How to Prep for Huge Events
How do you make the leap from big events to massive ones?
Kirwan's Game Store has it figured out.
Owner Steve Kirwan regularly runs WPN Premium Tournaments with attendance upwards of 100, and their Pro Tour Qualifier last January hit 266.
Here's what he has to say about the preparation—and execution—of large-scale events.
Steve leans heavily on social media—primarily Facebook, including a community page that reaches over 800 players.
But he also believes in "boots on the ground": flyers in the window, on utility poles, into bags with purchases. He even invested in a Copystar CS3050CI to do his printing in-house.
He recommends liberal use of our digital marketing assets (available on our Products page) and printing multiple flyers per page.
Vet Your Venue
Steve vets locations meticulously, considering everything from parking and accessibility to ventilation and onsite concessions.
Ample capacity is crucial. A venue once promised him comfortable seating for 120 players—well above the turnout he was expecting. But he opted for a larger venue anyway, just in case.
Contract Local Stores to Set Up Shop
A booth at one of Steve's events gives burgeoning stores a chance to get some exposure, and it gives players a place to get sleeves, dice, or other last-minute purchases before submitting their decks.
Steve sees it as an opportunity to nurture the Magic ecosystem as a whole—plus the fees he charges for booths can cover upwards of 25% of the total cost of the event.
Be Willing to Take a Hit
"I look at big tournaments as advertising," says Steve.
His example: Imagine the total expenses of a 100 player tournament come to $2000. Now imagine the tournament returns $1800.
Steve calls this a success, because you've reached 100 players directly at $2 each—you've shaken their hand, learned their name, and put on a great event for them.
Handle Judges with Care
If he has exactly one piece of advice, it's this: "Treat your judges fairly."
"[Players] don't see your store, they see judges," he says. "They have your brand in their hands."
His recommendations: recruit more judges than you need, recruit rules advisors so they can earn experience, meet afterward to get feedback, compensate generously.
If you've got a big event in mind or on your calendar, take Steve's advice and start preparing today!
How do you make your large events great? Tell us at WPNStories@wizards.com.