The Key to Long-Term Growth

The Key to Long-Term Growth

November 6, 2014 | 2 min to read

Friday Night Magic exploded last summer at River City Comics and Games.

Following Modern Masters, owner Joseph Scheib noticed huge new interest in the Modern format, so he switched his FNM to Modern, promptly upping attendance 77% over the previous summer.

But after the switch, he found himself catering exclusively to highly-engaged players, and missing opportunities to attract new ones.

 

The current players are great, but to grow the game, we need to make it accessible to new players—Joseph Scheib, River City Comics

 

Meanwhile, right around the time of his 225-player Modern Pro Tour Qualifier, Joseph was approached by a father—an FNM regular— about his 10-year-old son who enjoyed Magic, but struggled at FNM.

"He does better when he plays against players his own age," the father said.

So the two of them put their heads together and arrived at a common solution: an entry-level event geared toward younger gamers.

A New Model for New Players

Their idea was to maintain a "tournament" feel while maintaining a comfortable environment for young players.

They designed the event with that goal in mind:

  • $2 entry fee ("So they feel like they're in a tournament.")
  • Modest payout ("So they get something for it"—without getting the veterans interested.)
  • "Kitchen Table REL" ("So they don't get overwhelmed.")
  • One event every two months ("I don't want to overwhelm parents, either.")

A Good Fit (for Everyone)

Their first event drew eight players, several of whom have come back for FNM—a big success, according to Joseph.

The way he sees it, if every eight-player event creates one new gamer, that will go a long way toward sustaining his player base long term.

And more importantly, it's a great experience and a low-pressure environment for young players to meet friends and explore the game they love—which, it turns out, is just Joseph's style.

"I like to run more friendly, laid-back tournaments," he says.

Bright Futures

Joseph and his younger players are both looking forward to more events. And with more of them coming, Joseph is also looking forward to long-term growth for his store.

How are you creating great experiences for young players? Tell us at WPNStories@wizards.com.

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