Source: Bridge needs to innovate in order to move forward and grow. BAMSA has a new report on promoting and marketing bridge which has emerged as a result of a Masters Thesis conducted by Abby McCutcheon at the University of Stirling. Abby, who is also a BAMSA researcher, interviewed 30 bridge players from seven countries. Interviewees were a combination of bridge players, teachers, and volunteers/employees of National Bridge Organisations (NBOs) from England, Scotland, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Australia, and the USA. Bridge faces many challenges as these players in the report point out: Bridge doesn’t have celebrities…no one knows who bridge players are. (Eric/EBL Chair) It puzzles me when they say that they can’t recruit new people and that they’ve tried the same thing for 20 years, and it’s like, obviously, that’s not working. (Marianne/Norwegian Bridge Federation) All the National Bridge Organisations in this study have the desire to recruit younger people but many lack the resources to offer youth programmes and the skills/resources to market to this demographic. Recruiting people 55+ is great for the short term, but it’s not necessarily so great for the long term when that bubble isn’t here anymore and you haven’t done anything with younger people. (Emily/Manager of Marketing and Education for the ACBL) A common theme is that bridge tends to ‘preach to the converted’ and struggles to engage non-players who are unfamiliar with the game. Tailored marketing and alternative ways of communicating, playing bridge, and learning are required to reach a wider audience. There appears to be an awareness (at local, national, and international levels) of weaknesses in marketing and promoting bridge. However, study participants reported that there is some unwillingness or reluctance to change promotion, recruitment, and marketing strategies, and how games are offered.  Many people want to be the one to save bridge. I know some people who don’t help out with other programmes because “That’s that person’s programme”. Or they see it as: “If they’re playing at this club, they’re not playing at mine. (Rosie/Teacher/USA) Nevertheless, there is hope for change and innovation, particularly if bridge organisations cooperate and collaborate together to work on solutions: If you’d asked me before I started with the SBU I’d have said they were stuck in their ways. But knowing what some of the volunteers are doing and trying to do… the SBU is trying hard. (Tom/Player/UK) I do think ACBL has become much more responsive. I think their intentions were always good but they weren’t very helpful. I think the new Executive Director will push them forward. (Jess/Teacher/USA) Opportunities for bridge promotion involve embracing digital marketing and social media, creating interactive ways for people to teach themselves, increasing the visibility of bridge, heightening awareness and response to negative behaviour, and making the game more social and fun. The full report and a three-page summary are below (they are also in the Research section of the BAMSA website – in the ‘Bridging Organisations’ project). McCutcheon, A, and Punch, S. (2024) A Sociological Study on Promoting the Mindsport Bridge, BAMSA Report: University of Stirling. We hope you find the report of interest. Comments welcomed below or email: