THE CONTINUING decline in show entries may mean that societies will have no alternative but to increase entry fees substantially, the Kennel Club believes.
And despite ‘rigorous cost control and creative income-generating schemes’, this may be unavoidable.
This is the thrust of the Kennel Gazette’s Viewpoint column in which the writer says the KC must review the processes for determination of the allocation of CCs in ways which not only safeguard the value of the champion title but also take account of the performance and viability of the societies which organise the shows.
"We live in changing times and those of us who are engaged in a hobby that has endured since the mid-19th century need to adapt to the times or face the consequences of not doing so,” the column reads.
"We are continuing to see a decline in the number of dogs entered at all types of shows. The fall in entries at open shows has been ongoing for the best part of two decades and in recent times the trend has begun to encompass breed club and group/general championship shows.
"There is no indication of any reversal of this trend and, in fact, anyone with even the most basic knowledge of trend analysis would conclude that any meaningful degree of recovery within the foreseeable future is extremely optimistic.”
Before the mid-1970s, the column states, general championship shows were one or two-day events attracting up to 4,000 dogs and entry fees were in the region of £2 with an additional charge for benching.
"In the present day most general championship shows are three or four-day events and depending on their location and CC allocation attract entries, with the exception of Crufts, of between 5,000 and 10,000 dogs,” it states, going on to suggest the £2 entry fee in 1972 was the equivalent of £42.10 today.
"Therefore, present-day entry fees at general championship shows offer arguably better value for money than 40 years ago. In 1972 a show that attracted an entry of 4,000 dogs at an entry fee of £2 generated income with an economic power in terms of present day value of £181,000, whereas in 2012 a show that charges £25 per entry and receives less than 7,250 dogs is actually generating an income with less economic power than its 1972 counterpart with just 4,000 dogs.
"In 1972 the VAT component of a £2 entry fee was £0.19 whereas in 2012 the VAT component on a £25 entry fee amounts to £4.17.”
Group and general championship shows can no longer rely on sponsorship, the writer continued.
"Interest on invested assets is derisory and we live in a time of economic austerity. The pool of dedicated exhibitors and show-breeders is diminishing and the numbers of dogs being bred and registered appears to be falling.
"Demographic and socio-economic trends have brought about changes in the living standards, life style and aspirations of the UK population which is doubtless contributing to the dwindling numbers of existing breeders and exhibitors and the low overall rate of attracting and retaining new participants.”
There is no quick fix, the writer states, but there are options which could be considered; simple economics dictate that shows must be managed in ways that minimise and control costs while generating sufficient income to match necessary costs.
"Show organisers must look at ways to optimise income and attract sufficiently large entries to justify their allocation of CCs. Judges who consistently attract below average entries may well find that they start to receive fewer invitations. Exhibitors will need to recognise that a time will come, despite the most rigorous cost control and creative income generating schemes, when there may be no alternative but to substantially increase entry fees.”
bit of a catch 22, a lot of the reason for the fall in entries is the cost of entries, and especially fuel costs. In my own breed the non CC classes at championship shows have largely held their own compared to previous years, but the entry at shows with CC's and higher entry fees has halved, sometimes lower than at the non CC shows. So the cost of entry must be part of the reason for the drop in entries and this will be even worse if entry fees rise.
If entry fees keep rising, entries will keep declining. People have only so much money to spend and it is getting more difficult to justify the cost of dog shows when you have other bills to pay. I would suggest that clubs consider holding their shows over 2 days to accomodate their lower entries instead of 3 or 4 days, thus reducing their cost of venue. TKC may consider allowing more than one show at the same venue on a weekend as they do in the States, again helping the exhibitor by cutting down on travel costs. It would be a terrible shame if dog shows became a rich man's game, like horse shows are.
Does KC not realise that the main reason entries are declining is that people simply can't afford to enter shows. Putting up entry fees will simply reduce entries further. In my breed KC has taken away CCs from all but ONE show that's within reasonable reach. We in the North of England now only have CCs at Driffield. Just one CC show between Stafford and Scotland. We just can't afford to keep travelling down to the Midlands and further and staying overnight. Huge entry fees plus the cost of fuel is just too expensive. I just entered two dogs at the Hound Show and booked a B&B for one night. The day before the show my young dog went lame so I couldn't go. That's £49 in entry fees and £20 deposit on a B&B thrown away. As a pensioner I definitely can't afford to burn money like that.
Join the real world KC- the more expensive it gets the more people will stop showing. Look at CC allocation instead and spread it more fairly over the country.