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USATT Introduces New Rating Access Subscription

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    Posted: 01/27/2020 at 4:46pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 4:53pm
Originally posted by patrickhrdlicka patrickhrdlicka wrote:

Let the barrage of comments begin: https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Features/2020/January/27/USATT-Introduces-New-Rating-Access-Subscription?fbclid=IwAR21BI-uI4tJEe2g7FhekKUfEQZXu4D0_KP1XqMBjZg7e-zN6MafFWAlYNY

Given that access will be free for members, TDs, and everyone who purchased a Tournament Pass (if my reading comprehension is adequate), who else is in the target audience to buy this?

Not sure it will pay for the development effort required to hide ratings behind the login...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patrickhrdlicka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 4:57pm
Provided I understand this memo correctly (it is not written particularly clearly), this is probably one of the most incomprehensible decisions that I have seen come from USATT. My guess is there are a ton of beginning/intermediate players who start out by participating in leagues, get caught up in the competitive notion of wanting to improve their (league) ratings, and who eventually start participating in tournaments and becoming members. From my perspective, this decision will cut off many basement-to-serious TT player transitions, as very few beginners will be willing to pay $25 for access to ratings.   

Edited by patrickhrdlicka - 01/29/2020 at 2:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patrickhrdlicka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 5:01pm
Example: I organize a small league with roughly 80 participants (over the course of ~12 months), out of which no more than 5-10 are currently tournament active. If USATT takes the competitive 'carrot' of league ratings away, even fewer are going to make the jump to tournament participation. Free access to the league rating system was one of the few things I have seen USATT doing to promote TT among the masses.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 5:05pm
Originally posted by patrickhrdlicka patrickhrdlicka wrote:

Example: I organize a small league with roughly 80 participants (over the course of ~12 months), out of which no more than 5-10 are currently tournament active. If USATT takes the competitive 'carrot' of league ratings away, even fewer are going to make the jump to tournament participation. Free access to the league rating system was one of the few things I have seen USATT doing to promote TT among the masses.  

Hmm, you are correct that if League ratings are covered by this change, it might make quite a few people unhappy - plenty of folks in our league are not active USATT members. Of course, nothing stops league organizer from printing out league results/standings on a weekly level, but still.

Curious what Larry Hodges thinks about this - IIRC USATT Leagues are his brainchild. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patrickhrdlicka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 5:12pm
Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

Hmm, you are correct that if League ratings are covered by this change, it might make quite a few people unhappy - plenty of folks in our league are not active USATT members. Of course, nothing stops league organizer from printing out league results/standings on a weekly level, but still.

Curious what Larry Hodges thinks about this - IIRC USATT Leagues are his brainchild. 




"Effective February 1, 2020, access to the USATT Rating System and Individual Rating display for both Tournaments and Leagues will only be available to current USATT members and, for a twelve-month period, to players who participate in a USATT Sanctioned Tournament on a Tournament Pass or who sign up for the new Rating Access Subscription."


Edited by patrickhrdlicka - 01/27/2020 at 5:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dream1700 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 6:05pm
Strangle Ratings Central...
Charge for subscription to an inferior rating system...

Mission Accomplished!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 7:43pm
Originally posted by patrickhrdlicka patrickhrdlicka wrote:

Example: I organize a small league with roughly 80 participants (over the course of ~12 months), out of which no more than 5-10 are currently tournament active. If USATT takes the competitive 'carrot' of league ratings away, even fewer are going to make the jump to tournament participation. Free access to the league rating system was one of the few things I have seen USATT doing to promote TT among the masses.  
======================
+100
Our club with about 100+ members, fewer than 10% are active tournament players. With this change, few will make the jump to become tournament players. It will hurt USATT in the long run.
-----------------------------------
This is what has happened in our club:
1. From time to time we have new players come to the club and start playing league, they got league ratings.
2. Some of them learned that there is a USATT rating. They are curious about what would be their USATT ratings.
3. Then entered a tournament, and got a USATT rating that is substantially lower than their league ratings. (Our league ratings are greatly inflated, due to adjustments made over many years.)
4. Unconvinced, they think they should have higher USATT ratings, then enter another tournament, and so on.
5. USATT benefited from this situation.  Now this situation will not happen in the future, when people can not see their league ratings.  (Doubt anyone will pay $25/year to see their league-ratings.)

Conclusion:  In the short-run, fewer players will pay $25/year to see their league ratings. USATT won't collect much money on this.  
In the long-run, fewer players will jump from playing league to playing tournament than otherwise - that will hurt USATT big time.


Edited by skip3119 - 01/27/2020 at 8:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 7:48pm
Can I pay them to not let anyone but me see my rating?

That might be the quickest way I could claim to be a 2000+ player.

Mark - Always looking for a way to get my rating (real or imagined) up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 8:32pm
Has anyone heard from Larry Hodges as to what he has to say?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2020 at 8:35pm
Yeah - I don't get it either.  The one thing I can imagine is that perhaps the USATT is tired of non-USATT tournament directors using USATT ratings to seed/run their unsanctioned tournaments??

As for the leagues, I agree that hiding the ratings from league players seems counter productive.  But it is my experience that most league players don't bother looking up their league rating on their own.  Before I started printing a name based player list, I would frequently ask players their league rating so that I could find their name faster.  The vast majority had only a general idea.  And frequently, they would ask me what their rating was after I found their name on the list.  The few who did know their league ratings were usually tournament players.  It seems that if a players is concerned about one rating, he's likely concerned about the other.

This is one of those changes that doesn't seem to cause any significant harm, but has me scratching my head wondering, "Why bother?"  Maybe there's a good answer.  I'm just having a hard time imagining one.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 11:33am
It will be a way of cleaning up the membership base.  How and whether this will result in growing it is not clear, but at least, they will be able to focus on making members do specific things.  I think they want to force league players to pay some costs for having their ratings maintained.  That's where the potential extra money is coming from.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote banJunkRubbers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 11:41am
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

It will be a way of cleaning up the membership base.  How and whether this will result in growing it is not clear, but at least, they will be able to focus on making members do specific things.  I think they want to force league players to pay some costs for having their ratings maintained.  That's where the potential extra money is coming from.

Members paying the cost to have ratings maintained?  Aside from the initial data entry, which should be performed by the tournament directors, exactly what costs are associated with maintaining a rating?  If Ethan Figg or USATT can't figure out how to automate the scoring based on tournament results, then perhaps they shouldn't have jobs, seriously.  If they need money to invest in a new system, then they should figure out a budget and work to implement the new system and budget for that project- NOT fund it by intentionally screwing over existing members who love the sport and isolating potential new members.  

There is already no money in the sport for US players, and this just seems to make things worse.  Good job USATT!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mts388 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 11:55am
Originally posted by banJunkRubbers banJunkRubbers wrote:

[If they need money to invest in a new system, then they should figure out a budget and work to implement the new system and budget for that project- NOT fund it by intentionally screwing over existing members who love the sport and isolating potential new members.  

If I read it correctly, they are not screwing over existing members, but charging non members for their services.

 I think I remember that including league ratings into the system would be a way to get non members to join the USATT and play in tournaments.  I guess it didn't work.  They appear to be reversing the system, by trying to get non members to leave the system. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote banJunkRubbers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 12:27pm
It's possible I misinterpreted the statement - and if no impact to existing members then great.  Even so, I fail to see how this helps anyone.  A clean-up of the database should be easily possible without restricting view access to non-members.

Hey, maybe their intention is just to destroy Pongmobile.com.  

For those who listened to Ed Hogshead's audio recording, he eluded to the USATT/Virginia wanting to eliminate lifetime memberships and start charging tournaments for rating fees (and stuff like that -- I don't remember the specifics) in order to increase revenue.  Just based on this initial move, it would seem like this is all shaping up to be completely true. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 1:03pm
After seven or eight years I have let my USATT membership lapse.  My local club started holding a few unsanctioned tournaments a year, and when I'm in the DC area I play leagues.  NOTHING coming out of usatt lately gives me the slightest motivation to support them. 

So I won't be able to look up my league ratings unless I pay. You know what, they post them on the freaking wall at the club.  Geniuses.
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I think it’s important to look at the impact on the clubs which are the foundation of the USATT’s membership and tournament revenue. It’s clear that this program is NOT a benefit to the clubs. 

If the USATT needs to clean their database they should do it based on membership and tournament fees collected (which they should already have in a clean database) NOT player ratings.

The only work/expense involved with reporting league results is entering the results into the software system and this is done at the club level and at the club’s expense. There is no incremental cost to USATT to include data for league players who are club members (but are NOT USATT members) in the ratings reports. 

It should be understood that a club league is a critical key to the health of the clubs as well as an important funnel for bringing in new tournament players. Any unnecessary expense to the league players will result in fewer players which hurts the clubs, and in turn, hurts the USATT.

Whether or not a player obsesses over their rating and is able to quote their exact current rating when asked is not the point. League players clearly strive to improve their rating, even if only indirectly by moving up from one group to another based on skill levels which are ultimately reflected in ratings.

Bottom line: Clubs hosting USATT tournaments and leagues are the lifeblood of the USATT and should have been contacted for input prior to mandating this program.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrLee4ATTC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 1:08pm
Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that the issue isn’t really taking away access to view the report, it’s that the system would not take league match results data for non-members, so there would be nothing to report.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 2:01pm
Originally posted by MrLee4ATTC MrLee4ATTC wrote:

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that the issue isn’t really taking away access to view the report, it’s that the system would not take league match results data for non-members, so there would be nothing to report.
===========
I don't think that's the case. (bold and underlined statement.)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 2:13pm
Originally posted by MrLee4ATTC MrLee4ATTC wrote:

I think it’s important to look at the impact on the clubs which are the foundation of the USATT’s membership and tournament revenue. It’s clear that this program is NOT a benefit to the clubs. 

If the USATT needs to clean their database they should do it based on membership and tournament fees collected (which they should already have in a clean database) NOT player ratings.

The only work/expense involved with reporting league results is entering the results into the software system and this is done at the club level and at the club’s expense. There is no incremental cost to USATT to include data for league players who are club members (but are NOT USATT members) in the ratings reports. 

It should be understood that a club league is a critical key to the health of the clubs as well as an important funnel for bringing in new tournament players. Any unnecessary expense to the league players will result in fewer players which hurts the clubs, and in turn, hurts the USATT.

Whether or not a player obsesses over their rating and is able to quote their exact current rating when asked is not the point. League players clearly strive to improve their rating, even if only indirectly by moving up from one group to another based on skill levels which are ultimately reflected in ratings.

Bottom line: Clubs hosting USATT tournaments and leagues are the lifeblood of the USATT and should have been contacted for input prior to mandating this program.
======================

I agree with this assessment 100%. (I sure wouldn't dream to be able to write that excellent.)

It just hits the bull's eye.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 3:02pm
Originally posted by banJunkRubbers banJunkRubbers wrote:

Members paying the cost to have ratings maintained?  Aside from the initial data entry, which should be performed by the tournament directors, exactly what costs are associated with maintaining a rating?

Physical equipment needs to be powered, maintained, backed up etc.  Manual intervention needs to be made from time to time to correct errors.  I don't see how these costs add up to $25 per person per year, but there are real costs. The fee makes no sense to me from the players standpoint.  It might make sense from the standpoint of trying to keep USATT "competitors" from using USATT data. I just don't know enough about how much of that kind of thing is going on.

Originally posted by banJunkRubbers banJunkRubbers wrote:

If Ethan Figg or USATT can't figure out how to automate the scoring based on tournament results, then perhaps they shouldn't have jobs, seriously.  If they need money to invest in a new system, then they should figure out a budget and work to implement the new system and budget for that project- NOT fund it by intentionally screwing over existing members who love the sport and isolating potential new members.

The current system is relatively new.  And as far as I know, Ethan Figg didn't create it.  It is just part of his duties to use and maintain it.  The system is semi-automated in that tournament directors submit files in a specific format that are input into the system.  Once input, the system calculates ratings, etc.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrLee4ATTC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 3:22pm
Whether or not non-USATT member data is included will not impact:

“Physical equipment needs to be powered, maintained, backed up etc.  Manual intervention needs to be made from time to time to correct errors”
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 3:36pm
Someone posted this on Mytt.  Maybe something like this is driving the USATT:

In Germany you are able to see quarterly updated ratings for free. If you want to see exact ratings after every event you have to pay as well.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote amateur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 4:19pm
There was discussion about this in the December Board minutes (toward the end).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patrickhrdlicka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 5:05pm
Page 55: https://www.teamusa.org/-/media/USA_Table_Tennis/Images/News/01-20/Minutes---Board---2019-12-15.pdf?la=en&hash=92C5549891865FBF08BDF4866EB53D39CC600A59

"We are decreasing the membership. We look at other NGB membership structures. Our membership is actually very high. The purpose is to attract more members. One thing we’ll do at Nationals next year is to have the clubs involved. The members have to say they belong to a club and the club has to be affiliated with us. This way we will get more clubs involved in our events. Next year is Olympic year; we don’t want too many changes."

The sections on P54-58 are mind-boggling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 6:21pm
Originally posted by patrickhrdlicka patrickhrdlicka wrote:


The sections on P54-58 are mind-boggling.

Wow.  Virginia Sung seems to think that players are "widgets" and that you can fix things by doing some simple math and adjustments to fees. Just Wow!

It seems to me that the changed membership fee structure was an experiment to see if you could raise revenues by allowing Tournament Pass entries.  And now Virginia wants to change back (with higher fees) and not bother to look at whether the previous experiment worked or not???

Also, why does she think all of these players will be loyal to an organization that doesn't given them any more than token representation?? Keep in mind that it is the Board that was recently gutted.  The CEO still has her office.  Players currently have zero representation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pongfugrasshopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 9:31pm
I do not see what value this change brings to the membership.  As a paying member, I really have no desire for ratings to be exclusive to members only or tournament players only.  If easy access to ratings helps a new player understand the ratings system or piques their interest, then I'm all for that.  Or at the other end of the spectrum, if someone who used to be a member has to stop playing due to injury or whatever reason, I find it somewhat petty to make them pay a $25 annual fee to access the ratings database.  If anything, it may contribute to them losing interest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2020 at 9:53pm
Originally posted by pongfugrasshopper pongfugrasshopper wrote:

If anything, it may contribute to them losing interest.

Right.  The USATT CEO seems to forget that players are people and that their reactions to fees and costs are often more complicated than one might think at first. I know for certain that there are a lot of players in the Phoenix Metro area that don't play in our tournaments precisely because they don't wan't to pay extra fees to USATT.  Many of these same people won't pay fees to play at our club but will show up if we have a no-fee tournament.  These small dollar amounts matter to many people. 

The USATT should do some kind of analysis to see whether the new membership scheme resulted in a net gain in players per tournament and or if it produced a net gain in new people playing in tournaments.
 That would be good to know before experimenting once again with new membership schemes.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/29/2020 at 11:20am
There was a comment in board minutes about requiring players in tournaments to be members of an USATT  member club.  This was supposed to help clubs get more members.

Since I travel all year it looks like my USATT  membership and tournament participation would be over. 

Anyone hear if they are really going to go through with that idea along with the limited ratings lookup, drop tournament pass, and add rating fee at each tournament ideas?

Mark -  Someone really wants people like me out of the game of TT.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patrickhrdlicka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/29/2020 at 11:49am
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Anyone hear if they are really going to go through with that idea along with the limited ratings lookup, drop tournament pass, and add rating fee at each tournament ideas?

These are the official and approved USATT minutes reporting statements made by the CEO. It certainly looks like we are heading in that direction. And the rating subscription is to be implemented by SATURDAY. 

I cannot fathom why they - instead of the above-mentioned measures, which will only serve to alienate prospective members - don't simply institute an increase in the tournament pass, to e.g., $30 or even $35 (anyone playing more than two tournaments per year would get a 1-yr membership). While bothersome to some, this would be FAR LESS controversial, than cutting off prospective/low-frequency members from becoming/remaining part of the game.  


Edited by patrickhrdlicka - 01/29/2020 at 11:51am
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