IFPA 2018 changes?


Did a small survey of new players at our free event this past Friday. The 3-4 new people that showed up said they didn’t mind having to pay an extra dollar, and the main reason why they didn’t come to our $10 buy in Sunday tournaments was because it was on Sunday, not so much that they didn’t have a chance to win any money.

So I think our tournaments here in Cincinnati might be okay. We are also thinking of doing a Friday tournament every other week that is free entry just coin drop. Then when the changes hit, everyone will pay the extra dollar. Can really only see the effects once it actually hits, but it appears it might work. I think the dollar is an amount small enough that most wont care where it goes. We shall see.


Trying to figure out how to put more effort than the MAXIMUM effort we’re already putting in … :slight_smile:

Stern and JJP are both already Premiere level sponsors. What kind of support financially would you expect from them? $50k? $100k?

If your league players are interested in the rankings, see how many of them would think those IFPA perks are worth $4 per year to them. IMO thats not too expensive for the services being provided.


Is there ever a maximum effort? :wink:

I was not aware of their sponsorship. What exactly does a premier level sponsorship get them? What kind of $$ are we talking and where does that money go?


Premiere level sponsors pretty much get Zach and myself as slaves to help with any sort of campaigns the sponsor is interested in. (launch parties, Stern army, rewards program, custom global tournaments like King of the Ring, etc). They also get unlimited access to posts on our site, banner ads, access to our e-mail list.

Premiere level sponsorship starts at $500 per year and goes up from there. Most of the sponsorship dollars go towards IFPA administrative costs. Other funds go back to the players (Stern for example sponsors Nationals and Worlds with a NIB Pro game as top prize allowing us to pay back over 100% in those prize pools).

You can see a list of all of our sponsors on the front of the IFPA page (right side under the top 25 list).


That’s surprisingly cheap. The targeted mailing list alone is worth way more than $500.


Most of the sponsors on that list had no interest in the mailing list, so YMMV :slight_smile:


Just a point of clarification – what do you mean by services being provided? Earlier you said this doesn’t go into admin costs but rather to prize payouts.

I’m not trying to be a stickler. I just think that there are people who would feel better if it were an admin fee and not a prize pool multiplier (and vice versa). This statement muddies the waters.


The service that everyone enjoys from the IFPA (being world ranked, having a profile they can customize, tracking their progress, etc) has been a free service.

The IFPA isn’t taking a cut of the money as we are putting it all towards the SCS and Nationals pools. That doesn’t make the benefits any different for those players that choose to participate in an IFPA endorsed event.

Players enjoy all these benefits now “for free”. Next year they won’t get these benefits unless somehow that $1 fee is being covered in those endorsed events they play in.

If a player wants to rationalize that as a “service fee” for them to get those IFPA perks then I think that’s a valid opinion to have (because technically it’s true). Why we choose to give all that money back is our business, which we’ve stated publicly is to help move the sport forward to bigger and better places.


Remember that movie “Better Off Dead?” The paperboy kept trying to get his $2? In todays dollars that is $4.59. This is less than a quarter of that amount. You pay 1000x this for a bottom tier pinball machine. You pay this amount to play 1 game at the barcade. A 1 year membership to the US Racquetball association costs $50! And you still have to pay $50-100 per tournament. #ONEFREAKINGDOLLAR


It’s easy to see $1 as trivial when you’re just thinking of one individual player (especially one player who is already committed to the WPPR system). But in my mind it registers instead as “$15-20 less for the charity” since I only run charity tournaments. Yes, I could charge $11 instead of $10 to compete in a tournament, but…

  1. If I thought $11 was a good amount to charge, I’d already be charging it to earn more for the charity!
  2. $10 is just about the limit of what I feel comfortable charging for a small tournament without significant prizes. There is a psychological difference between $10 and $11.
  3. Getting the tournament underway is already a cat herding operation; I don’t also want to have to be making change for bunches of singles.
  4. I will no longer be able to advertise that the entry fee goes entirely to charity without adding an asterisk. (This is a minor issue, but still annoying.)

Or I could cover it myself, but I already cover advertising and trophy costs myself as well as paying my own entry fee. I’ll probably take it out of the charity proceeds, but of course people are always free to donate extra if they wish and I’ll set out a jar or something for that. Hopefully the people who care more about WPPRs will throw in a dollar or two voluntarily. It’ll probably work out; it’s not the end of the world. But I’m not thrilled about it.

I apologize if I’m repeating myself too much from my earlier post, but I just wanted to explain why “one freaking dollar” feels like a bit more than that to me. I think there’s a Sorites Paradox hiding in here somewhere, too.


Ultimately this depends on the level of attendance had you run the event as non-endorsed versus endorsed.

Which version do you believe would generate more money for the charity?

A) $10 per player, no WPPR’s

B) $10 per player, $9 from each player going to the charity, WPPR’s offered

I think every charity event just needs to ask themselves that question, and exploit the WPPR’s as the motivating tool to get more support if that’s a trigger for your player base.

I’m sure we’ll get a share of TD’s that go Plan A, and a share that go Plan B.


There’s no doubt that WPPRs contribute to how much I’m able to take in for the charity, which is why I would not consider eliminating that. I’m going to come out ahead (or I should say, the charity is going to come out ahead) versus not being endorsed. But it’s still a noticeable amount less well than I was doing before, so it is still a negative change from the narrow perspective of my situation. I realize this depends on what is being compared (old WPPR system / new WPPR system, or new WPPR system / no WPPRs), but since the change is what’s under discussion it seemed relevant to use the old/new comparison rather than the new/no comparison.


That was probably my fail in some of the communication regarding these plans.

We’re leveraging the fact that people like WPPR’s . . . and when left with the choice between ‘new/no comparison’ that they will somehow land on “new”.

No doubt people like getting shit for free, and when asked if they would prefer something for free or to pay for it, you have a steep hill to climb if you want to get 51%+ support of people preferring to pay.

Personally I played in 25 events last year, so for if I’m doing my own self analysis of “new vs. no”, assuming that every one of those events asked for an additional dollar from me, I’m looking at $25 for the year for those IFPA perks (including playing in SCS and the IFPA World Championship). I would be fine with paying that fee to the IFPA regardless of where those funds went, strictly looking at what I get in return for those services. Every player will have to go through that same analysis.


Let me get this straight, for $500 I get slave labor? Can I call during league night for rulings and game help? “I need 7M on Aerosmith and my locks aren’t lit. @pinwizj what should I do? Yeah, I know it’s 11pm, but I’m a sponsor.”

I’m seriously considering doing this and then just running banner ads taunting my friends. “I beat @Funtorium at league night! How’s the tilt on that MM?”

I could probably even use the mailing list for something useful. “Anyone have a NOS stars playfield to sell me? Just reply to this email.”

With benefits like these I would be stupid not to become a premiere sponsor.


Now THAT cracked me up :slight_smile:


For $250 I will just sell you @pinwizj’s cell phone number :wink:


Wow, $500 sounds very inexpensive (aka “ridiculously cheap”) for all that. Shouldn’t the sponsorship rate be derived from the size of the audience / email list that they will reach (# of ranked players?). That way it increases every year (well, hopefully).

I mean, that’s like 3.3% of the cost of one Batman 66 SLE! Surely supporting the IFPA with all that it does to promote pinball, and thus, increase nib sales, is worth much more than that to the game vendors? Sounds like you guys need an agent.


If it’s very inexpensive why don’t the sponsors seem to care whether they get the list from me or not?

The answer to me is pretty clear . . . it’s NOT worth anything to them. Their “sponsorship” is mostly a “donation” because they value the effort that we put in, but not because they are seeing any actual return from that investment in sponsorship.

Working within the industry allows me to take advantage of some of those perks. If we’re sponsoring a golf outing for a distributor at $1000 here at Raw Thrills, it’s easy for me to be leverage that into getting some IFPA support going the other way.


Stern Pro machines as prizes is support I appreciate.


Well, I’m not going to speculate on the prowess of Stern’s marketing dept. re: email lists of 30K competitive pinball players here, but it still feels like this is being grossly undervalued to me (I guess you mentioned that the email list is substantially smaller though as well).

My thinking is that the recent pinball resurgence is substantially due to the rapid rise of local competitive pinball tournaments, leagues, and most importantly, locations to play. I’m sure you understand all this, but bear with me while I illustrate my thinking and experiences.

Bad Old Days
Prior to this rise in competitive pinball the reason to put a game on location was to make $. But it became very difficult to make a profit putting new games on location due ot the high cost of the games, the costly and time-consuming ongoing maintance to keep the games playing well, and the lack of suitable locations willing to take a game. So gradually operators lost interest in further investing in either new games or maintance on older games, resulting in most games that could be found on location (fewer and farther between) being broken, dirty, and unpleasant to play. So it was a circle of doom resulting in the near extinction of pinball on location as people largely forgot that pinball was even still a thing (certainly no longer a mainstream thing).

Modern Pinball Resurgence
So then you have a small but growing group of pinball collector enthusists that maybe picked up a few broken older games as operatiors took them off location, who loved to play, but didn’t have a way to do so in a public. Gradually the notion that you could organize a local tournament, or even a league with fellow enthusiasts starts to spread (thanks IFPA!), and lo-and-behold fairly quickly you’ve given pinball a new reason to exist on location and for people to play them regularily, outside of purely for fun.

Now, you have locations with 5-10 well maintained games springing up, a mix of older and modern games in excellent condition, ready to play, and groups of players willing to play them regularily for tournaments, league play, selfie-leagues, and of course practice/fun. As word spreads (thank you social media) more and more people discover they can play pinball in their town, join a league, etc. Thus, a virtuous circle is created where more competitive pinball = more nice games on location = more players = more new games purchased…

I have experienced this first-hand with my own early collecting days, struggling to find location pinball, meeting a group of like-minded enthusiasts in my town via one-off tournaments, forming a league with said individuals and working to spread the word, and eventually forming a collective and putting games on location ourselves to support our league and tournaments to ensure top quality games are available. Along the way, many old and new players have joined us, and many of these have purchased games of their own, and many of those games have been NiB games. NiB games that never would have been sold if they hadn’t found our league along the way.

My long-winded point being that what the IFPA does/has done, in my opinion, is largely responsible for the recent resurgence in pinball popularity, and that the pinball vendors should be doing everything that they can to promote the growth of competitive pinball. Imagine if every state had as many games on location as Oregon and Washinton? What kind of value would that increase in market size have to the vendors? A lot more than $500/year. They should probably be sponsoring the state and national tournament prize pools with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money if that is what it takes to continue growing awareness of competitive pinball.