Recently the IFPA announced a $1 per player, per event surcharge being added to their sanctioned events beginning in 2018. Since this announcement, I have seen some very spirited debate over this. I have also spoken to many of the other players who travel nationally to hear their opinion. To be very honest, there hasn't been too much push-back on this.
A couple points to mention:
1) THIS HASN'T HAPPENED YET. Doesn't go into effect until the start of the 2018 season. This is to allow open discussion to take place and determine that this makes sense and will be accepted by the majority
2) Everyone at the IFPA, especially Josh Sharpe, has been very responsive to everyone's questions and remarks (even when they are not respectful). I have heard of NO ONE not receiving a response from them. They have also never blocked anyone from sharing their opinions in any discussion or social media platform
3) The IFPA always has, and always will be 100% transparent in their dealings and financials. You will know exactly where your dollar goes to. No shenanigans
This year marks my 25th year in professional competitive pinball. In 1994 I made my first pitch for major sponsorship from Mt. Dew. I ran my first national tournament over 20 years ago. I state these things to express my love of pinball and my passion as an ambassador of the game.
I don't have any issue with the IFPA decision. In fact, I don't think it goes far enough. I would like to see additional coverage for the great personal expenses individuals incur for events. I would like to see more to solicit sponsorship to garner a greater national audience for our sport. But that's not what this post is about...
With all the discussion of "dollargate", something else has flown under the radar. Something that troubles me a great deal more. Something that no one is publically discussing, but behind the scenes has a lot of players very upset. Something no one seems to want to question.
WHAT ABOUT THE $5 PAPA SURCHARGE? <<<
In case you are not aware, PAPA is charging a $5 per player, per Circuit Event fee. This has already begun. Started this year.
This really hit home last weekend in OKC at the Cactus Jack's Silverball Showdown. When speaking to the TD, he was projecting just over $1000 first place prize for the A Division. Outstanding! Then someone mentioned the $5 PAPA fee. 1st Place (won by Trent Augenstein) paid out $830, after taking out $325 payable to PAPA.
Here are my issues with this:
1) Not much of an announcement made. I've heard it was mentioned somewhere. I'm guessing either on here or the other site. I'm not much of a pinball chatroom kind of guy, so not sure where I would have seen this
2) Since there was no major public announcement, there was no discussion. That's fine, you don't need our permission to do this, I guess
3) I have no idea where my $5 is going and how it will be distributed
4) Finally, who do I even talk to about this?
I do know some of the cost goes to pressing the medallion for the winner, banner for the venue, and some are going to the prize pool for the Circuit Finals.
I was very happy to hear the news when Kevin Martin had acquired the PAPA brand from Steve Epstein. He and the dozen of team members and family have built a great company that hosts two of the best events of pinball in the world.
But here's the sticky wicket: Who do I speak to when I have a concern like this? Also, what are the repercussions if I do? Let that sink in. That's a very real concern. I have spoken to many of the top 100 players in the world. They seem to have the same questions and concerns I do. But nobody says anything. They're afraid to speak up, and that's not cool.
Like I said, I appreciate the open door policy the IFPA adheres to. I don't feel that with PAPA. Kevin is enjoying life, his family, and a well earned extended vacation into retirement. How about Mark? I know he cares, a lot. However, he's moved, starting a new family, and seems detached from the PAPA core. Doug, Fred, Elizabeth, Jon, Petey...?
Finally, should I be worried about any backlash from raising this question? I shouldn't, but I am. So is everyone else I have spoken to, so no one has, yet. We fear the Papaluminati
So I'm putting this out there. So many people concerning themselves with the $1 IFPA fee, but no one is having the discussion about the $5 PAPA fee. I think great knowledge comes from having an open conversation. I hope that can happen. Please feel free to share your opinions. FR