Using Community Events to Grow Your League

Discussion in 'Feature Articles' started by PokePop, Sep 23, 2007.

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  1. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    Growing your League is critical to expanding Pokemon Organized play in your area. We hold our League at a local church, so we don't get new members coming in from store traffic. The only way that someone new is coming to the League is if they either know about it by word of mouth or if they find it using the online League Locator. Consequently, our membership had stagnated at around 20 members with 8-12 members coming in any given week.

    I knew that I had to come up with a way to get the word out for the new season so that we could get some membership growth. As it happened, I noticed some signs up in our community announcing a community celebration day on the coming Sunday. This would have been our first League of the new season, but the supplies were late. Instead of running a league using last season's supplies, I decided to get a table at this community event and promote our league. I called them up, reserved a table, and let all the regular league members know that we'd be at the celebration and to come by with their decks so that they could play there!


    I decided to bring along a second table of my own, and to bring as many folding chairs as I could, so that I could have a table set up for people to play the game and to run demos of the game. I used as many decorative elements as I could to make the display attractive to the people passing by and to make League exciting.



    Tony, one of my judges, was in change of supervising the gaming table and doing demos.

    As the celbration got under way, we spent our time telling people about how League worked and the various tournaments that we had coming up and, most important, collecting names and email addresses for our mailing list. While there were a very few "Pok-ee-manz? Is that still around?" from some kids, by and large, many kids and families were very happy to find some organized play for Pokemon. Most of the kids had not actually played the card game, but were happy to get the chance to do so. We collected over 30 new names for our mailing list!


    So, as the week passed, we wondered how many of these new players would show up on Sunday for League. I arrived early and set up extra table and chairs so that we'd be ready. As League time arrived, new players arrived. And arrived. And arrived!!!


    We would up with 34 players on our first day of the new League season. Three times our normal size. We signed up 23 new members today.


    The biggest challenge was trying to help everyone that needed to learn how to play all at once. Thanks to our League regulars for stepping up and teaching a lot of the kids!


    What do you need to do to do this for your League?
    1. Find out what events are going on locally to showcase local businesses and clubs. Contact your local town or community government or civic organizations. Try to get a table or booth at one of the events that they sponsor. This may be low cost or even free.
    2.Be prepared. Have flyers made up detailing what events you run and when they are. Have a sign up sheet for a mailing list. email is best. No one wants to spend a forture on regular mail and email gets the information out quicker, anyway.
    3. Try to bring an extra table and chairs so that you can run demos or allow people to play the card game at the event. There's nothing more exciting that seeing people actually doing what you are promoting, and having a lot of fun doing it!
    4. On League day, have plently of starter decks available for the new players. Many will bring either complete decks with them, or full binders that decks can be made from, but a lot of kids will need to get a starter deck from you in order to start playing. Check with your PTO or local store owner to see if you can get these on consignment, where you will only have to pay for the ones that people buy. Remember, you're not expected to lose money doing this by giving everything away!
    5. Have fun doing it. The more fun you're having, the more that kids will want to join in.
  2. Regis_Neo

    Regis_Neo Moderator

    That's a really neat idea PokePop. More people should definately take this idea into consideration.
  3. Lawman

    Lawman Active Member

    Great job Mike! I love the photos with the kids gathering around your table.

    A couple of questions: 1. Did you make the supersized cards ie Kingdra, horsea, etc? I know some mega sized cards existed from eons ago (Dark Sneasel anyone :rolleyes: ) Those look great if you made them.
    2. Table cloths....From Worlds or did you make them also?? I have an old table cloth from the WOTC days, given to me from a PTO from ages past. It is yellow ....not as colorful as these. It appears one has the unseen forces packaging on it.

  4. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    They are all presents from various events worked and missed.

    Re Sneasel (Banned at the STS): Want one? :cool:
  5. Lawman

    Lawman Active Member

    They are very nice Mike. You deserve the gifts you receive. As for a Mega Sneasel card.....methinks my wife would think I'm crazy to bring that sized card home. She "complains" some about all the regular sized cards around the house between me and the 2 boys! :lol:

  6. Flaming_Spinach

    Flaming_Spinach Feature Editor


    If only everyone had the dedication to the game (and free time) that you have.
  7. Prime

    Prime Content Developer<br>Blog Admin<br>Contest Host

    I am dieing over those over-sized cards and that big tablecloth of yours. Those are truly awesome. And your story is truly awesome. I'm happy to hear of the success you had, and I hope your league keeps growing.
  8. KazamBolt

    KazamBolt Active Member

    That is so cool! My local league should do something like that.
  9. pikachual

    pikachual New Member

    GJ Pokepop....I think our league should be doing something like that also.....really need to get more juniors in....most are masters and a few seniors....and very few juniors....its the only way to grow the game and league....the older players might find other interests as they grow up.....I wish our league would try some of your ideas....Good job Pokepop
  10. pokeirv

    pokeirv Member

    That was a great idea! That's how my son got involved. Someone was demoing the card game at a mall and he's been hooked ever since.
  11. Heatherdu

    Heatherdu New Member

    Terrific! What a nice idea. I'm glad that you had such a wonderful response.
  12. ShadowCard

    ShadowCard Active Member

    Awesome idea, PokePop. I'll start looking for such events. The whole idea seems like a lot of fun, but my time constraints may prove to be a problem.

    And about the supersized cards, you sure know how to run a promotion, PokePop :thumb:
  13. meganium45

    meganium45 Active Member

    Mike! Great photos!


    Looks like we have another "Piglet Rancher" title to give away!

  14. Dante63s

    Dante63s New Member

    Great article, I hope more and more people start doing these!
  15. BattleBeastEXP

    BattleBeastEXP New Member

    Wow! Cool! And do they normally sell card cases at the events? I only have 50 :biggrin:
  16. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    I don't undertand the question.
    What card cases and where do I talk about selling anything above?

    I actually forgot to mention in the article to try to have givaway items.
  17. Gibby

    Gibby New Member

    OMG! Look at those jumbo sized Kingdra δ line cards! I love Kingdra and his pre's. I would love to have those.

    Anyway, in regards to what this thread is about, I also agree that spreading the word about league is important. It's where many people first are introduced to the game (either that or through friends), and it's also a great place for trades and for experience.

    I've noticed a steady increase in events here; though I haven't been to league in about a month due to schedule conflicts. I do want to attend more often, but being a student in my final year hurts that part.

    Thanks for sharing about your ideas. It helps give others possible things to do about spreading their leagues.

    Matt "Gibby" Gibson
  18. ilikegengar

    ilikegengar Member

    Thank you for sharing this idea. Our league has grown considerably. Did you get many new teens to come to league? Our leauge is so lopsided. We have sooo many juniors, maybe 3 seniors that regualarly come. The only masters are parents! I'd love to get some new teens to our league.

    Any time, any way you can promote your league, by free ads in papers , bulletin board notices, community events--great idea.
  19. PokePop

    PokePop Administrator

    I think the juniors is where the growth is.
    That's what we got mostly.
  20. Flaming_Spinach

    Flaming_Spinach Feature Editor

    In my experience, teens do not care about playing casually at League. They care about getting straight into Cities and higher events.

    You should keep information about competitive play on hand for these players, and anyone else who's curious.

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