V. Criteria for Eligibility
1. Tournament must have already been held for a minimum of three years prior to applying. Exceptions may be considered if a PAPA representative attends and takes a greater role in overseeing the event in the first year.
2. Must collect e-mail addresses of tournament players to be used in a survey that will gather opinions on your event. All information gathered from these surveys will be shared with the relevant tournament director in order to help improve the event in future years.
3. Tournament must have a running 3 year average of 30 players or greater in the highest division.
4. No age-restricted or private locations without a PAPA representatives approval. The tournament must not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation, political preference, or religion.
5. The location must have secondary offerings. A second or third competitive opportunity for each player outside of the main division, or an attached convention or festival is preferred.
6. Must use PAPA’s rules to determine stuck balls and malfunctions. Please note for 2015-16, PAPA and IFPA have coordinated and both handle these situations with an identical ruleset.
7. Must be willing to cross-promote all other events on the PAPA Circuit by hanging flyers and linking to the Circuit calendar on relevant websites and promotional posts.
8. Must have a workable scorekeeping calendar no closer than one week to the start of the event.
9. Must have enough technicians, parts, tools, and a game replacement plan available to deal with problems that arise on the tournament machines. At least one designated technician capable of handling minor problems must be available at all times in addition to the overall tournament director.
10. Circuit Fee – During the first 5 years, the non-profit Replay Foundation funded the PAPA Tournament Circuit and all related Circuit activities in excess of $100,000. For the 2017-2018 PAPA Circuit, we are instituting a $5 fee per player at each event. It is up to each event how they collect this fee. For example, an event could place a $5 registration fee per entrant, or take it out of the overall prize pool. 100% of the money collected will go towards PAPA Circuit promotion, Circuit Final prize pool, as well as providing some prizes for each event.
11. If your event does not meet all of the requirements above, you may still be considered for Circuit inclusion if there are no Circuit events within 100 miles of your event. Events submitted under this restriction will each be reviewed by PAPA staff and if approval is given the event will be added to the voting process.
As a part of the PAPA Circuit, tournaments will receive the following:
1. Access to a PAPA representative who will answer questions on game choice, game setup, format, and any other issues where a collective knowledge gained from attending multiple high-level tournaments may prove useful.
2. PAPA will mail banners to all circuit events for display. These banners will let people know that the event is a PAPA Circuit event and will also serve as advertisement and schedule for all other circuit events.
3. A description of your event on the PAPA website and Circuit calendar.
4. Front page promotion on PAPA.org leading up to your event.
5. PAPA will create and manage a survey with you to help you gather more information about your attendees and your event.
6. Free 1/4 page promotion in the ReplayFX Arcade & Gaming Festival program.
7. Each event will receive a package before their events with some PAPA Swag that can be used at the event as giveaways or prizes.
8. The Replay Foundation / PAPA will be creating a unique medal for each event during the Circuit season to be awarded to the winner of each event. These medals will be mailed to tournament directors prior to each event.
VI. Tournament Selection Details & Tournament Classifications
The PAPA Tournament Circuit will consist of 20 pinball tournaments. All tournaments throughout the world are eligible to participate if they qualify based on the criteria listed in section V. Tournaments will be separated into 2 categories each season, with 8 events being designated as “Majors” and the remaining 12 events being designated as “Minors”. Events designated as Majors will receive a 150% bonus in the total number of points awarded to players.
The 8 events with the highest rated survey results from the previous season and who also have an IFPA player count of 70 will become majors (the median player count for 2016 was 77.5). If there are not 8 events that meet these qualifications, then the next highest player count event in the top 15 will become a Circuit Major, guaranteeing the schedule will include 8 Major and 12 Minor tournaments each season. This system was specifically generated with the intent of allowing tournaments to move between the Major and Minor designation frequently.
The top 15 events with the highest-rated survey results will remain on the Circuit schedule the following season. The 5 events with the worst survey results will be entered into the voting process alongside any new events that have applied to join the Circuit. No tournament is automatically removed based solely on survey results, as any tournament that is removed from the Circuit schedule must be voted out by the players themselves during the annual voting process.
VII. Circuit Notes
One common misconception in early years of the Circuit is that PAPA representatives would run all of the events on the calendar. While this has happened under certain circumstances, it is by no means the standard and should not be the expectation. PAPA will not “take over” events or force them to conform to PAPA’s own formats. PAPA also has no desire to supersede the authority of local tournament directors. Our purpose is to provide guidance and advice on relevant topics, occasionally provide equipment upon special request, and to help promote.
Tournament directors are free to use their discretion as to what formats or strategies will best grow pinball in their areas, and ultimately whether an event succeeds or fails will be based upon their decisions, not PAPA’s involvement. PAPA believes that local tournament directors know their players, people, games, and locations better than we ever could, and so we respect each director’s ability to weigh any concerns and make decisions that best suit the event in question.
Please note that whether an event is accepted onto the PAPA Circuit has no bearing on whether it will be broadcast on PAPAtv. The PAPAtv Broadcast calendar is run independently of the Circuit, has its own separate requirements and its own expectations as to what makes a positive broadcast. If you are interested in becoming a PAPAtv broadcast, you must contact Mark Steinman directly via the contact page on PAPA.org to discuss those separate requirements.