Motivations of Tournament Organizers


I have to admit I am pretty new to the fight scene, I honestly didn’t know there existed a cohesive group of individuals anywhere that played to get better at fighting games, but I have always appreciated fighters. So I have only been to one tournament, in the two months or so that I have been in the scene.

The tournament I did go to not too long ago was organized and put on by a good friend of mine within the scene and it went down without a hitch, was great fun, and good experience. He held the tournament for the love of the game and to help bring together our small amount of players in my area, not to make money; which I am getting to.

The point of this thread being, what is the usual motivation of tournament organizers? Is it for the love of the game, and competition first or to make money?

I ask this because I am going to a tournament this weekend, where I have seen the organizer saying he got the venue for free, and yet he is still charging a venue fee. I will still go but this guy does not exactly have the best reputation to begin with. He comes off as shady to me because he is running a CoD tournament the same day in the same venue and he asked my girlfriend to do it because she plays CoD. She has never been to a CoD tournament though. Odd IMO.

Not only that he asked her to get 6 HDMI cables from Amazon because she said to another friend on Facebook she could order him one and has Amazon Prime, as an offer to him.

So basically the gist of this post is that, the guy who has the venue is charging a venue fee for a free venue, expecting everyone else to bring setups, and is not even going to run the tournament. That apparently got relegated to the friend I am not mentioning.

So do most tournament organizers just set out to make money or are people in this business for competition and the love of the game? This just all seems suspect to me.


And what’s wrong with him doing it for the money? Why must he be some kind of non-profit charity organization if he’s working hard to provide fun and entertainment for all the tourney players?


Just seems counter productive to him saying he wants to bring the scene back / make a scene.

Also he isn’t working that hard, since he doesn’t even know how to run one of the tournaments hes holding. And has no plans or doesn’t know where setups are coming from.

I am not against some money being made but if it is done in a shady way its just suspect to me.


bring the scene back? lol

where did we go?


In my town. your in cali, so your kind of lucky. my area is pretty dead.


tossing down to FGD


Because I live in NYC and we have scenes for anime games. Though I didn’t suspect as much out of state support as I get. Anyway, if you want something done right, gotta do it yourself.

Just FYI, I don’t make money. Only way I’d look to make money is if I was a key player in running a multi-day major. Not criticizing anyone who does, just putting my situation in more perspective for OP.


Well as I said before, I am not completely against it, or really even against it at all, as long as you are organized and know what you are doing.

I am more curious just to see what the people who actually organize and run tournaments do it for. Not to debate whether or not it is ethical to make money.


some people do it for love of the game, and some do it for money. I wouldn’t support people who are out to make money because most people who think running tournaments to make money is a good idea are morons and will run a shitty tournament.

See: Activegamers


The short answer to your question is that it depends on the person. But every single TO will tell you they’re doing it for the community, because they aren’t stupid. It sounds to me like you don’t have a good feeling about this specific TO, so I’d trust your gut. That guy is probably shady.

It is possible for a TO to incurr expenses, even if the venue is free, especially if they are providing multiple systems and/or setups. Most people don’t own 6 PS3s or Xboxes and 6 televisions and 6 copies of all the games everyone wants, and a GOOD TO would at the very least make sure that he could get reliable people to bring setups, not just randomly tell people “hey, you bring it.” Sometimes they provide food, and there are other things that may have a cost too. If the TO can legitimately tell you why they need money, it makes sense to give it to them, but IMO someone “doing it for the community” would do it for free, because they love games as much as the rest of us, and its not as if there aren’t people doing it now and haven’t been people doing it forever. Another option would be to say “hey guys, I’m doing a service here, and any donations would be welcomed, but if not that’s OK.” (You may assume that absolutely no one would pay, but I have seen cases where that wasn’t true.)

That said though, lets do some math on a hypothetical tourney.

Standard tourney payout is 70/20/10 for 1st/2nd/3rd. Lets say you have a medium-small sized community and expect about 40 people to attend a tourney for 2 games. Probably 30 of them enter 1 game and 20 of them enter the other (with 10 entering both.) Entry fee per game is $10.00 and venue fee (for the free venue) is $5.00. Thats a pretty cheap price to pay for an afternoon of games right?

Well with 40 people in attendance, the TO makes $200.00. Meanwhile 1st place for the 30 man tourney makes $210.00 2nd makes $60.00 and 3rd makes $30.00. As you can see the TO makes almost as much money as first place for the bigger tourney, and that’s assuming he didn’t also play in, and place in, either of the tourneys. Then assume this happens every month, or assume that instead of 40 people, you get 100.

All the sudden it seems like being a TO isn’t such a sacrifice after all, doesn’t it? Oh but wait, some of you might say, Being a TO is WORK, it’s HARD, there’s people whining people calling on the phone saying they’ll be late, people who are randomly MIA, and systems malfunctioning and this TV has lag, and oh my God all the WORK. They DESERVE to get paid for their work right? Sure, I can see that. So lets say this tourney is from 12PM to 12AM (kinda long but hey) with 40 people in attendance the TO made $200.00 for 12 hours of work. That’s $16.67 an hour, tax-free. In other words, probably more than you make, and probably double what the actual employees at whatever lan gaming center/bar/arcade/whatever the actual venue is make. What if 100 people show up? Now it’s $41.67 an hour.

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with a TO running a tournament for money, but maybe the above scenario will shed some light on their motivations. Personally, I wouldn’t pay them when the venue is free, unless they’re really awesome and I feel like I should support them.


Just about the calculations above: It takes a lot of time to run a quality event, most of the time spent is outside of the event itself. Many of the largest events are now planning year round now just for one weekend.

If the TO can produce a quality event, then I am not really concerned with the accounting (assuming everything is legit of course). OTOH, If the event is poorly managed, it does not matter if the TO worked for free or at a loss, the players will still have a bad experience.

In this case, the person charging the venue fee does not appear to be the TO, so for the next event you could appoint your own TO and have the person with the venue charge standard venue fees (usually fixed and based on the room, not the entrants).

In the end you may have to make a tough choice, but 100% of the venue fee plus 0% of the TO responsibility sounds bad and unsustainable if that is the case.


I agree, if you don’t really have a scene in your town that charging money for a venue you got for free is not really the best way to start one; of course even it were free, people should not expect it to stay that way, because most people will charge you to use their facility, that’s just the way it is. From what your saying though, he sounds like he wants to make money for himself, but does not want to pay for what he needs for the event to happen; I mean if he got the venue for free then he should be able to pay for the things he needs instead of asking your girlfriend to basically fund, and run the tournament.

As far everyone else, I think most tournament organizers do so out of love (as there is not a whole lot of money involved as of yet anyway), but also have to ask for money because these tournaments aren’t cheap, and it’s not fair that everyone come and enjoy the scene, but do not help pay for it. If you take Team Spooky for instance, he (or rather they) travel all across the country, and to do that they need money; so for people such as Team Spooky who put forth such a valiant effort, I definitely understand the need for financial gain.

However, when people start to realize there is money to be had in something, the snakes, the sharks, the douchebags (lol them too), and all other sorts of morally corrupt creatures will began to emerge to take advantage of whatever profit they can find, and the bigger the scene gets the more of that will see unfortunately.


350$ (now 500$) Venue: for 2000 sq ft (recently upgraded to 4000 for 150$ more). This is actually dirt cheap.

120$ 12 Dell monitors from Goodwill: . Again, I’m being super frugal, and these have no lag.

5$ to 10$ each 12 speaker sets for said monitors:

25$ Each 12 copies of MvC3 (, to be returned to gamestop)

100$ SSFIV(On Demand)+AE+All Costumes: about

54$ BB (On Demand) + all 3 DLC chars

15$ SF3:3S

**15$ ** MK9 DLC:

15$ AH3:

40$ to 80$ each. 4 new xboxes (so far)

60$ 3 USB drives to run BB on consoles w/ 20 GB hard drives:

40$ two overhead projectors to display brackets:

30$ overhead markers, sheets, printing:

**300$ **Cables, VGA 360 Cables, Extension Cords, Switches, Surge Protectors, splitters, converters, routers, etc. from monoprice.

.90 + 1.5% of every prereg Paypal fees for pre-registration

BTW I’m not done yet, and I’m still reliant on members of the community to bring some PS3’s and Xboxes.

And so all this is for an event that less then 30% of the attendees will actually bother to pre-reg for, despite the venue fee hike.

I sometimes question the motivations of tournament organizers myself…