Here’s a quick, if long-delayed, look at the growth of player participation at the PAPA World Pinball Championships over the last four years. (I have data going back through Pinburgh 2000, but perhaps that will be a different post.)
The number of entries played each year grew in almost perfect proportion to the number of players attending:
From PAPA 10 to PAPA 13, the number of players in A/B/C grew by 49.3%. I’m not counting Juniors, Seniors, and Classics, because there is significant overlap in those groups. The number of entries in all divisions grew by 48.1% from PAPA 10 to PAPA 13 – essentially the same as the player growth.
This suggests to me that it’s difficult to get any one player to play more entries, and therefore it must be easier instead to attract more players to the tournament. Therefore, any changes or improvements to grow the event should be oriented towards bringing in new players and enriching the experience for them. The players who are already coming are, in some sense, “saturated” – they are already spending as much time and money and energy as they can on pinball, during those four days.
Those of you with advanced degrees in mathematics will notice that the numbers suggest that the tournament takes in more money than the prize pool of $36,500. This is true, and the excess money goes towards the other expenses, such as the trophies, security, transportation, and keeping the lights on (the electric bill was $5623.35 this year). That being said, we are considering some changes to the prize pool next year.
Thank you all for participating year after year – and I suppose the bottom line here is, please keep coming, but also, bring a friend or three!