USFS' new "event management system" replacing Entryeeze.

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just tuned in

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The USFS has launched a platform to replace Entryeeze. While I see the advantages for event organizers, fans are left out. One of the advantages of Entryeeze was that fans were able to access detailed schedules. These detailed schedules added to my ability to follow events online and in person.

With EMS, it seems that we have lost that functionality. Is there a way for fans to view detailed competition schedules going forward? I sent an email to [email protected].

https://www.usfigureskating.org/content/EMS - NQ Registration How To.pdf
 

Sylvia

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I believe EMS was used for skater registration this year at both the Lake Placid Figure Skating & Ice Dance Championships, as well as Skate Detroit, Glacier Falls, and the Philadelphia comp. The host clubs published event schedules on their respective websites. ETA: Broadmoor Skating Club has never used Entryeeze and, AFAIK, still handled their own registration for the 2018 Broadmoor Open/Peggy Fleming Trophy/Aerial Challenge.

Entryeeze is still being used by many U.S. clubs this season for non-qualifying competition registration.
 
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Debbie S

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As Sylvia said, clubs can use whatever registration system they want for their own comps. USFS is using its own system for qual comp registration, as it has for years, but for non-qual, their EMS is just an option. I've heard it's not that user-friendly and after reading on here about the mess with the volunteer sign-ups at Nats with the EMS, I'm glad my club stuck with Entryeeze, as did most this season. But Entryeeze is not that user-friendly either...from both a mgmt perspective and an entrant perspective. And don't get me started on their vol sign-up and membership mechanisms. But neither fans nor USFS care about that.

And no, USFS doesn't care whether fans can access schedules and entry lists for club comps. B/c fans aren't who those comps are run for...they are run for the skaters and coaches, and for the fundraising benefit of the host club.
 
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They used EMS for South Atlantic Regionals last year and it was a nightmare! Scheduling practice ice was horrific.

My guess is switch to EMS is all part of the conversion to the summer competition series. My guess is that if the organizers want their competition to potentially qualify top skaters for a bye to Sectionals, then the organizers will need to use EMS. For skaters there will be alot of benefits since it to show you how you are ranked across the country but for fans, well I don't see any benefits.
 

Aceon6

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I’m sorry, the registration system is for the participants and organizers. Ideally, it should be highly encrypted so that only those with a need to know would have access to both personal information and the athlete’s detailed schedule. I’m guessing that Entryeeze’s multiple security flaws might have factored in the switch.
 
Thread starter #7
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USFS needs a way to communicate detailed schedules to the fans. USFS says they want to increase engagement and viewership, but this appears to me to be a step in the opposite direction. It remains to be seen if LOCs have the time or web skills to post schedules or entry lists with the names of skaters. Going forward, I guess we will have to rely on @Sylvia and her sources... :)
 

gkelly

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USFS needs a way to communicate detailed schedules to the fans.
For Nationals and Skate America, yes. Maybe the other small internationals they now host.

For local club competitions, even for regionals and sectionals, why?

These are not entertainment products produced for audiences and generating income. The rinks they're held in usually can't accommodate many spectators, they usually charge no admission fee or nominal fees if any, most of the work of running them is done by far too few volunteers. Most of the income needed to run the events is from skaters' registration fees; if income exceeds expenses, the host club can make some
profit to use toward other club activities that lose money. If the expenses exceed income, the club loses money.

Would you be willing to pay for information, or for admission (even if standing room only for senior events?) or access to videos? Would you be willing to join your local club and volunteer your time to help these events run smoothly? (Even if you don't live near a rink, would you join a club and volunteer as a webmaster or public outreach person?)

Of course, with the direction SafeSport is heading, if you wanted to do any volunteering that involved contact with the underage club members you would probably need to undergo a background check in the near future.

Remember, most of the participants at these events are kids, and most of them will never be famous and their skating will not be of much interest to fans of elite skating.
 
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Thread starter #9
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^ So I guess the audiences should be only parents and grandparents. Fine.

(And of course I do pay for access to videos. I am nostalgic for last year: had video playing on one screen, Icenetwork hosting updating scores in a second window, and FSU in a third.)
 

Theoreticalgirl

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Before everyone starts carping about the EMS: I think it's worth noting that it was launched very early in its development, which is why 2018 Nats/etc was a sh*tshow for volunteer signups/etc. A lot of the bugs have been ironed out since then.

Having registered for comps this upcoming season with EMS, it is much better. I do like having EMS tied to my test history at USFS, which has eliminated a lot of the guesswork out of which levels I can compete in, as my own test history, is, um, unique.

Re: Entryeeze. I don't really love using a third-party service, particularly one that lacks a centralized user account management system and requires me to enter PIN for every. single. event (on top of charging clubs a fee to use the service).
 

Theoreticalgirl

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USFS needs a way to communicate detailed schedules to the fans. USFS says they want to increase engagement and viewership, but this appears to me to be a step in the opposite direction. It remains to be seen if LOCs have the time or web skills to post schedules or entry lists with the names of skaters. Going forward, I guess we will have to rely on @Sylvia and her sources... :)
Uh, have you ever bothered just looking at the USFS events page for club comps? Yeah, it's not the greatest, but it does have at the bare minimum contact info for a LOC. Beyond that, if you really need more info, um, just reach out to the club?

http://www.usfsa.org/events?id=84015
 

MacMadame

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I am completely gobsmacked that people think any sporting organization should pick the software they use to *manage* (not market) events to please fans. I know of no other sports organization that caters to fans in it's event management software.
 

Debbie S

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What some people clearly fail to grasp is that there is the grassroots level of skating, and there is the elite level. At the grassroots level, clubs run comps as both a fundraiser and to support the local skating community, to give skaters a chance to compete. Most skaters at club comps will never make it to Sectionals, much less Nats. They train and compete for the love of the sport. The host club's priority is to make the comp a smooth experience for them and their coaches and families, so that they will have a good time and will want to come back the following year. The event registration system, whichever one the club uses, is (or should be) designed for ease of use by the organizers and participants, not for any fans who might want to stop by and watch.

There may be elite skaters who decide to enter and compete their programs to get some practice, or perhaps for monitoring, but they are managed like any other comp entrant. Some comps are designated as monitoring events for skaters in the ISP, and those often have some additional criteria from USFS (judges and officials with, at minimum, nat'l appointments and preferably int'l appointments) but the management and logistics of those comps is basically the same as any other club comp. If there are schedule changes, they are communicated to the skaters and coaches via the registration system, b/c that's the most convenient way for comp organizers to let them know. Those running the comp are not marketing or event mgmt professionals, they are volunteers.

At the elite level, you have the skaters who are on TV, who compete at Nats and the GP, whose presence encourages fans to buy tickets to events or watch on TV (that will lead to higher ratings and revenue for USFS). It's those skaters and comps USFS wants to and should promote. That's why the schedules are posted on the USFS website, in Skating Magazine, and on the broadcaster's TV listings, and the skaters competing are identified and promoted heavily.
 

Aceon6

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^ So I guess the audiences should be only parents and grandparents. Fine.
No one NEEDS access to detailed schedules for competitors other than the athlete, coach, and the athlete’s family. If you enjoy lower level comps, just show up/log on and support everyone! If you follow a particular lower level skater, reach out to their team, identify yourself, and ask for access. It’s a safety issue. Please be respectful.
 

MacMadame

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^^^THIS x 1000.

Think of this way: if your kid plays Little League, would you like it if anyone one in the world could log onto a computer and find out exactly where and when they are playing? It's beyond creepy, not to mention not safe at all.

Even if you follow a major sport, you don't get that kind of information and you certainly don't log onto their management system to get information! You go to their website and you get what they decide to give you.
 

Tavi

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I understand that US clubs have limited budgets and rely on volunteers, but I find it a little confusing that small Canadian competitions like Wild Rose are able to provide entry lists, free streaming, and protocols, while the US does not. Their system seems so practical and efficient.

Is the US system very different?
 
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I've been working in IT for four decades, and I've never encountered a system, no matter how crappy, that:

1. Wasn't used "off label" to someone's great benefit, and, by being condoned, set the expectation that it was a feature of the system
2. For which the replacement didn't cause pain when it didn't provide the "off label" use.

And while there's no obligation to provide that feature in the new system, I don't think that people have to jump through hoops defined by someone else's criteria to prove that they somehow deserve what they've been getting all along.
 

Debbie S

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I understand that US clubs have limited budgets and rely on volunteers, but I find it a little confusing that small Canadian competitions like Wild Rose are able to provide entry lists, free streaming, and protocols, while the US does not. Their system seems so practical and efficient.

Is the US system very different?
Many U.S. club comps post protocols with the results. As for entry lists, see upthread, we've covered that. I don't know what registration system Canadian comps use (I think some do use Entryeeze; at least, there is an option to choose comps in Canada in their website search mechanism).

As for free streaming, we've covered that in another thread. From what I gather, it seems that the grassroots level in Canada may have more funding/central governance - the U.S. is divided into regions and sections for qualifying purposes and there is a designated sectional VP from each on the USFS board of directors, but they mainly serve a communications purpose, i.e. there is no "executive director" or whatever Ted Barton is called. And there is no budget to support streaming at the grassroots level outside of what USFS has contracted with its vendors for qualifying comps. There have been some comps this summer that have had a live stream, offered by a vendor external to the club and provided for a fee (since the vendor's goal is to make money).
 

overedge

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Skate Canada uses a event registration management system called Uplifter which I believe is also used by clubs to register members. That means the skaters don't have to re-enter all their personal info (e.g. contact info, tests passed) every time they register for a competition.

I've heard varying things about how well it works. I'm sure though that it's better than when it was first used, because there were a lot of complaints about it then (as is probably the case with any new system ).

I just wish that federations would quit using software that only posts results as PDF files. Those are a pain in the butt to open and read, especially on a lot of mobile devices.
 

Tavi

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Many U.S. club comps post protocols with the results. As for entry lists, see upthread, we've covered that. I don't know what registration system Canadian comps use (I think some do use Entryeeze; at least, there is an option to choose comps in Canada in their website search mechanism).

As for free streaming, we've covered that in another thread. From what I gather, it seems that the grassroots level in Canada may have more funding/central governance - the U.S. is divided into regions and sections for qualifying purposes and there is a designated sectional VP from each on the USFS board of directors, but they mainly serve a communications purpose, i.e. there is no "executive director" or whatever Ted Barton is called. And there is no budget to support streaming at the grassroots level outside of what USFS has contracted with its vendors for qualifying comps. There have been some comps this summer that have had a live stream, offered by a vendor external to the club and provided for a fee (since the vendor's goal is to make money).
I’m sure US clubs are doing the very best they can with limited staffing and resources, but it’s too bad USFS apparently doesn’t see the value in centralized governance and support as one means of growing the sport by providing fans with access and information. I personally would be willing to pay for that, just as I did for Ice Network, etc. The problem with streams provided by private vendors is that they’re not available for all competitions, they’re often really expensive, and while sometimes they’re great, they are sometimes awful. As to protocols, they obviously have to exist for each comp because someone wins - but often the most that’s published are the scores.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be practical for USFS to provide streaming and support for every single club for every single comp - but for major club comps like Broadmoor, Philly, Lake Placid, etc - where members of Team USA may get monitored and debut new programs - it would be great.
 

vesperholly

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I used EMS to register for Adult Nationals this year and I thought it worked pretty well.

Also, the spectator entrance fee for ANs was $20 PER DAY. So, someone somewhere is thinking of these events as an entertainment product.
 

Tavi

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Lower levels don't use IJS and sometimes the user levels don't either at a lot of the smaller comps
True. I guess was thinking more along the lines of the larger junior and senior competitions. For example, Broadmoor Open was the first US competition to use the new scoring system but I don’t think I saw actual protocols. I think being able to review those and compare them to a video would be useful to skaters and coaches who didn’t participate as well as interesting to nerds like me. :) But it is what it is and probably won’t change so I guess I won’t worry about it.
 
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^^^THIS x 1000.

Think of this way: if your kid plays Little League, would you like it if anyone one in the world could log onto a computer and find out exactly where and when they are playing? It's beyond creepy, not to mention not safe at all.

Even if you follow a major sport, you don't get that kind of information and you certainly don't log onto their management system to get information! You go to their website and you get what they decide to give you.
I am not trying to find out their hotel for chrissakes. I just am interested, for comps in my area, who is skating when.

Shocked at the backlash here. Whatever.
 
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True. I guess was thinking more along the lines of the larger junior and senior competitions. For example, Broadmoor Open was the first US competition to use the new scoring system but I don’t think I saw actual protocols. I think being able to review those and compare them to a video would be useful to skaters and coaches who didn’t participate as well as interesting to nerds like me. :) But it is what it is and probably won’t change so I guess I won’t worry about it.
I'm confused. Ezentry never showed the protocols. It was up to the host SC to post them. From what I saw, most were not posted at least for the summer competitions (scores were posted but protocols were not).

Maybe you all were aware of this but I just noticed it last night. The old Ice Network scores (and protocols) for Regionals, Sectionals, and Nationals have been moved to the USFS Fan Page.
 

Skittl1321

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I used EMS to register for Adult Nationals this year and I thought it worked pretty well.

Also, the spectator entrance fee for ANs was $20 PER DAY. So, someone somewhere is thinking of these events as an entertainment product.
Or they were thinking "a lot of these adults will bring a spouse, partner, child, friend. We should get some more money out of them, because it's freaking expensive to host this."
 

gkelly

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I am not trying to find out their hotel for chrissakes. I just am interested, for comps in my area, who is skating when.

Shocked at the backlash here. Whatever.
The backlash is because you expressed your preference as if fan convenience were something that USFS should plan for when designing/choosing an event management system.

Of all possible functionalities that are must-haves or nice-to-haves in such a system, fan convenience would be at the bottom of the list of priorities if it would even make it onto the list at all.

Club competitions and the online documentation thereof have historically been extremely decentralized. That may become less so in the not-too-distant future, but for reasons that have nothing to do with pleasing fans. If that happens in a way that happens to serve your needs, consider yourself the beneficiary of a lucky byproduct.

If you really want to keep up with grassroots skating in your area, your best bet is to get involved directly with one or more local clubs.

I always think of these events as activities that the federation (qualifying competitions) and the clubs (nonqualifying) hold for the benefit of the participants and the host organization. To the extent that outsiders are allowed to come in (or access videos) to watch the skating, that's a bonus for us outsiders who may be interested. But for any given event, the number of interested fans is usually much smaller than the number of participants/friends/family.

And if the host clubs or video vendors are charging fees to the skaters and their friends and families to watch, then fans would need to pay the same.

Elite events that charge hundreds of dollars for access are different -- at those prices, they'd better provide value for money.
 
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Carolla5501

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The backlash is because you dared to think that USFS would even want a fan to know when an event occurs or who might be skating.

What they want us to do is send them a large check and go away. Building a fan base is not a priority.
 

gkelly

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I wouldn't put it that way, in this context.

When it comes to the elite events it hosts, yes, I think USFS wants fans to buy tickets at a high price and not make demands that interfere with the process of running the events for the skaters and with the demands of the broadcast companies who write bigger checks to package the skating into an entertainment product for casual fans.

When it comes to club competitions, USFS doesn't want or expect anything from fans. Including money.

USFS doesn't host club competitions, and they don't make any money off those competitions. If there are any profits (which is not a guarantee), they would go to the host clubs.



...Assuming building a fan base were a priority for USFS, where do you think they should start? That might be a good topic for a separate thread. I think I'll start one.
 

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