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Author Topic:   looking for info on Running a grand prix // grand prix trial for 1st time & turnout
jshields
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posted February 14, 2013 08:12 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for jshields Click Here to Email jshields Send a private message to jshields Click to send jshields an Instant MessageVisit jshields's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
Although I am only a contracted magic dealer for the store where I work and have no control over what tournaments the store is running, I learned recently that my store is advanced enough to run Grand Prix and Grand Prix Trial tournaments. I am simply trying to get some general information for these from more experienced judges // store owners as our store can fit 50 people maximum according to state fire code, but I have heard of Grand Prix events having over 100 people.

Questions:

1. What is turnout like for Grand Prix & Grand Prix Trial Events? Is it far less for qualifying stores that run events for the first time?

2. I am willing to split the cost of rental space at a nearby student // convention center, but wondered how big of a space is typically needed.

3. It's been a long time since I played in a Grand Prix Trial, but does one format bring more players // customers than another depending on season?

****Our winters here are very snowy & icy, causing me to think a Spring event may be more likely to run.

4. What demand is there usually for side events such as 8-man win a box, booster drafts, etc....?

5. How many hours do these events typically run to factor in the cost of rental by the hour?

6. Factoring in that our store does not have an online store and is only a mortar and bricks store, how much of a difference does running a GP or GP Trial have on increasing sales the day of the event?

7. Does anyone know what singles sales often run during these by larger stores and the difference running one for the first time would effect sales for a smaller store? (I would guess negatively compared to the larger stores.)

8. How do events deal with limited parking? Our store can fit only 3-4 cars for employees behind it and the rest of the town has metered parking monday-saturday + a parking garage about 3 blocks from the convention center.

9. How are prizes covered outside of entry fees for prizes? Does Wizards cover the prize support in exchange for a percentage of all entry fees?

10. We have access to 2 level 2 judges and 3 level 1 judges and are already familiar with the payment for them, but are there any other factors we should consider?


Again, we are not racing to start any of these soon, but I am trying to get some information to convince the store owner to run such an event.

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MAB_Rapper
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posted February 14, 2013 08:53 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for MAB_Rapper Click Here to Email MAB_Rapper Send a private message to MAB_Rapper Click to send MAB_Rapper an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View MAB_Rapper's Trade Auction or SaleView MAB_Rapper's Trade Auction or Sale
I'm not familiar on everything, but these I can answer:

3. It's been a long time since I played in a Grand Prix Trial, but does one format bring more players // customers than another depending on season? - Unless I am mistaken, the GP Trial must be the same format of the GP it feeds into, especially constructed GPs.

4. What demand is there usually for side events such as 8-man win a box, booster drafts, etc....? - Many times, not much.

5. How many hours do these events typically run to factor in the cost of rental by the hour? - Depends on how many people. You should expect an hour per round (due to time extenstions), plus an additional 3 hours for Top 8.

6. Factoring in that our store does not have an online store and is only a mortar and bricks store, how much of a difference does running a GP or GP Trial have on increasing sales the day of the event?
7. Does anyone know what singles sales often run during these by larger stores and the difference running one for the first time would effect sales for a smaller store? (I would guess negatively compared to the larger stores.)

I am conbining these, since the answer is the same. A huge boost in sales during the morning before the event, epsecially with singles in the format of the evemt. Not much difference after the event starts.

8. How do events deal with limited parking? Our store can fit only 3-4 cars for employees behind it and the rest of the town has metered parking monday-saturday + a parking garage about 3 blocks from the convention center. - I know a store in Jersey that worked out some deals with other stores in the area that aren't open on weekends. Outside of that, this maybe your biggest reason to find a bigger venue (besides too many people).

10. We have access to 2 level 2 judges and 3 level 1 judges and are already familiar with the payment for them, but are there any other factors we should consider? - Make sure to feed them.

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dwiz
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posted February 15, 2013 06:29 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for dwiz Click Here to Email dwiz Send a private message to dwiz Click to send dwiz an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View dwiz's Trade Auction or SaleView dwiz's Trade Auction or Sale
I've been to GPTs with 9 players. You better get a great deal of interest before you consider renting space. The cost for GPTs can be $25-$35. That turns off a lot of the casual players that come in for most other tournaments. Plus, usually only people play if they have the intention of going to the GP, which usually means it's local to your location.
 
Zeckk
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posted February 15, 2013 05:31 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for Zeckk Click Here to Email Zeckk Send a private message to Zeckk Click to send Zeckk an Instant MessageVisit Zeckk's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View Zeckk's Have/Want ListView Zeckk's Have/Want List
quote:
Originally posted by dwiz:
I've been to GPTs with 9 players. You better get a great deal of interest before you consider renting space. The cost for GPTs can be $25-$35. That turns off a lot of the casual players that come in for most other tournaments. Plus, usually only people play if they have the intention of going to the GP, which usually means it's local to your location.

This is the best piece of advice. I live in Vegas, and even a standard-format GPT struggles to get more than 30 people to show up for the event, despite being within driving distance of any of the California or Salt Lake City GPs. I think it's a marketing flaw by WotC to focus the prize support on the GP byes instead of just being a large-prize tournament.

 
mm1983
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posted February 17, 2013 05:17 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for mm1983 Click Here to Email mm1983 Send a private message to mm1983 Click to send mm1983 an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View mm1983's Have/Want ListView mm1983's Have/Want List
I've been hearing that the minimum amount of people needed to run a GP trial is 15. In any case the winner gets the 3 round bye to whatever GP its for. I'm pretty sure prize support is up to the store running the event.
 
Zeckk
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posted February 17, 2013 06:02 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for Zeckk Click Here to Email Zeckk Send a private message to Zeckk Click to send Zeckk an Instant MessageVisit Zeckk's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View Zeckk's Have/Want ListView Zeckk's Have/Want List
quote:
Originally posted by mm1983:
I've been hearing that the minimum amount of people needed to run a GP trial is 15. In any case the winner gets the 3 round bye to whatever GP its for. I'm pretty sure prize support is up to the store running the event.

That might be a recent change, as I played in a 12-man modern GPT last year.

 
Bagbokk
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posted February 17, 2013 06:43 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for Bagbokk Click Here to Email Bagbokk Send a private message to Bagbokk Click to send Bagbokk an Instant MessageVisit Bagbokk's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
I don't know how many players you usually get to something like FNM, but I'd probably estimate 24-30 players to a GPT... you really just need to gauge interest and advertise a bunch. The GP that it feeds into matters for the competitive players, but depending on your local player base, some might come and play even if they don't care about the byes. Our top8 at a sealed GPT for Charlotte had 6 people that didn't care because they weren't likely to go.

Blacksburg isn't very far away from where I live. If it's a big enough event on a weekend, doesn't conflict with anything bigger (SCG Open), and has a big enough prize payout, I can probably get some people from here to go. There's a lot less interest in GPTs than there are SCG invitational qualifiers and the like (with actual $ prizes) though.

 
jshields
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posted February 18, 2013 09:42 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for jshields Click Here to Email jshields Send a private message to jshields Click to send jshields an Instant MessageVisit jshields's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
usually we get about 14-26 draft players - many have mentioned interest in the running some GP's with GP trials.

****Parking: Looks like this will work out great
first, i found out from that parking is free on the weekends from some of the university's contracted repair staff that does not use parking passes, so this will be great as it is close to the store.

second, i also learned with town construction that we now have 2 parking garages within 2-4 blocks of the store that are open on the weekends and cost about $4 per day max to park, so this will also solve parking problems

****GPT Space Availability: Since I have heard that these get less than 30 people even in major cities, having these at the store should be no problem with space, which would reduce expenses quite a bit

~~~~Additionally, there are are quite a few hotels (with large parking lots) // convention centers // student center ballrooms that have pretty large areas to run these events, so it looks like there will be quite a few options available for rental areas

*****dining // hotels: we have tons of cheap hotels // motels in town, so places to stay & eat are no big deal

********internet access // selling in advance:
for this one, the internet option looks to be a no-go, but luckily the store is open 7 days a week from noon - 10 pm & it is easily accessible on the main street + being directly beside campus, so that should do just fine

******city location: I have also discussed this with some level 2 & 3 judges that come to our store regularly to play in events, with each one agreeing that the small city being located in a central area to many bigger places may work well

****star city events coinciding:
surprisingly, Star City has had almost zero major events at their store in Roanoke, in favor of doing their work in major cities with larger venues. At this point, I am looking at their schedule, as well as other major vendors' schedules, to avoid scheduling conflicts.

******************************************************
Prize information: Since these events usually give back part of the entry fees in prizes, what is the typical structure? Also, are these prizes normally just in store credit or are they a company check with a W-9 gambling // gaming winnings tax form (for american players)?


************************************************
Another question set I would like to get some advice on is advertising, as I am the store's advertisement designer and distributor:


1. What store sites // major magic sites would people with experience here suggest that will permit a smaller store like ours to advertise on their sites?

2. What do these sites typically charge for advertisements (by space size, banner size, daily // weekly // monthly advertisement fees???

3. Do many stores that run Grand Prix tournaments also let other stores contract with them to sell cards in exchange for a percentage of sales at events like these, in addition to having their own sales booths? If this is the case, do larger stores also include letting the other store they are contracted with for the event give reduced or free event advertising?

4. What impact does advertising these events in regular forums like these have, if any, in boosting turnout?

5. Are sites like magic mom, etc... with their event calendars worth the time to advertise store events?

6. Are sites like macaronikid.com worth the time to advertise all of our free tournaments to also perk interest with in-store ads for entry-fee based events?

[Edited 4 times, lastly by jshields on February 18, 2013]

 
Kelldroth
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posted February 18, 2013 04:59 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for Kelldroth Click Here to Email Kelldroth Send a private message to Kelldroth Click to send Kelldroth an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
Speaking as an L2 Judge who has run a couple dozen GPTs.

They're typically going to break even or run at a loss, depending on if you have your own Judge staff.

You can expect anywhere from 4-20 players to show up depending on if the GP it feeds into is nearby and your level of prize support.

I've found two setups work best:
5-10 dollar entry fee with 2-4 packs in prize support will attract most of your usual crew, and typically make a small profit.

20-30 dollar entry fee GPTs need to offer significant prizes (typically .5-1k worth of guaranteed product prizes). These events will attract more serious players from within a 2 hour drive radius, but are considerably riskier, but higher reward.

1. What store sites // major magic sites would people with experience here suggest that will permit a smaller store like ours to advertise on their sites? Very few, but you'll have good luck using your community's local magic forums. If your local community doesn't have a magic forum for it's players, time to make one.

Facebook/twitter/other social networking site Advertising can also have huge impacts. Far more than advertisement on a national website would considering it'll be focused on the locals it concerns.


3. Do many stores that run Grand Prix tournaments also let other stores contract with them to sell cards in exchange for a percentage of sales at events like these, in addition to having their own sales booths? If this is the case, do larger stores also include letting the other store they are contracted with for the event give reduced or free event advertising?

Grand Prix are very large events with over a thousand players in attendance (which your store's GP Trial would feed). They are put on by large Organizers with supplemental income from WoTC. They typically sell floor space to other dealers to help offset the massive convention center costs. Those dealers seem to be allowed to advertise whatever they want at their table.

4. What impact does advertising these events in regular forums like these have, if any, in boosting turnout?

None if it's not local. Set up local forums and facebook groups.

5. Are sites like magic mom, etc... with their event calendars worth the time to advertise store events?

Anything a half K or over in prize support benefits from MTGmom calender as slightly more distant players will consider the travel.

6. Are sites like macaronikid.com worth the time to advertise all of our free tournaments to also perk interest with in-store ads for entry-fee based events?

No idea what macaronikid is, but in-store advertising is the best sort of advertising.

 
KIP_NZ
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posted February 18, 2013 05:27 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for KIP_NZ Click Here to Email KIP_NZ Send a private message to KIP_NZ Click to send KIP_NZ an Instant MessageVisit KIP_NZ's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jshields:
Although I am only a contracted magic dealer for the store where I work and have no control over what tournaments the store is running, I learned recently that my store is advanced enough to run Grand Prix and Grand Prix Trial tournaments. I am simply trying to get some general information for these from more experienced judges // store owners as our store can fit 50 people maximum according to state fire code, but I have heard of Grand Prix events having over 100 people.

Hi,
Just one thing that you might be slightly confused on which is the difference between running a GP and a GPT.

Grand Prix Trials tend to get 8-50 players and are held weekly at local stores. Player numbers normally depends on prize support / how desirable the GP is.

Grand Prixs tend to get 300-2000 players and have cash prizes put up by WoTC. The size of the GP is normally influenced by the format and the location.

All advanced stores can apply and run GPTs at the drop of the hat. Normally you're allowed to run GPTs for any of the GPs in your region however to run a GP is a really big deal, there's only 10-15 per year in the whole USA and massive dealers like SCG only get 1-2 per year. In order to run a GP you need a long and established history of being an advanced store running premium events like GPTs and PTQs.

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Kelldroth
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posted February 18, 2013 11:09 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for Kelldroth Click Here to Email Kelldroth Send a private message to Kelldroth Click to send Kelldroth an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KIP_NZ:
Hi,
Just one thing that you might be slightly confused on which is the difference between running a GP and a GPT.

Grand Prix Trials tend to get 8-50 players and are held weekly at local stores. Player numbers normally depends on prize support / how desirable the GP is.

Grand Prixs tend to get 300-2000 players and have cash prizes put up by WoTC. The size of the GP is normally influenced by the format and the location.

All advanced stores can apply and run GPTs at the drop of the hat. Normally you're allowed to run GPTs for any of the GPs in your region however to run a GP is a really big deal, there's only 10-15 per year in the whole USA and massive dealers like SCG only get 1-2 per year. In order to run a GP you need a long and established history of being an advanced store running premium events like GPTs and PTQs.


I think it's closer to mid-twenties in the USA since they doubled the number of GPs, but I could be wrong. I judge at 2-3 in the midwest per year.

 
TimeBeing
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posted February 19, 2013 03:36 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for TimeBeing Click Here to Email TimeBeing Send a private message to TimeBeing Click to send TimeBeing an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by KIP_NZ:

In order to run a GP you need a long and established history of being an advanced store running premium events like GPTs and PTQs.

Nothing to do with stores. GP are run by Professional Tourent Organizers. Running a GPT or a PTQ is nothing compared to running a GP. I think there are all of 5 or 6 PTOs that WotC lets run GP in the United States. (SCG is one of them)

I think the OP ment PTQs not GP. PTQs can get over 100 players all the time.

 
KIP_NZ
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posted February 19, 2013 04:45 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for KIP_NZ Click Here to Email KIP_NZ Send a private message to KIP_NZ Click to send KIP_NZ an Instant MessageVisit KIP_NZ's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TimeBeing:
Nothing to do with stores. GP are run by Professional Tourent Organizers. Running a GPT or a PTQ is nothing compared to running a GP. I think there are all of 5 or 6 PTOs that WotC lets run GP in the United States. (SCG is one of them)

I think the OP ment PTQs not GP. PTQs can get over 100 players all the time.


Interesting, down my part of the world the professional TOs are the stores as well

Yer I could see the OP meaning PTQs instead of GP.

quote:
Originally posted by Kelldroth:
I think it's closer to mid-twenties in the USA since they doubled the number of GPs, but I could be wrong. I judge at 2-3 in the midwest per year.


Yer I'm not sure, I was going off the season map which had 3 seasons and 5 per season listed. I suspect with the 4th Pro Tour being added that the number of GP's will also increase.

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caquaa
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posted February 19, 2013 06:26 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for caquaa Click Here to Email caquaa Send a private message to caquaa Click to send caquaa an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View caquaa's Trade Auction or SaleView caquaa's Trade Auction or Sale
quote:
Originally posted by TimeBeing:
Nothing to do with stores. GP are run by Professional Tourent Organizers

all along the west coast this is true. OR/WA/CANDA is all done by cascade games. CA aby area is ran by the dude that used to run a store in Mountain View; I forget his name. Not sure who does SoCal. It is different for all parts tho. Southern US is usually SCG or similar.

 
jshields
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posted February 20, 2013 08:07 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for jshields Click Here to Email jshields Send a private message to jshields Click to send jshields an Instant MessageVisit jshields's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
you all are totally right about scg. the big catch is that their physical store no longer has most major events there including GP's, Power 9 tournaments, Duel for Duals tournaments, nor events with prize pools there being more than about $3000 from what I have seen. basically, I am considering that this area may be an option, given that SCG usually runs most major events in major cities (Atlanta, Washington DC area, Charlotte, etc...).

I know that I am getting ahead of myself when I learned that our popular little store is qualified to run a GP or GP trial tournament, but I am still trying to work with the owner to try to run a GP sometime within the next year. I really did not know much, as I am a seller // advertisement designer instead of an organizer, trying to learn about what needs to be considered. I already know that these big events often need a large staff of judges to supervise the tournament, as well as store employees (many would be contract hires) to help with sales // purchases of cards.

 
AlmostGrown
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posted February 20, 2013 10:20 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for AlmostGrown Click Here to Email AlmostGrown Send a private message to AlmostGrown Click to send AlmostGrown an Instant MessageVisit AlmostGrown's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View AlmostGrown's Have/Want ListView AlmostGrown's Have/Want List
quote:
Originally posted by jshields:
you all are totally right about scg. the big catch is that their physical store no longer has most major events there including GP's, Power 9 tournaments, Duel for Duals tournaments, nor events with prize pools there being more than about $3000 from what I have seen. basically, I am considering that this area may be an option, given that SCG usually runs most major events in major cities (Atlanta, Washington DC area, Charlotte, etc...).

I know that I am getting ahead of myself when I learned that our popular little store is qualified to run a GP or GP trial tournament, but I am still trying to work with the owner to try to run a GP sometime within the next year. I really did not know much, as I am a seller // advertisement designer instead of an organizer, trying to learn about what needs to be considered. I already know that these big events often need a large staff of judges to supervise the tournament, as well as store employees (many would be contract hires) to help with sales // purchases of cards.


You keep saying your store can run a GP... I don't think you quite understand what that means.

 
Thanos
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posted February 20, 2013 10:44 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for Thanos Click Here to Email Thanos Send a private message to Thanos Click to send Thanos an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by AlmostGrown:
You keep saying your store can run a GP... I don't think you quite understand what that means.

Are you saying it's inconceivable?

 
KIP_NZ
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posted February 20, 2013 02:04 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for KIP_NZ Click Here to Email KIP_NZ Send a private message to KIP_NZ Click to send KIP_NZ an Instant MessageVisit KIP_NZ's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Thanos:
Are you saying it's inconceivable?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say "For a store that has not even run a GPT yet, yes it is inconceivable to think that they can run a GP within the next year"


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jshields
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posted February 23, 2013 07:49 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for jshields Click Here to Email jshields Send a private message to jshields Click to send jshields an Instant MessageVisit jshields's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
all stores have to start somewhere. I am merely trying to get advice on how to get these set up. Most likely, the plan would be GP trials for a number of months to get people interested, and I am simply trying to find ways to encourage the owner in expanding his business. Although some are spamming never for a small store, never is not an answer I am willing to accept. The business mostly had non-sanctioned magic events for about 7 of the past 13 years due to little traffic, but has enough of a customer base that grows each day that this is a distant future possibility.
 
KIP_NZ
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posted February 23, 2013 11:42 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for KIP_NZ Click Here to Email KIP_NZ Send a private message to KIP_NZ Click to send KIP_NZ an Instant MessageVisit KIP_NZ's Homepage  Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jshields:
all stores have to start somewhere. I am merely trying to get advice on how to get these set up. Most likely, the plan would be GP trials for a number of months to get people interested, and I am simply trying to find ways to encourage the owner in expanding his business. Although some are spamming never for a small store, never is not an answer I am willing to accept. The business mostly had non-sanctioned magic events for about 7 of the past 13 years due to little traffic, but has enough of a customer base that grows each day that this is a distant future possibility.

Oh I'm not saying never and you're right you have to start somewhere. Build on your GPT attendance over a season or 2 (1 season per Pro Tour, there's 4 PT's per year) & apply to hold a PTQ based on their attendance. Run several PTQs with good attendance then apply to hold a GP. I'd suggest making it a 2-3 year goal and to express the plan / desire to your regional play co-ordinator and see what they say as to what metric's you'll have to meet to hold a GP.

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TimeBeing
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posted February 24, 2013 01:21 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for TimeBeing Click Here to Email TimeBeing Send a private message to TimeBeing Click to send TimeBeing an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by caquaa:
all along the west coast this is true. OR/WA/CANDA is all done by cascade games. CA aby area is ran by the dude that used to run a store in Mountain View; I forget his name. Not sure who does SoCal. It is different for all parts tho. Southern US is usually SCG or similar.

It not even regional it's based on a lot of things. SCG did salt lake but not Denver. cascade is doing San Diego and did San Jose (bay area) but SunMesa did Anahaim. Wizards has very tough rules on who gets to do GP in north America and there are not many who get to.

Can a new peron get to do a GP? Maybe. But realize that the 3 PTO I mentioned above have been doing this for 10+ years. Your going to have to do a lot on convincing as to why you should be able to run a GP over wizards giving it to one of them.

Also wizards pick where the GP will be at then finds PTOs to run them.

[Edited 1 times, lastly by TimeBeing on February 24, 2013]

 
caquaa
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posted February 24, 2013 03:57 AM   Click Here to See the Profile for caquaa Click Here to Email caquaa Send a private message to caquaa Click to send caquaa an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote View caquaa's Trade Auction or SaleView caquaa's Trade Auction or Sale
I'm not a huge fan of cascade games because their side events just feel like scams. They are $20 drafts with low pack pay outs but first gets a free entry into anything.... rather have $5 less per draft and a bunch more packs paid out. I think its something like 2-4-1-1 with first getting 1 and they entry? Don't remember exactly, but I did one and was done.

[Edited 1 times, lastly by caquaa on February 24, 2013]
 
MagixDK
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posted February 24, 2013 01:31 PM   Click Here to See the Profile for MagixDK Click Here to Email MagixDK Send a private message to MagixDK Click to send MagixDK an Instant Message Edit/Delete Message Reply With Quote 
keep in mind that running a grand prix can easily be a 250.000$ investment. (venue, staff, deposits)

now consider if you have that laying around.

generally stores dont host GPs. Wizards own them, and different subcontractors carry them out.

 

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