Organizing a tournament


What’s up fellow gamers? After searching for information on how to plan a tournament I could not find much. I was hoping someone in the scene would give me some insight into starting and hosting a successful tournament.

Some major questions I had were

  1. where do I start?

  2. are there legal ramifications for hosting?

  3. what are the major issues organizers run into?

Any advice would be awesome! Thanks!

I was unsure where to post this so I figured newbie zone would work

  1. Get a venue and setups.

  2. I believe its within the rights of publishers to not allow people to use their games for tournaments but it’s never happened before and people run hundreds of tournaments a year w/o asking anyones permission.

  3. Running things on time is most prevalent. Also I’ve found making rules as explicit as possible is important.


I have never held a tourny myself, wish to in the future but from my observation,

  1. Appropriate amount of setups, running a 32 man bracket on one machine is going to take hours.
  2. Run brackets as efficiently as possible, if your the bracket runner and your also in the tournament when its your game get someone else to call matches until your match is over. The 5-15 minutes wait for your match to end could of gotten a few other matches going
  3. Set your rules, let them be known, maybe post it next to the station or something, and stick by them
  4. Time is important especially when running multiple tourneys
  5. Venue should be large enough so players don’t gotta play their matches in the washroom…
  6. Never hurts contacting the publisher or developer of a game your using and letting them know most the times they won’t care, but you may get lucky and have them throw a little bonus into your pot. Don’t call Nintendo though.

  1. Logistics and advertisement. Figure out the venue, cost of venue fee, how much entry fee you want to charge per player, how many games, how many setups you have, access to electricity, access to internet, advertising on social media sites, forums, flyers, let people know through word of mouth, etc etc etc. This is a LOT of work.

  2. For small tournaments such as this, there are no legal ramifications. Game dev companies don’t really care about your local sessions and tournaments. Once you get to majors where you’ll be making a lot of money off their game, is where you might need to contact them regarding licensing fees and what not. Basically, if you have no sponsors, you’re in the clear.

  3. You will run into all the major issues. Electricity, lack of available setups, lagless monitors, enough space and chairs for players and spectators, running a tournament on time, chasing down players to play their matches, air conditioning is an issue, people trying to join the tournament late, etc etc etc. Basically it’s all about prior preparation. The more you prepare for the tournament, the better off you’ll be. You’ll encounter having to put out small fires here and here on tournament day, but as long as you put in the work WEEKS before the tournament actually starts, you’ll be fine.

I highly recommend you fully understand how to run tournaments brackets in the most efficient way possible. This will also test your organizational ability to account for each players, make sure they pay you before they play, keep track of the money, and make it known what the payout percentages are, and what percent goes to the venue and/or yourself. Let people know ahead of time what format of tournament you’ll be running, times that each game will start, etc etc.

The key to all of this is your ability to organize logistics and advertisement. Pay attention to any and all details, both large and small, and you should run tournaments just okay.

  1. Do you have a place to hold the tournament?
  2. If its on console which console are you using?
  3. How many setups do you have?
  4. Are you planning on running more than one game?
  5. Are the people coming casual players or tournament regulars or a mix?
  6. What time do you plan on starting?
  7. Which games are you doing?
  8. Do you know how to run a bracket/ seed if needed?
  9. Is it just you or is someone helping?
  10. Do you know the rules and standard tournament practices for every game that you are running?

Do not proceed until you can answer all of these and answer yes to the yes no questions?
The biggest issue for new tournament directors is that they haven’t thought things through nearly as well as they should have before the event, and assume everything will just run smoothly, which it almost never does.


Thank you a ton to everyone this is an awesome starting point!


Advertise. Try to get as many people coming to your tournament as possible. All the best laid plans can still be ruined when you realize that there aren’t enough entrants for a decent pot.


Make sure you have casual set ups as well, people will get bored sitting around doing nothing


sup guys, so I’m trying to resurrect this post with some specific questions about running a tournament. Maybe you can help me out here:

  1. If I have a pool of, say 64 players tops, double elimination, is there a way [formula] to know how much it will take if I have [X] stations? What are the variables needed?
  2. For small tourneys, what’s the number of judges you need. Is it always one per station?
  3. How do you usually run it? first you go all winner until you get winners finals and then all losers? or you go one winners one losers? Any difference here?


Hi Guys. Its 2019.
Im organizing my first micro tourney.
Here is a list of what I have done.

  1. Dream big but start small. Start with the smallest and simplest event you can manage by yourself. Focus on learning opportunities rather than becoming an E-sport Tycoon.
    1.1 Plan Plan Plan. Sketch out a basic plan and flesh out as much detail as possible. Have the end in mind. A small knowledge on how to create a simple paper work for organizing an event will keep you focused.

  2. Identify key resources.

2.1 Target audience: Stick to friends or people that you can easily manage. 1 organizer with maximum 32 participants.

2.2. Venue: Is there a decent place you can use cheaply or even for free? consider heating/air conditioning & proper ventilation.

2.3 Tvs and consoles: Start with 1 unit. You can use your own, rent or borrow from trusted sources. Cheap or free is best for now.

2.4 Game genre: fighting game is best because matches are quick and easily controlled.
Ensure the game is age appropriate.

2.5 Tourney fixture: use a simple tournament fixture using a whiteboard/penpaper or Excel

2.6 Prizes: You can ask a small amount of registration fee, divide it into prizes and paying off any overheads. Or you can ask for sponsors and keep the registration free.

2.7 Date&Time&Duration: Make sure the date and time is convenient e.g. after work, tgif, long weekend etc. A duration of 3 hours or less is good for starters.

2.8 Marketing: Use public and private adverts, make sure everyone knows your event. Use all free media platforms and pm every single person that you know that might be interested.

2.9 Online registration form: This will save you TONS of time. Provide a link that anyone can click and fill in their information. I use 123 Forms. Its free and easy to learn and launch.
Include rules and regulations as well as your contact information.

  1. Optional but will help you significantly.
    3.1: Enlist volunteers. Have a quick meeting with them and outline details of the events.
    3.2 Do paper work. Outline every single detail of the tourny starting from objectives to program schedule. You only do this once and can be reused and develop as your confidence grows.
    3.3 Have light drinks and snacks.
    3.4 Get feedback from friends or colleagues especially those who had organized similar or even bigger events. Give them the liscence to be brutally honest with their opinions and advise.
    3.5 Post-event survey. After all is said and done, pariticipants feedback will help you plan your next bigger and better tourny. Again you can use 123 Forms to ask key questions.

Bottomline: Keep the event small to medium size to reduce the risk of game devs from sniffing you out. For huge events with solid financial backing, you may consider informing and requesting the game developers for permission.

Wish me luck!