“Did you know–62.7 percent of all bridge players are women? 43.6 percent of all slam contracts fail? And 97.8 percent of all bridge statistics, including these, are made up?“
Almost every collection of bridge humor includes a version of the above.
If there is one thing bridge needs it’s an investment in statistics–just how many people DO play bridge? Where are they and what are the demographics? How many have said, or made New Year’s Resolution, “I want to learn to play bridge” — and haven’t yet done so. How many used to play bridge but gave it up and why?
If one of the many business tycoons addicted to playing bridge want to do something for the game–finance a truly comprehensive search for bridge statistics and an educated estimate, at least, of what I call the subterranean worlds of bridge that exist beneath any media radar. Clues exist as to where they can be found–and there’s social media and the internet to find them.
Just for starters–how many ACBL subscribers were there in 2012? Participants seeking official Masters Points? How do these figures compare to figures for say, 1937 and 1957 and what was the adult population of the U.S.A. in each of these years?
Using the web of official ACBL Clubs, a really thorough search for statistics could involve a trained researcher visiting each ACBL club surveying that “territory” for the existence of non-ACBL sites whether serious or sociable bridge. One word-of-mouth “lead” would lead to others. Senior centers, AARP affiliates, country clubs, commercially run bridge games or bridge marathons. ALL OF THESE EXIST WITHIN A 10-MILE RADIUS OF WHERE I LIVE and people who play bridge are aware of their existence whether they participate in them or not. If it happens here, it happens everywhere to some degree.
I know nothing about it and I realize it’s complicated but experts exist who could come up with figures for people who only play bridge on the internet and those who do so in addition to playing with ACBL affiliates or playing sociable bridge.
Armed with an expertly-created questionnaire for each “world of bridge” there’s no reason why a compiled list of names, addresses, email addresses of those who play bridge couldn’t be compiled, eliminating duplicates, that included the various worlds of bridge that exist– from ACBL-ers to internet players to at home sociable bridge clubs.
Expensive? Of course, but worth a grant or two from the many business tycoons addicted to bridge. And just what ACBL’s Marketing Director needs. That plus a decision to market to potential bridge players beyond the duplicate/tournament world.