I must admit I'm having trouble understanding the rationale behind this change. As far as I understand the goals of IFPA is two-fold:
- Provide accurate rankings of pinball players
- Grow the pinball hobby
If the endorsement fee went towards covering IFPA's operating expenses I could understand the choice, but it would make more sense to have a different structure than per player per event costs.
The way I see it this endorsement fee is detrimental to both goals. Everything else equal you'll see fewer events in the system because a rather complicated bureaucratic layer is being added on top of an already pretty bureaucratic process. Fewer events == less accurate rankings.
If IFPA can't handle the amount of events maybe change the submission/approval process to be easier rather than harder? Will IFPA be accepting cash payments through the mail or will TDs be forced to intermingle personal finances and pinball monies?
(Be ready for complaints when TDs collect "IFPA fees" but end up not submitting to IFPA or the tournament is rejected for other reasons)
I can only speak for the SF Bay area, but around here SCS does 0% to spread the reach of the hobby. SCS is for a small group (compared to the player base) who are all very well established. There's no excitement among new players for SCS. The stuff that's growing pinball around here are free events, especially selfie leagues.
Forcing endorsement fees adds a ton of work for TDs and makes it harder to attract new players. "Finding a sponsor to cover the fees" is not something that just happens. That kind of stuff takes time and energy that could be spent making more and better events.
I think Bowen made a lot of sense above when he suggested that this should be an opt-in process. If a TD wants their tournament to count towards SCS rankings, they can pay. It would effectively create e.g. a California Circuit and that I can see being a thing that can help grow pinball.
I have to make a states' right argument here: Why not leave this up to each state?