Can anyone who is proposing that the format stays come up with an appealing plan as to why and how PAPA A could remain ticket-style for the next 5 years?
PAPA A has never been as large as the EPC in the past 5 years. It hasn't even been as large as Flip Out in the past 5 years. Of course, this isn't true for PAPA in general. The PAPA event gets larger and larger each year. And in order to preserve the format more and more divisions have been added in order to try to keep A division intact.
If you keep everything exactly the same for the next 5 years as it was in PAPA 19, how does that help acomplish any of PAPA's stated goals?
Our goal is to create and promote the world’s greatest pinball tournaments.
With a stagnant format that can't support more players? That loses tons of money every year? That has to discourage play in its only open division?
encourage friendly competition, and spread enthusiasm for the game among casual gamers.
Despite the lack of growth in the A division, which I believe was necessary to preserve the format for this long, PAPA was growing tremendously. This growth was addressed with more resources in the form of more divisions, staff, volunteers, and games. All of these changes put way more strain on PAPA to keep this event going without much more of a reward. I'd wager a guess that for every additional dollar from new players that came into the facility more was spent to make that possible. There never could be a "break even" point in the PAPA 7-19 format because all these new players had to be shifted to other lower, cheaper divisions or encouraged to spectate only. The prize pool could never grow either, especially for A division, since more players couldn't complete in A division.
I'm not saying that the new format is the best change, but it's a change nonetheless. Without any changes this entire tournament cannot survive as a world-class pinball tournament. I'm absolutely certain that PAPA can become a much better event. PAPA has demonstrated in recent years that they've been able to tremendously grow 2 formats: The PAPA Circuit, and Pinburgh. They've been able to subdivide and stagnate the PAPA event to keep it afloat for about as long as possible.
Good luck to @PAPA_Doug @mhs @chesh and all the PAPA crew on continuing to promote competitive pinball and continuing to create world-class events.