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How to improve spectator numbers at DanceSport Competitions

The cost of holding DanceSport competitions has risen dramatically over time. So has the general admission price - which deters spectators.

Fewer spectators means that competitors will have to bear these expenses. Fewer spectators also means less atmosphere - and who doesn’t love a big cheering crowd to perform to! Fewer spectators simply leads to fewer spectators.

Big name venues are very expensive when admission price is in the range of $60 - $75 each. This is not affordable for most families and friends who want to support their loved ones. Some competitions have been forced to move from such venues, to lower-priced ones, due to unsustainable running costs.

Interestingly, lower cost competitions where admission tickets are approximately $40 tend to have a much better crowd turnout and sometimes even sell out.

Making competitions more affordable for spectators

The best way to get more spectators at competitions is by making them more affordable. It's that simple.

Most of the people currently attending events are competitors. So most of the money collected is paid by the competitors. If we can change how competitors pay, but NOT change the overall amount they pay, it will not affect how much money the competition was getting previously.

In the past, a competitor paid an entry fee to attend a competition. Spectators paid the same fee. In the future, there will be an admission fee and a competition entry fee. Everyone pays the admission fee but only competitors pay the competition entry fee.

The competition entry fee is a ‘user pays’ system where competitors pay a fee according to how many dance events they wish to participate in.

If the average entry fee costs about half the old entry price and the new entry price costs about half the old entry price, then the competitor is paying about the same as before.

This means that competition organisers should expect a similar number of competitors as last time, since the overall cost for competitors has not really changed. So the money collected to pay for the competition will remain unchanged. However, as the new admission costs about half the old entry price, it means that the competition is much more affordable for spectators!

Proven successful at Wollongong

We recently trailed the new approach at the DANCE championship in Wollongong. Spectators just paid the admission fee and competitors paid both the admission fee and competition entry fee. It was very successful and we had a great turn out of spectators.

How we get more spectators to DanceSport competitions

How to get more spectators

An example of pricing in the new method

How this method works is best shown with an example. Let's assume the old cost was $75 and the new fee is $40, as follows:

Proposed Venue Admission fee 

Everyone: spectator and competitor - $40

Example cost for competitor doing 1 or 3 events

Category (per person)

Admission Fee (everyone pays this)

Competition Entry Fee - first event (per person)

Total for 1 event

Competition Entry Fee - 2 additional events (per person)

Total for 3 events

Teacher/Student (Single dance events)






Pro/Am (Multiple dance events)






Recreational (couples)












Amateur adult and above






Amateur junior and juvenile






Note: Statistically competitors do an average of 3.5 events.

You can see from the table that most competitors are paying the same if not slightly less than in the old system.


Improved spectator pricing DanceSport competitions

Old vs new scheme

New approach helps to reduce other costs

In the past, running a competition was simple. A venue was booked (for a small amount), adjudicators were hired and tickets were sold at a modest price that made a profit.

Today managing an event is complicated and expensive and we are struggling to break-even. 

There are many unavoidable costs:

Reducing ticketing charges

Some of the bigger competitions require the use of ticketing agencies like TicketMaster that charge an average of 9% of ticket sales (i.e. compulsory). Further, these agencies do not release funds until after the competition date. In the new scheme, about half the ticket money will be collected upfront, via the new competition entry fee. It will be handled through the p5000 entry system with PayPal. This will significantly reduce ticketing costs and improve cash flow.

Eliminating competitor absenteeism

Another expense is when competitors don’t turn up even though they have registered. This creates over-supply costs and a drop in expected revenue - quite a headache for the organisers. An analysis shows that when people pre-pay, they turn up:

As the new scheme has the competition entry fee paid upfront as part of registration, it is likely that competitor absenteeism will be eliminated.

The competitor entry fee is an exciting move forward for our magnificent sport and the best way to get more spectators at our competition.

Further information: contact Dallas Williams, President, DanceSport Australia via email: dallas.williams@rocketmail.com, or by phone: 0417 360 400

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