From Marcus Boni of the Specialty Coffee Association of America:
With the successful close of the 2009/2010 United States Barista Championship season, SCAA staff has analyzed the overall USBC regional and national program. With a 30% average increase in the number of competitors at each regional event we feel that it is important to identify a strategic plan for the program to ensure its success and sustainability in order to provide maximum value for all parties involved.
This past year the USBC regional program saw dramatic increases in the number of barista competitors at the regional level. SCAA, along with our regional hosts and sponsors, produced 9 regional competitions, averaging 27 competitors per region. While competitor interest remained very strong, event expenses ran higher than expected. Each regional competition cost $16,000 on average to produce, breaking down to roughly $500 per competitor. With a maximum current competitor registration fee of $50.00 ($25.00 for BGA members), this means that 90% of event costs were dependent on sponsorship. To address this imbalance, SCAA has identified fiscal aspects in need of change for the 2010‐11 program year. These changes will ensure sustainability of the USBC regional program while continuing to deliver a high value, high caliber competition. The following are the immediate changes to the USBC program:
Redrawing the regional map to six regions‐
Historically the USBC regional map split the country into ten different regions, each holding an independent competition (in special circumstances, regions were combined). At the inception of the USBC program, 10 regions were identified in hopes of growing local support in each region. The higher quantity of regions has an obvious impact on event production and costs with national sponsorship dollars being spread among 10 regions. With fewer events, SCAA staff can focus on executing excellent competitions while maximizing distribution of national sponsorship dollars.
Here are the new regions, with lists of states included in each:
• NORTH WEST: WA, OR, AK, ID, MT, WY
• NORTH EAST: OH, WV, MA, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME
• SOUTH CENTRAL: KS, MO, OK, TX, AR, LA, MS
• NORTH CENTRAL: ND, SD, NE, MN, IA, WI, IL, IN, MI
• SOUTH WEST: HI, CA, NV, AZ, UT, NM, CO
• SOUTH EAST: KY, VA, TN, NC, SC, AL, GA, FL, DC
Increase in Competitor Registration Fees‐
Evaluating the costs to produce a high‐quality regional barista competition (as stated above, roughly $500 per barista competitor per event), we have identified the necessity to increase the competitor registration fees. The new competition registration fee price will be announced later this year.
Recognizing that the new fees represent a significant increase compared to previous years, SCAA staff will also be creating new opportunities to highlight companies and individuals choosing to support barista competitors through financial sponsorships. These initiatives include Equipment and Roaster Recognition programs, Competitor Profiles on the USBC website, and the opportunity for relationship development among baristas and event supporters.
Deciding to compete as a Barista competitor is an enormous commitment with incredible opportunities in professional growth and development. We feel that the new fee structure helps demonstrate that commitment as well as articulate transparency in overall event expenses.
These significant changes represent the continued focus of aligning the USBC program with the overall mission of SCAA. The regional and national barista competitions have a tremendous opportunity to focus on the Barista as the point of contact with consumers as well as provide participants with professional development. We encourage your questions and feedback directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Marcus Boni at 562‐624‐ 4187.