Date: May 03, 2017
Hello Sport Stacking families,
To begin with, please know we 100% value your input and participation in the stacking community. Your voices are being heard and they are very much part of the decision making process. We always attempt to make the best decision for the sport as well as for the brand behind the sport and so wanted to share some of our reasoning in the hope it can help bring understanding. We are not asking you to agree or disagree, rather seeking your understanding. We do realize there are many sides to all issues and it is okay to have differences but in the end we all love this sport and collectively want to see it succeed.
The decision to prohibit cups without the Speed Stacks logo at all WSSA sanctioned events, boils down to how WSSA events are funded. The WSSA is primarily funded by Speed Stacks Inc. Yes the WSSA is partially supported by event registration fees from our marquee events such as our World Championships and the AAU Junior Olympic Games. However, both of these events operate at a loss and would not happen without the sponsorship from Speed Stacks. On average only 20% of the cost of these two events are covered by registration fees and product sales at the event. 80% of the cost is funded through the Speed Stacks sponsorship. The reality is these events take significant resources in the form of awards, division managers, judges, equipment, signage, subsequent video review…etc. and the WSSA could not host these events without sponsorship. Speed Stacks also donates thousands of free sets to schools and after school programs every year through WSSA outreach programs in dozens of countries worldwide. This helps get more school-based sport stacking programs started which grows our sport.
In addition to our marquee events, the WSSA host/sanctions many other competitions around the US and world. For a lot of these events, registration fees and product sales/concession sales support the event and the WSSA does not need to provide additional funds. However, in order for the event to happen the WSSA provides tournament equipment, video cameras and other resources, such as guiding tournament directors, flying personnel to these tournaments, records video review and records management, all of which have real costs associated with them. Most people don’t realize that the WSSA employs a full time software developer to create and maintain our sport stacking tournament scoring software we refer to as “StackTrack”. StackTrack not only effectively scores these events, but also maintains all the current and past records stackers hold today. And later this year we hope to launch our new version of StackTrack which will allow real-time online monitoring of tournament results as they happen!
If for example, Speed Stacks decided to pull its sponsorship, tournaments would look vastly different going forward and in many cases would not exist at all. Tournament directors would have to purchase video cameras, Stackmats, tournament displays and provide their own software to score the event. Most of our tournament directors are local physical education teachers who volunteer hundreds of hours each year to put on a tournament and receive little to no compensation. If the WSSA were to stop supporting them with these resources, most of them would probably stop hosting tournaments and the sport would cease to exist at the level it does today.
There has been a lot of discussion that this decision was based around Speed Stacks selling more cups, implying that this is all about money. While we recognize the dilemma this rule poses to our top stackers, the reality is; there would be no events to stack at if it were not for the financial sponsorship from Speed Stacks. Speed Stacks elects to sponsor these events because it promotes their brand and helps kids who see top stackers on videos know what kind of equipment to buy so kids don’t end up with low quality knock-off products. As the sponsor, they require their brand to be shown and displayed, not just on signage, but on the very products they are trying to promote and cups are their number one product. It isn’t about selling more sets to top stackers.
Perhaps, one day the sport will be large enough that other sponsors will join in and consequently the requirements may change. There has been a lot of discussion regarding the ISSF and stackers attending their competitions. The WSSA would welcome more sport stacking competitions and would love to see more events for stackers to participate. We encourage the ISSF to host quality events as we believe this can only help expand our wonderful sport.
The WSSA wants our stackers and families to know we care greatly about this community which is why we go to such great lengths to host top quality events. At these events, we strive to maximize the stackers experience and work hard to make them special. We hope this message helps to understand the dynamics in play and help to clarify our decision.
The WSSA staff