The Dragon's Den
It's All About the Revolution
Just like the title says, "it's all about the revolution!" That's been
my slogan for the past week. I have gotten nothing but positive responses
from all of you readers out there and I love it. Glad to see that you guys
enjoy our writings and what our website has to offer. Tell your friends and
keep on coming. I have tried to reply to all of you and I think I made it.
If I missed anyone I am sorry, write me some mail and I promise I will get
back to you. I even responded to the few AIM instant messages I got.
Well enough of patting myself on the back. Apparently the revolution has
started and we are leading the charge. Glad to see that so many people liked
my last article. I like to lead by example and several of you agree with
that theory. Well I figured with this article I would take the time to
address some more ways to increase the popularity of Magic. I was gonna
dance around a little bit, but let's get straight to it.
1. Get More Money
Of course as always, money is not the answer. It won't solve all of our
worries as far as bringing more people to the game, but it will definitely
help. If I remember right, at one point MCI Worldcom and Yahoo! both were
sponsoring the Pro Tour. How much money are they putting into this deal?
Pick up more sponsors. Advertise for more people online via the Sideboard.
Everyone keeps talking about how more cash brought some of the great players
like Finkel back to the game full time. Well if it brings out the talent,
then bring more money! There is plenty of money out there to be had when it
comes to the internet, advertising, and business. Wizards, coming from a
basement company to industry powerhouse, should know all about that.
2. Create/Be A Celebrity
This can be handled one of two ways. If any of you have ever watched the
WWF, you know all about a company creating a celebrity. Vince McMahon and
the WWF can take almost any character and make you feel the way they want you
to about them. All it takes is some creative advertising and some neat
camera work. Give more depth about the players. Don't be afraid to
publicize bad rivalries between players in feature matches. Use the ratings
and rankings. People like to hear stats. If player #125 was taking down
player #4 in the world some people would find that interesting. It's one
more thing to help people identify with the players. Bring all of the
player's game related information out on front street so the viewers can get
into them more. Allow players and viewers alike to feel for the characters.
When the characters actually get upset or elated when a player wins and/or
loses, you will know that you have done it right.
The second part of this statement is about the pro players themselves.
You have to BE a celebrity. Being a celebrity requires more than just
smiling for the camera and writing an article. Finkel and Rubin may be nice
guys and all, but they just don't seem like great celebrities. Again, I had
to take a small survey. I wanted to make sure I was not alone on my
opinions. When the results were tallied, our two top picks for #1 Magic
celebrity were Brian Kibler and Chris Pikula (in no particular order).
People voted for these guys for several different reasons. They are willing
to sign cards, show appreciations when some one mentions them, are always
smiling and being good sports, and they are always fun to talk to and share
stories. Also, what surprised me the most is that people really appreciated
being able to get e-mail responses from them and share in conversation with
them online. It may seem like a few little things to you, but if it helps
keep people interested, then do it to keep them happy. You pros out there
have to remember, that if it stays entertaining to the general public, that
ensures that money will stay coming in for you to win on the tour.
3. Hold promotional tournaments.
There are various reasons why people can't do this one. I think this is
pretty much out of WotC's hands and needs to be handled more on the local
level. Tournament Organizers, not to mention the average game store, should
host events for new people. Have events where anyone over the 1650 ratings
flag may not participate. That's not so bad. Or you could even make it
1700. This would ensure that the big guns were not running the new people
out of the tournament. Make it a free or small entry fee. Trust me, it
works. The players will really appreciate it. Also, a lot of them will get
the feel of tournament play and won't feel so awkward when having to fight it
out with the other powerhouses in larger events. This past weekend we
offered a pack of Homelands and a pack of Fallen Empires to the bottom three
players that finished the tournament. Several people thought
this was going
to be a bad idea, but the players LOVED it. It was something small and
inexpensive, but the players thought it was great. Also, giving prizes to
the Top 16 was a great idea. Even though it was just a few packs for 9th
through 16th, it made the players feel more appreciated and made it feel like
they didn't waste so much of their time. You gain a steady tournament player
base through player appreciation. If you appreciate your players and they
appreciate you, then the two will help to support each other.
4. Listen to what the players say.
Don't get me wrong here. I am not saying that what the players say is
always right. There will be many times that the complaining players are the
ones that are cheap and don't want to spend money (and many times the ones
causing trouble). However, take into account everything that is being said
about the event or tournament that you are running. For those of you that
are unaware, I own a game store. A standard policy I have in my store is
that I won't allow anyone to talk to me while I am in the middle of
something. I try to either finish what I am doing or simply stop what I am
doing, then I give the person trying to speak to me my undivided attention.
This shows them that you are seriously listening. You won't miss any
critical facts from what they are saying. Most important, they feel that
much more appreciated and know that they were heard. Also, you may be
overlooking something small that one of the players has noticed and that
could make a big difference. Don't ever assume that you are running your
event perfectly. There is almost always something you can improve upon.
Anyone that has attended my cash events can tell you that during the event I
am always asking people what they like, don't like, about the temperature,
space, etc. But I rarely have a person leave unhappy, so I will stick with
this game plan :)
5. Support more formats.
This one CAN be done by WotC. Personally I am not sure how realistic it
is for them. It can definitely be arranged on the local level. WotC may not
be able to afford to put time and money into developing a system for a new
format. However, local stores can do it easily. Several people have jumped
on the 5-color Magic band wagon. Most of them are playing just to have a new
format to play. Other are playing just so they can use all their old cards.
Regardless of their reasons, they are having fun. If you can do something
that brings people together and brings smiles to their faces, why not do it.
I'll be honest here. I have been totally lacking in this facet of play in my
store. I have been debating the idea of turning Sunday into my "random
format" day. It's always fun to have something new, and it even allows the
serious players to relax and bit and enjoy themselves.
These are just a few of the major ideas that are pretty simple to
implement. I have a few others, but they are more difficult. Like, why not
support a colored player. Have like a "Tiger Woods of Magic." That might
bring in more players. It would even be something neat to talk about during
ESPN interviews and stuff. Better yet, promote a female Magic player. If
they were doing anything on the Grand Prix circuit, Michelle Bush would be
the topic of conversation on the next televised Magic event for her most
recent GP performance. That's good stuff. Those are the things that people
find interesting. Honestly, you might even want to have an ESPN show where
they explain how to play Magic. Maybe address some of the
the game and stuff. Use some of the better known pros to promote it. The
idea is to cater to more than just Magic players. Yeah, it's great if all
the magic players in the world can watch ESPN2 and see the Pro Tour, but what
about the non players. Bringing more people in from the average public is
how you gain sales, interest, and popularity.
Doing special events always helps as well. If you can set up a booth at
a local event that a lot of people will be attending, do so. Offer free game
demos and stuff. People will stop in just to pass time. Even if you just
get three people out of every fifty, it's well worth it. We have
even done events
for churches before. We are looking into setting up at a couple of local
high school and/or colleges during the lunch hour just to let them know that
we are out there. Something to remember.... lots of people stay away from
Magic because they have no one/nowhere to play and many others stay away
because they think you have to be a brainiac to learn the game. As many of
you can attest to, most of us are not brainiacs.
I will admit, the people at WotC headquarters are not morons. The most
genius thing that they have done lately is start running commercials. The
original ones were really bad..."all you need is a brain, a deck, and a
friend." Very bad slogan for something people already thought was "nerdy."
The knew series of commercials, with the lab testing facility and such are
great. They are good visually and get straight to the point. They make sure
to show some of the packaging and draw your attention. They have even gone
as far as to sponsor a WWF Pay-Per-View event back near the middle of last
year. Best of all, it works. We have had several people walk into our store
saying, "I saw this Magic stuff on TV and a friend told me I could buy it
here." It hasn't been a ton of people mind you, but I would say it has been
about 10-12 people and in my eyes, that is a pretty significant response.
Honestly, I am seeing more new faces at every tournament. I am serious,
more new faces everyday in my store for that matter. The game isn't dying or
anything. I'm not predicting the end of the world for our
favorite game by
any means. I am just offering up ideas to help promote it. Something to
remember is that sports are about entertainment. One way to keep people
watching and keep them coming back is to keep it entertaining. Not just on
the Pro level, but on all levels and all aspects.
Well, with all that done, I would like to close on a personal note.
Several of you seemed genuinely interested in my tournaments and such, and I
want to let all of you know that all went well. Also, our next one is March
3rd. Very similar prize package. Come stop by my place and play in your
first Type 2 tournament of the new standard environment. Next week I am
going to get a little more technical and address something important in the
game of Magic, patience and rhythm. Until next week, enjoy our site!
Hasta la bye bye,