Higher costs for non-OUSA members is a barrier to national meet attendance at a number of clubs (e.g. COC, LAOC)
I see that you've got CascadeOC listed here, and I'm curious where this came from. Obviously, I wasn't at the board meeting.
I've addressed elsewhere about the barriers for Cascade hosting a national meet, but reading this seems to be about individuals attending national meets.
Isn't the higher cost just $4 per ranked race for non-OUSA members? For a club that's pretty isolated from the rest of the orienteering market in the country, I would wager that travel durations and expenses (flights, car rentals, lodging) are the highest barriers.
Heck, I would wager that the event cost for members is a higher barrier than member savings. For example, early registration for Rochester's* national meet is $30 per race for non-members, $26 for members. For someone who registers early for CascadeOC events ($7-12), I think the bigger barrier is the $26-30 race early entry, not the $4 difference.
(I'm not suggesting that national meet entry fees are too high. I'm just saying that if someone is noting that $4 is a barrier, then they are also noting that event entry fees are also barriers.)
* I picked Rochester because it was linked on AP's front page, so it was easy to get to.
Oops, I think that's a mistake on my part. The notes were based on Clare's remark that there wasn't a substantial material difference between LAOC national meets and local meets, and the added cost for recreational orienteers and non-members disincentivizes hosting national meets. I've heard this argument in other places, e.g. NEOC. I somehow lumped that into the challenges you have in COCland - that with the quality terrain in the east, the distance creates such attrition that local meets are potentially larger than your national meets.
I do think the cost may be a barrier of entry for neophytes. Consider that a family of 4 running SML at the US Champs might pay in excess of $400 for registration fees.
Those meet fees can add up and might fall into a category of why the sport loses athletes in their early 20s. Lots of examples of these costs being looked after when going to events as a family or junior teams, but suddenly someone is 21 and on their own.
$100 in meet fees for a 3 day event is maybe a lot, but not more than other kinds of entertainment or athletic events. The big cost item is the $1000 you might spend on transportation and lodging. Hard to get around if we are going to attend national meets and go interesting places, but a real barrier to the cash-strapped.
Definitely a quandary because local meets are so "cheap" comparatively, but the next step up is relatively pricey. Only the most addicted will take that step. The puzzle is how to get them addicted...varying formats may be an avenue.
At a DVOA local meet today someone was saying the Bike O held last weekend was underpriced. But then again if you paid as much for a local meet as for, say, a 5km ($25-30) some people couldn't justify the cost every week. Perhaps NEOC's model where you pay a slightly higher membership rate but have "free" entry to events all year (however many there might be) is an option.
The Springfield running club has been putting on a winter series set of alternating 5 and 10 Ks for over 35 years. Run December through February every Saturday morning. Never missed one Saturday due to weather, even a Friday blizzard some folks did the course. Charge of $5/. Results are usually posted by end of day. Typical attendance is 70-150.
I think that model works and I see running races using it. If it is a "training" event then keep things really barebones with a super low cost. "Races" are in the $25-30 range, you get all the bells and whistles and you notice them.
Of course, NAOC 2016 begged to differ.
The $25-30 and higher 5/10 k race is primarily a charity event using the race to raise more money. The runners are incidental.