You Could Be Losing Tickets at This Very Moment
A funny thing happened when we introduced the new WPN in March.
We made a big change—introducing universal Promo Packs—that had a small side benefit. Promo Pack quantities are based on your metrics, as opposed to which events you schedule, which means we don’t need as much time to coordinate shipping. Which means there's no reason to restrict scheduling to a specific time frame.
So we let everyone schedule their events right up to the moment they happen. Even Prerelease.
But that small side benefit had a big effect. With the restrictions lifted, some stores continued to schedule early, just like they always did. Others—well, let's say they "took advantage" of the new freedom.
That's working out great for one of those groups. Less great for the other.
The Best Time to Schedule: Before the Distributor Lock Date
We generally recommend scheduling events as early as possible—why not maximize Store and Event Locator exposure?—but, failing that, schedule events no later than when card previews start (about three weeks before launch). That's usually when players start shopping around for events.
And that holds true—attendance falls off a cliff when you schedule after previews start. Events scheduled in the last three weeks before Prerelease draw 90% fewer Tickets than events scheduled before. (98% fewer if you schedule on Prerelease weekend. 98!)
That's not too surprising. But this is.
Even if you schedule your event between the distributor lock date and the beginning of preview season start, you can still expect 23% fewer Tickets than a store that schedules right away. In fact, 54% of all Throne of Eldraine Prerelease Tickets came from events that were scheduled before the lock date.
What accounts for the difference?
Average Decline in Store and Event Locator Traffic Per Week: 10%
The main reason scheduling early is so effective is that it gives your events more time in the Store and Event Locator. The longer your event is there, the more opportunities there are for players to see it.
For example, for Throne of Eldraine, If you scheduled when scheduling opened (July 22), then you had ten weeks of exposure. Your event is visible to 100% of viewers during that time. That’s a pretty great reward for nothing more than a few clicks in Wizards Event Reporter.
But the later you schedule, the less time your event will have up on the SEL and fewer players will see it. On average, every week you wait, you lose 10% of your potential views—and potential players.
Now let’s say you scheduled your Prerelease event when card previews started—about three weeks from Prerelease weekend.
During those three weeks, the Store and Event locator only saw 27% of the total traffic for the whole scheduling period. And if you wait until the week of Prerelease? Only 12% of potential players will see your event. It's no wonder that those events see such drastically lower attendance.
And it's no wonder that the WPN's top performers all schedule early: the average WPN Premium store scheduled Throne of Eldraine Prerelease a few days before the distributor lock. Which means they see the benefits of all those eyes on the Store and Event Locator. It’s one of the things that helps them reach Premium numbers.
If you’re like most stores, Tickets are the hardest metric for you to improve. If you’re trying to reach Premium, or just get more Tickets, then scheduling earlier could help improve your store’s metrics.
Want to benefit from all that extra time in the Store and Event Locator like these stores will? Schedule your events today!