As an American living (and playing X-Wing) in Europe, I was surprised that there were 7 opens in Europe and just 1 in the US last season, though obviously I wasn't going to complain about a surplus of X-Wing awesomeness. Anyway, now that things have been inverted I think that there are a few things that should be taken into account before passing judgment.
First, if I remember correctly, Brits won the opens in England, Denmark and Italy, while Spanish won in Spain and France, so it really gives the impression that the same groups of people are traveling around to multiple events (for example: I met the Reed family in Birmingham and again in Lucca). Furthermore, there were over 200 people at the Spanish open, 400 in the UK, and 110 in France and 90 in Italy, and the foreign contingents in the latter two were at least 15-20 people each (to my knowledge). After taking into account the relatively low turnouts in some of the opens means that it doesn't come as a surprise to me now that they've removed a few from Europe, but going from 7 to 3 is pretty harsh, particularly as the Danish and Polish opens also saw upwards of 150 people at each. I agree that the US was sorely lacking last season, but now I feel that the the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, though this is probably because (as others have already mentioned) the location of the Star Wars Celebration has a large influence on the amount of money that FFG is willing to spend on plane tickets.
All that being said, if I were the event organizer and were limited to choose 8 locations worldwide, I think that the ideal case would be to give 1 to the Aussies/Kiwis/SE Asians, and try to divide the remaining 7 evenly between the North America and Europe, with maybe 1 going back and forth depending on where the Celebration will be. Some might disagree as the US is bigger than western Europe, but the population of just western Europe, which is where most European X-Wing is played, outstrips the US by around 90 million. On the other hand there might well be more X-Wing players in the North America than in Europe, but I think that keeping it close to a 50/50 ratio is probably the best way to go. Unfortunately, I'm not a FFG event planner with cash to burn.
Our Omaha X-Wing regional is this coming weekend, the 12th. We are expecting a good turnout despite the proximity to Worlds, which may have to do with...
We have a BBQ truck coming to serve lunch to everyone who preregisters (we will do our best for walk-ins also, but if there are too many we may run out). This is provided by the store, at no additional charge. We have also convinced our local craft-beer distributor to come out and do a free sampling.
Yes, you read that right. X-Wing, free BBQ, and free beer. I'm not sure how much more a person could ask for.... :-)
Was very happy to see Dawei Chua being screened twice! Dawei is the first runner up in Malaysian Nationals 2016. The Malaysian champion couldn't even get a ticket or a spot in Worlds, as there is no official FFG support in this part of the world.
If there were more FFG support in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, China and other Asian countries, you'll see more players from this side of the world.