Quiz Bowl Economics

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AKKOLADE
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Quiz Bowl Economics

Post by AKKOLADE »

I've been contemplating the past couple of days about the tournament pricing system that is used in state - namely, a flat rate of $25 per team. Given that this is insanely cheap, and as such I can barely make a profit off of a NAQT tournament, I've been trying to figure out if a price increase would be benefitial or harmful to the circuit here. $25 has been the norm ever since I started playing in the 7th grade (this would be 1996, unless I'm too tired to do math properly - I'm a college junior, so there you go). Also, note that the WV economy is properly decently comparable to Arkansas and Mississippi, two states that regularly charge about $30 to $40 per team to the best of my knowledge from just viewing this board.

So, my point is - if hypothetically it was well received by the WV quiz bowl coaches, would a price increase be more benefitial or harmful to the circuit? What would be some reasons for and against an increase? Help would be greatly appreciated.
Fred Morlan
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hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

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ASimPerson
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Post by ASimPerson »

Well, if no one else in your state runs NAQT tournaments, explain to your coaches that you're not making any money off your tournaments and that you feel justified in charging rates that comparable to what other states charge (in Alabama it was was $40-$50 usually). Remind them that one of the main reasons anyone has tournaments at all is to raise money and that since your tournament is also probably providing superior questions (I don't know what WV questions are like, but I'm assuming they're not as good as the average HS NAQT set) you should be able to charge more.

And, like I said, remind them that $25 is intensely cheap and vastly out of line with that is considered the norm even in places like Alabama.
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David Riley
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Post by David Riley »

In Illinois, $50-$55 is the norm with even higher tournament fees for some NAQT tournaments. Even then, after buying questions, paying moderators, etc., some of us barely break even at certain tournaments. Personally, I would charge what the "market" will allow--you will always have some coaches who will balk at paying a fee of any kind, and others who appreciate the work and expense that goes into running a quality tournament.

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Post by solonqb »

We just went to Parkersburg for a tournament (this one was using NAQT questions), and my coach and I were wondering about the same subject. How on earth could the TD break even on charging $25 a team and giving free donuts and milk to boot?

We charge $50-$70 in Ohio, normally.
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Dan Greenstein
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Post by Dan Greenstein »

I am not familiar with the West Virginia circuit, but I think you can raise your fee to at least $40 without major complaints, i.e., teams boycotting your tournament. When coaches issue minor complaints, be up front with them. Explain that these tournaments are fundraisers and that, besides paying for the questions, you use the revenues to attend college tournaments and take care of other expenses, and that $25 per head is not enough these days to grow your program. Do make sure you offer discounts for buzzers and guest moderators, and providing breakfast is a nice touch. Make sure you provide both milk and orange juice, generally in a 1:4 ratio, as more people are lactose intolerant than fructose intolerant.

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Post by rchschem »

I wonder about this too, when I see poorly run tournaments using error-ridden questions read by bad readers charging (on the order of) $75 per team. Some of these prices have become ridiculous. I know it's whatever the market will bear, and I still pay these exorbitant fees because I want my players to get the chance to pay. But it will be a cold day in Hell when I charge more than $50 a team (BEFORE buzzer discounts).

I know teams need to make money, but wouldn't it be great if a system could be devised where teams give credits--you know, I'll-come-to-yours-if-you-come-to-mine, and then no one would have to charge a fee? In a pretty world of cake and ice cream that might work.

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AKKOLADE
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Post by AKKOLADE »

Just to respond to a few things:
ASimPerson wrote:Well, if no one else in your state runs NAQT tournaments..
See, other teams DO use NAQT questions for their tourneys. I held one last year and ended up losing about $100, so I really wonder how other teams can manage to make money off them.

Unfortunately, there are a large number of teams that complain about pyramidal questions. While I do agree that they can tend to get old after awhile (doing a round of College Bowl every once in awhile is a good change of pace in my team's practices, in my opinion), I really do believe they are superior overall, hence my using pyramidal ones for every tournament we hold.
solonqb wrote:We just went to Parkersburg for a tournament (this one was using NAQT questions), and my coach and I were wondering about the same subject. How on earth could the TD break even on charging $25 a team and giving free donuts and milk to boot?
Good question. At Wesleyan, the donuts and milk are supplied by the school; and yes, Dan, we do supply orange juice and coffee for the lactose intolerant amongst us :P

But serously, beyond that, I fail to see how it's fiscally responsible for anyone to keep doing $25 tourneys. Actually, I rescind that - when teams only compete in state, and the tournaments are constantly $25, then you can afford it for the most part when you host a tournament AND have your kids pay to play - which is what some teams do.
rchschem wrote:I know teams need to make money, but wouldn't it be great if a system could be devised where teams give credits--you know, I'll-come-to-yours-if-you-come-to-mine, and then no one would have to charge a fee? In a pretty world of cake and ice cream that might work.
It would be great, but quite improbable and implausable. But materials for tourneys, such as trophies, food, questions, paper, etc. cost money, and some level of reimbursement should be made to the organizations. Hence the charges. For this plan to be done, America would have to become completely socialistic, and that's something completely off topic.

So, I'm currently considering going with approximately $40 with $5 off per buzzer set, with a limit of two discounts. We'll see how this will fly in state; I'm not exactly holding my breath for it to go smoothly, but at this point in time I think that after multiple attempts to raise discussion about the fact how low the costs are for West Virginia quiz bowl tounnaments, some form of action needs to be done. Hopefully I'll get some success for it; we'll see.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

a quiz bowl coach
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Post by a quiz bowl coach »

I don't mind paying $60+ per team for a tournament (the usual price here in Georgia.) What I DO mind is the trend now by some people running tournaments to only hold 4 or 5 preliminary rounds. We just competed in a tournament where there were 5 preliminary rounds, one of which was a bye for each team. Until the last two years or so, I never attended a tournament in which any team played less than 6 preliminary rounds. I feel like teams are getting RIPPED OFF! All teams that pay $60 should get a certain amount of play, whether or not they make the play-offs.

I also feel cheated that by having less preliminary rounds, teams that pay to enter get less rounds of questions (since playoff round questions are never included in the entry fee.)

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Post by mhanna »

I also feel cheated that by having less preliminary rounds, teams that pay to enter get less rounds of questions (since playoff round questions are never included in the entry fee.)
Aiken made afternoon round questions available. We have even e-mailed questions from previous tournaments to teams that ask for them and on occasion, if we had them, gave out copies of previous years tournaments at the competition. Also, up to 16 teams advanced in each of our divisions giving most everyone at least six matches or a second chance if they happened to be in a tough bracket in the morning.

But, alas, all things do come to an end. After not having enough teams to make a diverse field with the format we have always played, our tournament didn't make. There are more tournaments now and with travel expenses up, and more choices about where to play, some tournaments will not survive. We, unfortunately are one of them.

Mac Hanna
Aiken

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