Stern Pro Circuit - feedback on event criteria

Received some feedback from @PinballProfile about the Stern Pro Circuit. I told him I would do him the service of posting his problem and proposed solution here for feedback.

It’s bad optics for there to be multiple Stern Pro Circuit events being held over the same weekend. There should be a rule in place where Stern Pro Circuit events cannot be concurrently scheduled.


  1. Events must submit their date by the end of the current calendar year for the following year’s season. (Currently it’s still only the IFPA requirement of 30 days prior to the event itself, or 30 days prior to the pre-registration date if there is one)
  2. Any concurrent dates between two or more events goes to the event that has been around the longest. (I’m not sure if Jeff meant existed the longest in general in terms of years held, or when the oldest event was ever held, or been on the SPC the most years, he can clarify that). The other events that don’t have the highest seniority would have to move dates or be dropped from the SPC for the following season.
  3. Any event that changes their date after the start of the season will be dropped from the SPC if they move dates (I’m not sure if Jeff meant out for THAT season or for the FOLLOWING season. He can clarify that one too)

Feedback welcomed.

concurrent dates must also count package deal only other side / non Circuit events. When the Circuit event can not be paid for on it’s own.

Ok. So this is small piece of a conversation between Josh and me. I plan on elaborating more on upcoming Final Round podcast, episode 75.

To me, it’s unfortunate that there are multiple SPC events on the same day. For example 3 on the first weekend in November. Sanctum, OBX, City Champ. 2 of them are capped and full, so it doesn’t hurt them, but will it affect OBX? Did NW and Pintastic happening in September mean players had to choose (I know a few who wanted to do both but couldn’t).

My curiosity has me wondering if it would be better to ensure in the future that they are not on same weekends. In golf, you wouldn’t have the British Open the same weekend as The Masters.

So the question is which is more important. Having 20 unique weekends for SPC

  • gives more weekend possibilities for players to choose
  • bigger fields of players and WPPR’s for each event when players don’t have to choose.
    Making sure the “top 20” get the SPC status even if it conflicts.
  • organizers don’t need to worry about locked in dates that may conflict.
  • organizers that value SPC status just have to make sure they are meeting qualifications each year with their highest 3 year average.

Is a solution, have the SPC eligible events submit their 2024 dates by a deadline? The ones with the most seniority (or maybe WPPR average) get dibs on the weekend for SPC status if 2 or more choose the same one?

I suggested that if IFPA and Stern don’t worry about conflicting dates then maybe grow SPC to more events (25?) since conflicting dates cannot be avoided. More bigger events, more SPC and Stern attention, and bigger prize pools.

I appreciate that the SPC and its events exist. The organizers make sure they are worthy of this status. As for the SPC finals, the format and fields have changed 3 consecutive finals including this year, so they aren’t afraid to change for the better.


maybe also have an min size to be capped say maybe 100-128 players min to be able to be capped and part of the Circuit

maybe count them as half events in terms of the max number.

It’s hard enough to schedule events as it is so I don’t think making this a hard rule is helpful. If multiple events m can continue to be worth enough WPPRs even on the same weekend, why not? If it fragments too much and suddenly all 3 of previous circuit events dwindle in attendance to the point they are no longer on the circuit then I could see use in this rule to help bring them back up


Many non-permanent venue events (shows/expos) have to schedule their upcoming year(s) weekends a year or more in advance. Figuring out where and when to hold their event is more important than SPC status.

I agree it would be preferable to not have them on the same weekend, but the SPC isn’t (and im certain doesn’t want to) managing the schedules and contracts of a dozen+ events and their contracts with the venues they rent.


I don’t think Jeff was asking for that to become the responsibility of the SPC.

His rule would require the event with less seniority to make one of two choices:

  1. change your date if it lands on the same date as a more senior SPC event
  2. keep your date and pass on being part of the SPC for the current season
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So my counter question is:

What does the five-year vision of success look like for the Stern Pro Circuit?

If it’s more of “it’ll look the same as it does now” then events clashing isn’t a problem because in my mind the Circuit as it stands isn’t much more than 20 independent autonomous events where points happen to feed into a single one-off event.

If there’s a proper vision of growth (prizes, media coverage, sponsorships, participants, etc) and what it means to be a “Pro Circuit” event then there needs to be more centralized control akin to a PBA, PGA, FIA, etc and that would include scheduling of dates to avoid conflicts.

You don’t have the Vegas Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix on the same dates.

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I think there’s only one instance of overlapping events that are separated by less than about 3,000 miles this season. There may be a handful of players that would have attended the events on opposite coasts if they were different weekends, but the number is not that high (2022: 1 player played City Champ and The Sanctum. 0 played City Champ and OBX).

As was already mentioned, many big events don’t have flexibility in scheduling and I think that those that do try to avoid overlapping with other big events. The suggested solution is likely to frustrate TDs and the local communities to events that end up getting bumped off the circuit through no fault of their own.

I’m not sure comparing this to sports where the competitors can potentially make millions of dollars and organizers are paid for their efforts makes sense. If pinball gets there, then I’d agree that events should not overlap, but currently I don’t think that this is a problem that needs to be addressed.


and in that some events / places will always get an spot (unless they drop out) even if say an other place has more points that may push them out.

Now some centralized control may be good and can have some basic rules say (limited slot events can’t not be buy rush) (but must be some kind of ticket lotto system) and an min number of players slots

also you limit the number of times one place can be in the Circuit event per year so you can’t have an D82 have 4+ Circuits events per year

but should at the very least Stern Pro Circuit have more lead time then the 30 day rule? maybe at least an 60-120 days lead time for the event (not full event format locked in but at least location and days locked in?) or even end of the current calendar year (over lapping allowed)


D82 and PinMasters are at the same location. Even though the rule for SPC eligibility says:

VI. Tournament Selection Details:
Please note that no location can hold more than one Stern Pro Circuit event in the same season.

@pinwizj makes the rules, so he can break the rules, I guess.

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Jeff flailing as his original proposal doesn’t seem to be gaining traction is my favorite Jeff :slight_smile:

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Actually, Josh brought it up. Posted parts of our conversation. I didn’t post on Tilt Forums, just asked you questions in private. But here we are. In fact, in our conversation, I stated I don’t have the correct idea…but perhaps this?

Whether my questions/concerns gain traction or not, doesn’t matter to me. Each person has their own view as it pertains to their scenario, their scheduling, etc. Each person’s view is valid and essential to their planning. To me, it seems like an ideal situation would be 20 different dates for SPC. Is this possible? If not possible, so be it.

Now…about the rule that was broken with PinMasters and D82 being at the same location and both on the SPC? PinMasters can be anywhere (was in Vegas before). Is that not a SPC rule broken…or doesn’t apply to you?

Not possible right now, so be it.

Rules don’t apply to me.


well that can be it’s own location / an listed as floating location event? Also the finales location should not block that same location from hosting an open Stern Pro Circuit event right?

“floating location event”? Aren’t most of them? ClePin picks a hotel/venue that isn’t theirs…same with UK Open, Pintastic, TPF, INDISC, PATZ, YEGpin, FPF. Didn’t see that exception in the criteria rules.

Look harder :slight_smile: