Ive got a plan to build a new fighting game tournament, and I was discussing it with a local video game store owner who runs his own in-store contests. When I asked him if he ever looked into getting sponsorship for a contest, he told me that his contests were generally too small to get noticed, and he preferred it that way because it let him have the freedom he needed to run whatever contest he wanted. He mentioned that getting sponsorship from a game company might box you in to only the games they want to let you run, and that if you dont accept those terms, they might not allow you permission to use that game in a contest at all.
While this seemed plausible, the fact that his contests are so small led me to wonder whether his advice was relevant for the contest I intend to build. So I decided to take my questions here, in the hope that some experienced tournament organizers will have the time to answer these questions more fully, and maybe help other would-be tournament organizers jump start their contests. I ask the following with regard to contests built around arcade machines AND video game console games. Please be clear about which sort of contest your experience pertains to, as there may be differences in what is required in each case.
What are effective methods of getting sponsorship?
What are the pros and cons of getting sponsorship?
How likely is a contest to get sponsorship, and what is the possible fallout if they decide not to sponsor your contest?
How big / how old does a contest have to get before the benefits of sponsorship start outweighing the costs?
Can you get helpful sponsorship without sacrificing any of the games you would like to run in your tournament?
When is permission to use a game in a video game contest required?
What are effective methods of getting permission to use a game in a video game contest?
What are the possible disadvantages to getting permission to use a game?
How likely is a contest to get permission to use a game, and what is the possible fallout if they decide to deny you permission?
Are there any other hazards to worry about?