
  2. Improve on-line functionality and graphics of product sales catalog.
  3. Design and program much abbreviated summary QUIP report.
  4. Program the ability for clubs to send in monthly financial/MP reports on diskette or e-mail, and not in hard copy.
  5. Ditto for tournament financial reports.

* Capacity issues on some older PCs.


Exhibit 2 - CFO Report

Jack Zdancewicz - ACBL Chief Financial Officer

AMERICAN CONTRACT BRIDGE LEAGUE, INC.

Results of Operations

Four Months Ended April 30, 2000 and 1999


The ACBL reported a $203,000 loss for the first four months of 2000, down $174,000 from 1999's restated first trimester loss of $29,000. This year's loss reflects a $101,000 decline (3.8%) in revenue items and a $73,000 increase (2.7%) in expense items from last year's first four months.

Amounts - 000's
-------------------
2000
-----
1999
-----
Variance
-----------
%
-------
Revenue items $ 2,530 $ 2,631 $ ( 101 ) ( 3.8 ) %
Expense items 2,733
--------
2,660
--------
73
---------
( 2.7 ) %
-----------

Net Profit/(Loss)

$ ( 203 )
=======
$ ( 29 )
=======
$ ( 174 )
=======
(600.0) %
=======

Overview

The 3.8% decline in operating revenue was the result of lower profits from our Product Sales area (-$152,000) and the cumulative housing bureau expenses associated with the past four NABCs (-$55,000). The $73,000 increase in operating expenses were primarily in Marketing, EasyBridge! & PR (+$103,000), HQ Staff Salaries (+$65,000) and Depreciation & Amortization (+$47,000).

 

Operating Revenues vs Prior Year

Income from Membership Dues increased $31,000 from $1,137,000 in 1999 to $1,168,000 in 2000's first trimester as a result of the dues/fee increases put into place in July, 1999. Actual membership statistics as of April 2000 vs April 1999 show:

  (in 000's) 2000 1999 Variance       %
  ----------- ------ ------ ----------- -------
  Life Masters 42.3 41.1 + 1.2 + 2.9%
  Non Life Masters 109.8 111.7 ( 1.9) ( 1.7)
    ------ ------ ---------- -------
  Total Paying Members 152.1 152.8 ( 0.7) ( 0.5)%
  Unpaid Life Masters 15.2 14.7 + 0.5 + 3.2
    ------- ------ --------- -------
  Total Membership 167.3 167.5 ( 0.2) ( 0.1)%
    ==== ==== ====== ====

Sanction Fee income increased $106,000 to $958,000 from the $852,000 for the first four months of 1999 primarily due to higher sanction fees. Rating Point game fees increased $46,000, Regional fees increased $24,000 and Sectional fees increased $21,000. Through April, Regional tables were up 12.7% and Sectional tables were up 2.1%.

Profits from the North American Bridge Championships in Cincinnati of $115,000 were $1,000 greater than the 1999 Spring NABC profits in Vancouver ($114,000). Although the attendance for the Spring 2000 event of 10,830 tables was 17.9% less than Vancouver's 13,195 tables, total revenue was only $10,000 less due to higher fee structure and income for booth rentals ($8,000). Lower lodging costs for the dual hotel event in Ohio ($12,000) helped to overcome the revenue shortfall.

Prior Year NABC Expense of $55,200 was $68,000 more than the 1999 Prior Year income adjustment of $12,300. The 2000 expense reflects $87,000 in reservation charges levied by the Housing Bureau for the past four tournaments (Orlando in 1998 and all three tournaments in 1999). These were the first bills received under the current arrangement and ACBL accounting, due to a miscommunication with the Meeting Service Department about what had already been recognized, had accrued $32,000 in estimated expenses during 1999. Combined housing rebates of $98,000 were accounted for at each tournament and if you combine the lodging rebates received with the housing bureau fees paid, the arrangement generated a $11,000 profit for the League.

Net profits from the ACBL Product Sales area of $97,000 were $152,000 less than the $248,000 first trimester profit reported in 1999 due to a combination of lower revenues ($38,000) and several unusual expense items that increased operating costs by $114,000. Significant, non-recurring cost items included higher cost of sales ($29,000) primarily related to defective playing card, higher royalty expenses on EasyBridge! ($37,000), one-time set-up fees for Internet catalog development ($12,000), printing expenses for a second catalog mailing this summer ($4,000) and speciality system programming for our new inventory tracking and sales-order processing system ($8,000).

The final revenue category, All other revenues, declined from $43,000 in 1999 to $30,000 in 2000 as a result of the weakening Canadian dollar ($18,000 exchange loss vs $7,000 in 1999).

 

Operating Expenses vs Prior Year

Salaries - HQ Staff increased $65,000 from $1,067,000 to $1,132,000 as a result of the annual cost of living wage increases granted on January 1st.

Net BULLETIN Publication Costs increased $22,000 as the trend in lower advertising revenues ($20,000) continued to hurt yearly comparisons. Operating cost savings primarily related to postal charges ($13,000) were offset by the accounting switch of the Better Bridge Magazine from Marketing & PR category to the The Bridge Bulletin category ($28,000).

Favorable comparisons were seen in Tournament Director costs as the current net cost of $10,700 was $69,000 favorable to the $80,000 net cost for 1999's first trimester due to an increase in director fee income ($49,000) resulting from higher session rates and increased regional & sectional tournament activity coupled with lower operating expenses ($30,000).

Marketing & Public Relations expenses increased $103,000 due to development costs for the set-up and maintenance of the Data Warehouse ($25,000), the addition of an outside Public Relations firm ($24,000) and the payment of the Unit Cooperative Rebates ($50,300). The switch of the Better Bridge publication costs ($23,000) to the BULLETIN function partially offset the costs associated with the new EasyBridge! program ($33,000).

First trimester's Depreciation & Amortization expense category increased $47,000 over 1999 levels as a result of several items. (1). During the annual audit examination, our auditors recommend that we shorten the depreciable lives on future electronic asset purchases like AS 400, telephone systems and accounting software packages. The result of their recommendation was to increase the depreciation expense on those assets by approximately $25,000. (2). The new IBM A/S 400 purchased required us to accelerate the retirement date on the old A/S 400 computer, penalizing first trimester results by $20,000.

It should be noted that the capabilities available in the new accounting system will allow management to utilize an "actual month of service" depreciation write-off method versus the prior system use of the "half-year depreciation convention." This will enable more accurate forecasting of annual and monthly depreciation expense related to existing and expected asset placements. Management has discussed the use of the new method with its auditors and have elected to utilize the new method beginning January, 2000. Management estimates full-year 2000 depreciation charges to be approximately $456,000 versus a budgeted depreciation expense of $391,000.

Operating Performance vs Budget

  Amounts - 000's 2000 Budget Variance       %
  ----------------------- -------- ---------- ------------- --------
  Revenues $ 2,530 $ 2,703 $ ( 172 ) ( 6.4)%
  Expenses 2,733 2,791 ( 57 ) ( 2.1)
    --------- ---------- -------------- -----------
  Net Profit/(Loss) $ ( 203) $ ( 88) $ ( 115) ( 130.7)%
    ====== ======= ======== ======

Operating revenue variances compared to budget were the result of many of the same variance explanations discussed in the vs Prior Year sections. Member Dues (-$44,000) due to fewer members; NABC Spring (+$38,000) due to positive revenue; NABC Prior Year (-$55,000) due to the housing bureau expenses; and Product Sales (-$168,000) weaker sales volume and higher (unusual) cost burden.

Operating expense variances compared to budget saw BULLETIN (-$34,000) advertising weakness; stronger Tournament Director billing (+$73,000); lower Marketing & PR costs (+$22,000) primarily due to lower expenses associated with the EasyBridge! Program; and the new accounting system impact upon Depreciation & Amortization expenses (-$36,000).

 

Key Balance Sheet Statistics

The losses incurred during 1999 and the first trimester of this year coupled with an aggressive capital investment program in our computer and telephone systems have begun to take its toll upon our level of cash reserves.
    4/30 4/30  
  Amounts in 000's 2000 1999 Change
  --------------------- -------- -------- ---------
  Cash & Reserves $3,681 $4,576 - 19.5 %
  Inventories 632 629 + 0.5
  Total Assets 7,833 8,311 - 15.9
  Net Assets (Worth) 5,532 6,154 - 10.1
  Current Assets 2,946 2,991 - 1.5
  Current Liabilities 1,362 1,302 + 4.7
  Current Ratio 2.2x 2.3x - 0.1x

 

Full-Year 2000 Outlook

First four month results included the following non-recurring items referenced above:

 Deviation vs Budget
Prior Year NABC Expense$ (55,000)
Product Sales (Various)(50,000)
Depreciation on retired A/S 400(20,000)
Total$(125,000)

Without these one-time charges, bottom-line operating results would have been pretty much in line with budget. We have previously shared with the Board of Directors in Cincinnati actions to improve revenue in Product Sales and reduce expense in the director training and market research areas. We are working on someadditional cost reductions. These actions will offset the first trimester, non- recurring items (and the known ongoing budget deviation in depreciation).

We are hopeful that in other respects we can operate in line with budget for the rest of the year and thus end up close to the budgeted bottom line.


AMERICAN CONTRACT BRIDGE LEAGUE, INC.
Statement of Revenues and Expenses
For the four months ended April 30, 2000 and 1999
Amounts in Thousands of Dollars

REVENUES 2,000
Actual
1,999
Actual
2000 vs
1999
2,000
Budget
2000 vs
Budget
Membership Dues 1,168 1,137 31 1,212 (44)
Sanction Fees 958 852 106 952 6
North American Championships
      Spring
115 114 1 77 38
      Summer          
      Fall          
      Prior Years (55) 12 (68) 0 (55)
Special Tournaments
      World Wide Pairs
         
      Instant Match Pt          
      N.A. Pairs 16 24 (8) (1) 18
      Grand National 10 12 (1) 6 4
      Seniors' 5 3 1 0 4
      N.A. 49ers          
Product Sales 97 248 (152) 264 (168)
Investment & Rental 187 185 1 168 18
All other revenues 30 43 (14) 24 6
      TOTAL REVENUES 2,530 2,631 (101) 2,703 (172)
 

EXPENSES 2,000
Actual
1,999
Actual
2000 vs
1999
2,000
Budget
2000 vs
Budget
Salaries 1,132 1,067 65 1,131 2
BULLETIN 160 139 22 126 34
Education 29 52 (23) 32 (3)
Tournament Directors 11 80 (70) 84 (73)
Postage & Supplies 99 103 (5) 91 8
Member Billing 50 34 16 40 10
Travel - Staff (includes Board Mtgs) 21 24 (3) 27 (6)
Buildings & Grounds 67 98 (30) 73 (5)
Marketing & Public Relations 183 80 103 205 (22)
Employee Benefits & Payroll Taxes 436 457 (21) 442 (6)
President & Board of Directors 113 98 15 105 7
Computer Scoring 10 10 0 11 (1)
Audit, Consulting & Legal 26 58 (32) 38 (12)
Uncollectable A/R 9 2 7 2 7
Depreciation & Amortization 155 107 47 119 36
General Insurance 34 46 (12) 46 (12)
Real Estate Taxes 25 37 (12) 42 (16)
Banking Fees 17 15 2 13 4
Telephone & Utilities 61 75 (14) 62 (0)
Internet Activities 28 22 6 16 12
All other expenses 66 57 9 86 (20)
           
      TOTAL EXPENSES 2,733 2,660 73 2,791 (57)
EXCESS REVENUES / EXPENSES (203) (29) (174) (88) (115)


 

Exhibit 3 - CMO Report

Michael Calhoun - ACBL Chief Marketing Officer

 

Marketing Status Report

June 29, 2000


Experience has shown that how you market, to whom you market, and when you market, are every bit as important as what you market. To endorse a promotional activity without knowing specifically who the most likely target audience is, and put in place the means to track and measure results, is the difference between an expense and an investment.

Public relations, of course, is the use of the news media, special events and other non-advertising techniques to reach our potential audiences. If done correctly, PR is often perceived as being more credible by those exposed to it than paid advertising because it is the media - or other neutral parties - talking about us rather than us talking about ourselves.

 

Executive Summary:

Everything we have initiated within the Marketing Services area of the American Contract Bridge League over the last eighteen months has been in an effort to identify and put in place permanent improvements in the way we market and service memberships. While this effort has taken more time than we would have liked, it is essential that we create a sustainable and measurable framework for the League's marketing activities. In the marketing profession time really is money. The more money you have to spend, the less time it takes to accomplish your mission. In the case of the ACBL, where funds continue to be limited, we must take a more methodical and deliberate approach. As a "seeding" operation, the League must invest in generating positive publicity and effective event promotion in order to increase awareness for the game and the ACBL. Eventually, with a more aggressive marketing effort, this awareness will be converted to an increase in new memberships and a higher retention rate of existing members. However, in this "crawl before you walk/ before you run," scenario, it should be understood that we are just now entering in the "walk" stage of development.

Our primary goal remains to generate new members for the ACBL and improve the retention rate for existing members. Everything we do in the Marketing Services area should lead back to one of these two efforts. A secondary goal is to increase our secondary sources of revenue from underutilized areas like Product Sales and the Advertising Revenue generated from our publications and the Internet.


The Marketing area, which consists of Sales, Clubs/Memberships, Education, and Communications, has been involved in a number of major initiatives during the first half of 2000. Those activities include:

 

A. Continued Development of an ACBL Data-Warehouse

This partnership effort with I.D.T. represents the "eyes and ears" of our marketing effort. Marketing must have ready access to all transaction information relating to our membership. The internal Information Systems department of the ACBL is neither technologically structured nor sufficiently staffed to provide this on-going access. Therefore, we continue to work with an outside firm that specializes in this area. Although we discussed our need for a Data Warehouse partner last year, due to budgetary constraints we did not actually begin working with this firm until January of 2000. Since that time we have begun to actively use these new data capabilities and will continue to aggressively sell new memberships using Direct Marketing techniques (See section F below.) In addition, this effort will not only provide ACBL with the means to track and measure results, it adds much needed insight and analysis into the attributes and characteristics of our membership and the elusive factors of renewal vs. non-renewal. (Exhibit A is merely an example of the kind of information that can be extracted. It shows demographic information for our members. Exhibit B shows similar information for subsequent Internet Site visitor.)

 

B. Publicity

Although the search for a Public Relations firm to partner with the ACBL was begun in the fourth quarter of 1999, the selection process was not complete until late December, and actual work with Thompson & Baker began with the first week of January. Since that time the T & B staff have proven to be a quick study and well experienced in working with the media. The Account Executive assigned to work with us, Mr. Bob Phillips, is a veteran campaigner and has supported our efforts with both enthusiasm working with us, and professional competence in managing his staff. To date we have written and distributed Press Releases on ten different topics resulting in numerous media placements. (Exhibit A shows these releases. Exhibit B shows dollars and impressions in press coverage on bridge vs. last year). Through April the advertising equivalent value is $94,104, which is up over 500% from 1999. Our goal when the program is in full swing is for measured results to exceed the previous year's publicity by 150%.

One of the first projects Thompson & Baker undertook for the ACBL was to redesign the press kit. It was felt this was a good place to begin because many times the media kit is the first impression a media outlet will get from the ACBL. And we all realize how crucial first impressions can be, especially when dealing with the media. The press kit now contains: a fact sheet on the ACBL, a fact sheet on the game of bridge, a bio on David Silber, an article on the game of bridge and who plays it, and three news clippings. This basic kit can be mailed to any media outlet as soon as the ACBL receives an inquiry. Other materials can be added to it, depending upon the need. Also, when there is an event, a news release about that event can be inserted into the front of the kit.

 

C. Promotion of NABCs and other Tournaments

The NABC tournaments represent an on-going opportunity to generate publicity. The size and duration of these tournaments, and the multi-city placement each year clearly identify the NABCs as "Major" events. In Vancouver (Spring 1999) we hired the services of a local PR professional, familiar with Vancouver media, to help us generate area press coverage. This proved to be a successful tactic and we have continued this process into 2000. In addition, prior to Boston (Fall 1999) we sent a known bridge celebrity (Audrey Grant) and ACBL staff into the Boston area several weeks prior to the tournament do "advance" media work on behalf of both the game of bridge and the coming event. This also proved to be successful in increasing coverage of the NABC and will be continued in the future. Also, we are expanding the Internet (video and viewgraph) coverage of major bridge events in an effort to reach a much broader audience and develop a more professional visual presentation of tournament play.

Developing a timely and accurate list of student attendees to Easybridge! classes is dependent on the accuracy of the "Presenter" and their ability to forward that information on to ACBL. As would be expected, some of the presenters have done a better job in this effort than others in this area. It should also be noted that a few of the presenters have opted not to turn their list of students into the ACBL. I believe that this is due to a fear that they might somehow lose these students to the ACBL. (See Chart)

 

D. Member Research

Conducted by Chamblin & Associates focused more specifically on reasons why members renew, or fail to renew, their ACBL memberships. In summary, we found no specific negative or single overriding reason for member non-renewal. The attitude expressed by renewals is barely different from the attitude of non-renewals. This strongly suggests the value of more aggressively soliciting and recruiting members for renewal. It is essential that we standardize and strengthen our "Call-to-Action". (This research was fully reported in the Management Report of May 5, 2000.)

 

E. Monthly Renewal (Billing) Cycle Changes

Through findings in the research and an additional internal analysis, we found that communication being sent to members approaching their annual membership renewal date needed to be updated. By adding an additional step in the renewal process and rearranging the mailing schedule of notices and by eliminating a notification card to lapsing members. We have made the process easier and more convenient for our members to renew their membership.

 

F. Upgrade to ACBL Internet Graphics

In an effort to make the ACBL Internet site more graphically entertaining and interesting, late in 1999 we created a new look for the Internet. Due to the tremendous growth of the site and demand for staff time to make changes, the new format is "coming soon".

 

G. Direct Marketing Testing

Utilizing the data warehouse, we have identified a number of groups of members, past members, and prospects that we will be targeting for direct mail. The first four of these targeted cells were recently mailed, or e-mailed, solicitations regarding membership.(See exhibits) We will be carefully tracking the results of these mailings. In addition, the Sales department, on a test basis, added an additional catalog mailing in late May in an effort to increase retail sales. 15,000 catalogs, new pricing sheets, and product suggestions were mailed to previous customers.

 

H. Unit Marketing Program

Attached is a numerical list of Units (by District) and a notation of the Member Status Reports ACBL has received from the Unit in 2000. Reports for the first quarter of 2000 were due back at ACBL by May 31, 2000. A total of 91 Units have returned all of the first quarter reports. (See exhibits)

 

I. Selection of an Internet Portal Firm

In partnership with i belong we will add additional convenience and utility for our members in using the Internet through this company at no cost to the ACBL. An Internet "portal" is a personally designed page that acts as a starting point whenever someone "logs on" to the Internet. The individual can link to frequently used locations, news, data, and favorite sites on their own personalized page. The service will add additional revenue to the ACBL through the sale, by i belong, of advertising space on the site, and will link members to a number of personally selected or related sites. There is no cost to the ACBL to this affinity royalty program. (See a full description of this program in the exhibits sction.)

 

J. Learn To Play Bridge

LTPB continues to receive rave reviews from users. Approximately 150 downloads of this popular software are taken daily from the ACBL Internet site. To date nearly 50,000 copies have been given free to consumers through this means. An additional 15,000 LTPB discs have been given away at NABCs. As mentioned above an E-mail solicitation for membership to this audience is being tested.

 

K. ACBL Branded Online Bridge Games

Without question, the most significant ACBL marketing event to date will be the opening of an online bridge game at an ACBL hosted site by e-Bridge. Not only will this agreement add considerable fun and value for our members to play bridge online, it will also create the opportunity for the League to reach out to thousands of potential new members.