I had a chance to talk with the guys at Play Mechanix a bit just to get their feedback on "what happened?!?!"
Last year the Big Buck stream had 12,000 views over the weekend, and this year the stream had over 200,000 views over the weekend. 'We' were also able to bring in $150K in sponsors including Moosehead Lager, Old Wisconsin (they make beef sticks like Slim Jims).
The answer I got from them was just pounding the pavement on social media and PR. Whether it's 50,000 likes on Facebook and continuing to pound those people with crap like crazy, or pushing out press releases through the pipeline and partnering with sponsors who can then reach out to their own group of people, etc.
The problem is of course this isn't cheap
We rented out the Hard Rock in downtown Chicago for 2 days, hung 50 ft. banners on the outside of the building all lit up, spent the money on professional broadcasting people (MC was a popular sports radio host in Chicago), etc.
George Petro who runs Play Mechanix was joking with me that we really had to pretend we 'already made it' in order to get people really hooked on watching the product. NOW we're hoping to build enough money through sponsorship dollars to be able to pay back alot of the costs we've put into building the brand over the last 6 or whatever years.
Not to throw the pinball manufacturers under the bus (because I sincerely appreciate the support they all give IFPA to keep us chugging along with what we're doing), but this is what happens when you realllllllllllly have industry support behind making something happen. There's only so much you can do with everyone volunteering their time and money to make things happen (streaming, world rankings, organizing events, etc).
Back in the day the IFPA got $20K per year per manufacturer to 'promote and grow competitive pinball'. To know what the old IFPA did with that cash while my dad and Epstein got 1/10th of that industry support to run PAPA it's a real shame.
I don't know where else I'm going with this . . . but it felt like a good rant!
edit - forgot to add that the one thing lacking on the Big Buck side is actually getting those player-volunteers to help (something we have loads of in the pinball community). Their promo teaser at this year's World Championship was the announcement of their Game Warden program trying to pull those players out of just being players doing MORE to promote the game to the world. Here's the link:
Start at 16:30 and watch the promo video for our Game Warden program. It's about 2 minutes long.