The Skokie Madden Bowl

The dust has settled, and the first game tournament held at MPOW was a big success! 17 gamers showed up this past Saturday for some blazing Madden action.

the calm before the storm.

Key things to remember if you’re planning a tournament of your own:

  • Be ready to invest plenty of time. My esteemed colleague spent a long time getting ready for this. We even played a few rounds of Madden just to know how long games would go, and what pitfalls to expect. (As luck would have it, our practice session occurred just as our HR coordinator was leading an outside group through our offices. We were working, I swear.)
  • Have a backup plan (or three.) Not knowing how many people were going to show up was a big concern for me. We wanted to make sure people had adequate time and chances to play, but we also couldn’t have games go on for too long. I knew we were going to have at least 16 people, so I made a few “contingency brackets” just in case we had 20, 24, or 28 people. Since we had 17, we were able to have an initial playoff round to determine the bracket seeding.
  • Never underestimate the power of free food. One program evaluation was quite profuse: “Even if you lost early, you still won some pizza.”
  • Use as many opportunities to market as you can. Beyond in-house signage, email and print newsletters, and listings on our events calendar, we made a point to reach out to a number of nontraditional venues. About a third of the crowd came because they saw an ad we placed on Facebook. We created an ad targeting people in Skokie and a few surrounding towns who had listed “football” and “madden” as their interests. This got our ad about 17,000 views and a dozen click throughs. The total cost? $3.67. Another family came to the tournament after seeing the event listed on Craigslist. These sources are all out there, and their power can’t be underestimated.
  • Don’t forget to have fun! Our program room is wired for sound, so I grabbed the presentation mic and made a nusiance of myself doing play-by-play commentary. It ended up being a natural way to keep an eye on things without feeling like a chaperone at a high school Spring Fling.

The results are most encouraging for the next event (just as soon as we decide what we’re doing.) You can view the final results on the Library blog, and see more photos on our Flickr page.

In tangentially related news, have you seen the image on our front page? Those images are chosen at least a month in advance. Makes me wonder if it’s an omen for the Buzzsaw That Is The Arizona Cardinals.

  • http://kongtemplation.com Rich

    great tips! i’ll add one more…get the local gamestop on your side! it was great having jeff with us for the tournament.

  • http://www.theanalogdivide.com Toby

    That’s a fantastic point, Rich. I can’t believe I didn’t mention it in the first place!

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