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League Fees - People's Thoughts ??

DRD

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Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
5,415
Location
Newark
I am a huge fan of the League. I have hosted a number of times and even though I did not travel to a single meeting last year- I hosted as I am in a position to "do my bit" and keep this weird thing alive.

I have just seen that the first Scotland League meeting is £5 including food.

This seems ridiculously cheap to me. Realistically you get 4h of pinball plus food and drinks.

That is less than a pint in a pub. Cod and chips can cost 10 to 15 quid. A pasta main course at Pizza Express is 15 quid. A mate had lamb cutlets in a mid tier Italian restaurant in Manchester and that was £32 for 5 lamb chops !!!

I have suffered machine collapse after league meetings, the most significant needed a System 11 board sending away to Andy Netherwood. I know of another host running more modern machines who has had a had much more costly experience.

I don't know how many folk are willing to host these days, but I suspect that number will dwindle if a fiver is all that 4h in their home plus a tonne of work and the risk of expensive repairs is worth.
 
Completely agree. Since attending my first league meet in 2013 I've always thought it ridiculously cheap.
 
it’s a bit of a labour of love isn’t it? I doubt anyone does it to break even.

I’ve never really sat down and worked out how much it costs to host but I’d guess £300-£400 or so on food/drink based on a tenner a head then repair costs/new balls etc but I mentally write that off as general wear and tear over the year.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve never had any major breakages or damage.

Do hosts generally take a cut of the entry price? I’ve always thought the SE league was £2.50 a meet. It’s never even occurred to me to ask for a donation.

I don’t really mind though as I get to hang out at other people’s house. Play their games and enjoy their hosting.
 
I 100% get free entry to the other meets so I don’t know what other people charge as I never pay 😂. I thought it was £2.50 to all the SE meets.

Cake also features pretty heavily at a lot of the meets.
 
I’ve never done meets outside of my region.
A 200 mile round trip is insane 😱 I struggle to make it to the other side of London.
Public transport also makes a big difference as to how much alcohol is consumed. My impression is the Northern league is very tea heavy.

The biggest change for us over the last year was the change in focus on points so lots of the meets were really quiet compared to previous years.

I’m far from certain I’ll bother hosting this year.
 
Everything about UK Pinball is old mens club vibes, outdated and needs rethinking

Guys down in London are really pushing forward

£10 seems fair on a monthly basis! for 4 hours of pinball

I've always offered to host a midlands one and at time but got shot down for various reasons, hence why I boycotted it this year after being asked to host then asked if I really want to host cause some people are moaning over parking

I'll be doing a Tilt Super Series in 2024 a monster comp every 3 months for £10 for a day of matchplay!

Any issues I take on the chin and pay to fix myself because nothing brings me more joy then seeing people play pinball in public
 
I think our EA League is £2 to the league then a donation to the hosts, probably around a tenner.

Everything about UK Pinball is old mens club vibes, outdated and needs rethinking

Guys down in London are really pushing forward

Everything? That's a bit unfair😄
As far I know you've not attended many events in the last year or two. But maybe that's because you think the events aren't worth it or an old men's club. I don't think we're old men😄

I heard the London SE league was overly busy and not many games to play so what do you consider pushing it forward?
 
I think our EA League is £2 to the league then a donation to the hosts, probably around a tenner.



Everything? That's a bit unfair😄
As far I know you've not attended many events in the last year or two. But maybe that's because you think the events aren't worth it or an old men's club. I don't think we're old men😄

I heard the London SE league was overly busy and not many games to play so what do you consider pushing it forward?

Been attending more shows in America and Europe since 2019

Pushing forward... Neils events, events at Flip Out, enjoyed the super series they did in 2019, UK Open...

I think a lot of positive change will happen with Matt in charge!

I'll be doing my thing at Tilt which will provide a decent comp every 3 months for 72 players
 
Been attending more shows in America and Europe since 2019

Pushing forward... Neils events, events at Flip Out, enjoyed the super series they did in 2019, UK Open...

I find this a little insulting, there's plenty of great, well attended events around the UK, doing new formats and bringing new people to our hobby.

The UK league is getting bigger next year, and having a change of format, which I'm excited by.

Not every event needs to milk wpprs at the expense of fun and accessibility. Bringing new UK players in is more important imo.
 
A 200 mile round trip is insane 😱 I struggle to make it to the other side of London.
My impression is the Northern league is very tea heavy.
The North is geographically huge. I have the option of 100 miles south to all the Northern meets or 100 miles.North to the Scotland meets.

Northern league is tea heavy. Public transport to many of the venues either doesn't exist or would take too long. Not an option for me as there is no village bus service on a Sunday. :)
 
Time wise I suspect your 100 miles isn’t much difference to the time it takes me to drive across the city.
It’s crazy the differences across the country in terms of travel time.
Thorpe park is just over 20 miles from me. Would take 90 mins on a good run often 2-2.5 hours. Going to Dawn’s for a league meet is probably a 4 hour round trip.

it’s sad that our 20 mph speed limits are actually quite optimistic at times. It’s crazy when you see cyclists speeding past you.
 
Been attending more shows in America and Europe since 2019

Pushing forward... Neils events, events at Flip Out, enjoyed the super series they did in 2019, UK Open...

I think a lot of positive change will happen with Matt in charge!

I'll be doing my thing at Tilt which will provide a decent comp every 3 months for 72 players
To be clear, I am not involved in running the UK League.

Last year (at least in the South East) attendance was down because it was clear there would be next to no world ranking points.

Personally I'm a big fan of the league because it is a friendly gateway for many to try competitive pinball. I think with the addition of regional finals next year the points will be worthwhile which should see attendance's rise and those that don't care won't be adversely affected.

When it comes to fee's, they have always varied from region to region but perhaps each host could have a donations pot to help with the rising cost of food/drink/parts?

Also, the club is called Pinball Republic!
 
I find this a little insulting, there's plenty of great, well attended events around the UK, doing new formats and bringing new people to our hobby.

The UK league is getting bigger next year, and having a change of format, which I'm excited by.

Not every event needs to milk wpprs at the expense of fun and accessibility. Bringing new UK players in is more important imo.

Who mentioned WPPRS, not me... I have no interest in them and haven't for years.

However a lot of people do like them so I have asked Gene to ensure they are above 100% for our events.

I stand by my comment the leagues were setup in a didn't era and need to be looked at.

There is little to no promotion of them outside of the forum and also interaction circles, as @DRD its comes at a get expensive to the host, for last 10 plus years it just ticks over exactly the same as before.

@David_Vi A league is competitive by nature, if you want fun scrap the league and turn them in socials like I did at Tilt. People who come to our Tuesdays nights have a choice to come have fun and a choice to play in the league.

Also, the club is called Pinball Republic!

It was still called Flip Out in the period I was referring to
 
I stand by my comment the leagues were setup in a didn't era and need to be looked at.

There is little to no promotion of them outside of the forum and also interaction circles, as @DRD its comes at a get expensive to the host, for last 10 plus years it just ticks over exactly the same as before.

Pinball Offices second league, 14 of the top 20 people who attended at least the minimum required meets (4) were new to competitive pinball and all of those and some who were in the top 30 have gone on to attend other events around the UK.

The UK league needs to attract new people, I agree, but how do you do that without public venues who get new people? The retention of new people for pinball venues is incredibly small. We were lucky with the office but still of 1000s who visit only a tiny percentage visit again and even less return to the league a second time.

Competitive Pinball should be fun, it's our hobby, why would you do it otherwise? It's not like there's money in it. If it was just competitions and no socialising I wouldn't care for it. For me it's about the people and moments created .
Competitions create a purpose and attract people, you can still have competitions that aren't intense and are ranked so they get people hooked.


The UK league has been looked at, it's increased its regions and added finals, I don't know what else you can do. Pinball is so niche it's incredibly hard to attract new people and retain them.
 
I've never had an issue retaining players in Tilt but we very assessable by public transport.

Personally I would use some of the IFPA money to build a new website or we invent the current leagues one to include all comps on for PR purposes.

I'd then get some flyers made to give to outlets like pinball heaven, retro Dave etc to mail out with all orders.... Advertising the website and events and socials etc

You'd be surprised how big the hobby actually is... Only maybe 5-10% of people attend events and post on here
 
Spend weeks preparing for a league meet, then the bbq costs more than the entry fees.
It's part of being part of the scene.... but then..
 
I've never had an issue retaining players in Tilt but we very assessable by public transport.

Surely if that was the case you'd have a league with 1000s of players?
You probably get more footfall due to tilt being more than just pinball but of those people I doubt that many play pinball once then return and play a league considering how many people walk through the doors.

You'd be surprised how big the hobby actually is... Only maybe 5-10% of people attend events and post on here

I'm quite aware, especially in East Anglia and from visiting collections elsewhere, there's so many private collections but most of these people don't care for competitive play so getting them involved in leagues is a non starter in most cases. Some people just play casually with friends and either, aren't aware of comps, don't care about competitions or find them daunting.

We've encountered so many who didn't realise competitions weren't deadly serious and were fun. Jmac is one who didn't have any interest until coming over last year now has the bug and is thriving😄

It's a niche hobby inside an already niche hobby 🤣

Your promotional ideas are pretty good considering the amount of flyers I get in every retro arcade specialists order 😆
 
The league’s advertising isn’t exactly high profile. I think most people just stumble across it. I can’t remember how I first discovered it but I suspect I found the old yahoo group first and followed a link.

Out of curiosity I thought I’d see if they had a Facebook page. Turns out they do but it only has a couple of posts a year.

There’s also an issue with promoting events in people’s house. I’m happy knowing 80%+ of the people who turn up. I’d be far less comfortable with 30 random people roaming the house.
 
Out of curiosity I thought I’d see if they had a Facebook page. Turns out they do but it only has a couple of posts a year.

There’s also an issue with promoting events in people’s house. I’m happy knowing 80%+ of the people who turn up. I’d be far less comfortable with 30 random people roaming the house.

A more active FB page would be a start, especially if it can post to UK Pinball pages.
I don't think you'd get a ton of new random people, it would be a trickle if anything.

The issue we have in the UK, especially our house (and a few of the coming Anglia hosts) is we can't really accommodate more than 25-30 people.
I imagine it's different in the USA going by the pics of games rooms I see. Plus they have more proper locations.
 
The issue we have in the UK, especially our house (and a few of the coming Anglia hosts) is we can't really accommodate more than 25-30 people.
That is the absolute biggest issue, and the reason why there hasn't been a big push to get more players.
The houses which account for most of the meets simply can't accommodate 50 plus players. Regional coordinators are finding it harder to find people willing to host each year.
London players constantly complain about the queues for games.
As John said, it's one thing having a few newbies attend where they're generally monitored and policed by the regulars, it's very different having 20-30 extra strangers turning up.

Changes of regions has been mooted previously, but lots of people would attend their traditional regions regardless, because that's where their mates are.

The IFPA changing the rules about league meets (because other venues abused the system to max out WPPRs) meant that some of the people who were primarily interested in WPPRs dropped out - that's fine and their choice. But many other top-level players have continued to attend all of the meets in addition to new people joining all of the time.

There is enough room for many different formats to live harmoniously together - not every competition has to be tailored to the elite with finals that exclude the majority of entrants and go on for hours. Likewise not every competition needs to be for fun with minimal (if any) WPPRs.

If you like the format of a comp attend it, if you don't don't - I really don't see the need to abuse and criticise anybody else's comps - but it seems some people just can't help themselves.
 
Bit late to the party here :D Covering a few of the points raised in no particular order..

Fees are broadly down for the regional coordinators to set, though there is a split taken to the league as a whole. I can certainly agree that it's worth reassessing those fees periodically - not least after the burst of inflation we've all been putting up with over the last year or so. If you're a host (or potential host) then speak to your regional coordinator. Contact details are on the site, or pm me and I can put you in touch.

We've added a new region recently (massive kudos to all those involved). There's always room for more localised regions if you think you can take it on. I think what Claire and David have done over the last few years is an outstanding example of how you could seed and grow a tournament scene in your local area.

There are format changes this year for those that care about WPPRs, or (as Matt pointed out) if you don't care, you probably won't even notice. Individual league meets are still the same friendly welcoming format they've always been. I also agree it's important that not everything needs to be super serious competitive, but it should serve as a gateway drug into serious competitive pinball :D

I am a professional software developer and I have many many plans not just for the league site but for site/s for competitive pinball in the UK more broadly. Some will definitely be collaborative with other people. I will gladly bore anyone to tears with these plans if you catch me in person and fancy a chat. I'm also very happy to hear feedback and ideas from people that are similarly passionate about this stuff - pm or emails always welcome.
 
I am a professional software developer and I have many many plans not just for the league site but for site/s for competitive pinball in the UK more broadly. Some will definitely be collaborative with other people. I will gladly bore anyone to tears with these plans if you catch me in person and fancy a chat. I'm also very happy to hear feedback and ideas from people that are similarly passionate about this stuff - pm or emails always welcome.

Great news :)

I'm sure if you need anything you'll get the support needed to roll it out :)
 
Everything about UK Pinball is old mens club vibes, outdated and needs rethinking
I'm sorry, what the actual f**k?!

I hosted London and SE League in August. I am a 40-something woman :mad: I spent about £60 on catering, which was mostly food I BAKED MYSELF. Because homemade blondies, samosas, falafels and cheesecake served on a sunny afternoon with coke/elderflower cordial gives such an 'old man' vibe 😲

Cake.jpg

We had two pins go down temporarily on the day, and had to do a full flipper rebuild on another pin after the event (probably £30-40). So, probably £100 total, plus the time we spent getting the machines in competition shape before the competition (mostly cleaning and a few minor repairs). I thought about asking for some money (I was given the option to charge more), but worried no one would come.

I was DELIGHTED to host. It was a really nice vibe being able to share my collection with other people in the community after enjoying Martin and John's collections, especially, and it provided a very relaxed atmosphere compared to the UK Open, which was an amazing event but also seriously intense.

I think it's amazing that Neil is involved in organising the UK Open, 100% kudos to him, but I wouldn't want every event to be like that. In particular, Day 3 of the Open, all the unused machines were taken out of operation - for obvious efficiency-of-pack-up-and-repair reasons - but it did mean that those of us still entering the Pinball Republic bank spent up to 15 minutes waiting for a slot on each machine, with only a limited number of chairs, hardly any ability to play other pins, and barely any ability to watch the main competition (because you couldn't hear the commentary). In short, the focus was entirely on the international competition and it simply wasn't social - which is fine for serious competition play, but not for more casual tournament play. Eventually, it felt so tedious and painful to fill cards that I went home.
 
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