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  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    Quote from Smmenen
    And that's fine, but my response is: let's let the market work that out. Theory suggests that competition is better for consumers. While it might actually be the case that PTQ TOs price near or at where a competitive market does, there are good reasons, or at least some evidence/reasons, to think tha they don't. Moreover, all of the benefits of market competition would acrue under such a system, benefits that can't even be spelled out here.

    And I'm saying that the risks of changing to such a system would be bad for Magic in the short term, potentially so much so that it could cause severe harm and setbacks. In the long run, it all evens out, but in the long run, we (and more importantly, possibly magic) are all dead.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model

    TO's are maximizing acceptable prize allocations as outlined in my actual cost outline, based on real and actual business costs. There is little margin for error, and adding even 1 additional pack per player would result in an additional $2850 in costs (using my example, 150 (players) * 9 (events) =1350 packs /36 (packs per box) =37.5 boxes * 76 = 2850. This would drop their profit margin to far slimmer levels than most any business believes to be acceptable.

    Therefore, TO's are not gouging the players, but providing them with prizes as possible without exposing themselves to undue risk.

    So, while increased prize support MAY increase attendance, it doesn't do so in a manner that is neither a) capable of being supported given current operating parameters, nor b) necessarily guaranteed to improve any of the attributes you seek to improve.

    Furthermore, as I stated previously, the risks appear to be far more grave than the minimal to nonexistent reward.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    Quote from BenBleiweiss

    I still think you are missing some primary costs here.

    In both your and Steve's examples, there seems to be the assumption that all judges and staff members should starve during a 12-14 hour event, and that all judges and staff members should sleep in their cars both the day before and the day after an event, if there is travel time to/from the venue.

    - Ben Bleiweiss

    You needy TO's and judges, always wanting rest and nourishment. Obviously, you must barter your box of product for Slim Jims and a refrigerator box.

    I was going off the Sroog-ian notion that travel to and from could possibly be done same-day, and that food wouldn't be comped. A reasonable human being would include those, but since we're trying to paint TO's a heartless, soulless robots... (that's a joke, before Smennen gets all ad hominem-y on me. You can include jokes and not be trolling, you know.)

    Thanks for the additional input, Ben. Many judges may be local, but not always. Especially out west, I have known judges from Seattle HJing in SLC. (Not a day trip) And food, of course, is usually a causal function to good judging.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    I'm going to try to outlay a reasonable estimation of costs for running a PTQ, and in doing show so some differences between Smennen's assumptions and reality. Likely, it will have no effect, but it's a slow morning at work, so here goes.

    (Disclosure: I operate a VERY small game stroe in my hometown. we are open two nights a week. Thus, some of my costs are perfectly accurate)

    From the Top! (apologies to GerryT)

    1. Every constructed PTQ I have gone to is $25, while every sealed has been $30.

    2. Cost of Product is inaccurate. Unless you are buying ridiculous volume, (>$25,000 per quarter) you generally pay about 53% of retail, or $76.12 per box. We'll round down, even though the distributor won't. ; )

    3. Attendance is rarely 200. As pointed out previously, only a handful hit 200 or more. I don't have an actual average attendance number (If someone does, awesome) but closer to 150 seems correct. yes, this varies based on season and area, but I feel is certainly more accurate than 200.

    4. Missing overhead costs. Taxes, business licensing, equipment, etc. Some states require sales Tax be paid on events and services, some don't. You are required to have a business license in order to purchase from distributors. Costs on that vary widely based on location. We'll tackle more specifics later.

    So, let's run some numbers for a PTO running 9 PTQs a year (3 per season)

    Revenue: Event 1, constructed, 3750 in revenue, x3 = 11250 for season 1.
    Event 2, also Constructed, same.
    Event 3, sealed, 4500 revenue , 13500 for the season. Total revenue for the year: $36,000

    Product required for non-prize use (compensation, sealed product, etc.)
    4 staff per event seems acceptable, except sealed, where you'll probably want 5. Total 12+ 12+ 15= 39. for 150 players, you need 25 boxes per sealed event. That's 75 boxes for the season.

    114 boxes *76 = 8664 in non-prize product required.

    Location costs
    You assign $1000 here, which seems fair.

    cost $9000

    Equipment: I'm assuming most of these TO's run these out of a home office, and are not renting an office suite. Nonetheless, they probably have real jobs, and I wouldn't want the product left on my doorstep all day while I'm working. Personally, my store uses a UPS box for shipping, as it's secure and they will hold the shipment for a few days if I get behind. It runs $120 for a year. A new laptop every year, which seems feasible to continue to run tournaments, is about $1000, as a ballpark. Similarly, a new Printer $100 a year. Gas is varied, if you live out east it's probably less, the west, more. We'll assume it's minimal ($5) for one of the three, and more ($50) for the other 2. Assume 2 of the 3 are $10 parking, the third free. Throw in an oil change (since we're driving close to 3000 miles for the year just in events) at $30, and our travel costs are $125 per season, $375 + 25 = $400 in travel costs per year. Ink, pens, tape, paper, and other costs are probably pretty reasonable, let's assume $50 per event average. It could be lower for constructed, higher for sealed, but I'm comfortable with this average. $450 in misc. The last cost would be a business license, and to be honest, I have no clue. Living in a small town, and having no actual employees, I don't have to do anything but register. Other locales may be drastically different. Additionally, sales tax could be an issue. I know Nebraska charges a 5% tax on services. Oregon, on the other hand, has no sales tax. Another mystery. Total Miscellaneous $2070

    So, we have revenue of $36,000, and costs (with no prizes) of $19,734, not counting potential licensing and tax costs.

    Smennen seems to believe 3 packs per player in prizes is pretty standard math, as illustrated in the OP. That's 450 packs per event, or 12.5 boxes. Round that up to 13, and we have 117 more boxes, which is another $8,892 for prizes. Meaning, that for a year of normal, current prizes, we have total revenue of $36,000 and costs estimated at $28,626, leaving a profit of $7,374 per year, not including taxes and licensing. That's approximately $819 per event, and given the expected 25+ hours of work expected for each event (arrangements, travel, the actual event, etc.) means a wage of somewhere in the area of $30+ per hour.

    This may seem like a very nice wage, but the TO's are also taking very large risks. One terrible turnout could easily decimate a years worth of profits. Snowstorm in Denver, turnout is now 83 for sealed. That's over $2000 in revenue lost. I could envision a bad format ruining an entire season. Considering that TO's are placing a lot of money into it up front, they certainly deserve a decent profit for the year. It's certainly a far cry from the massive profits Smennen is envisioning.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    Steve- (can I call you Steve? Meh, I will)

    You seem to be laboring under the notion that players leave the game based on poor PTQ prize structures, and that changing this structure will lessen the amount of players leaving the game. While both are undoubtedly true (if only because there is an extremely likely chance that one guy, somewhere, quit Magic based on this) it does not appear that this is a major, or even minor, reason why players leave Magic. I would contend that the number of players leaving Magic based on PTQ prizes is insignificant, compared to the number of players leaving and entering for other reasons. Therefore, the Risk/reward is extremely weighted against reform.

    Regarding your response to Riki, yes, it will eventually work its way out to a better market, assuming the game survives the transition. Chances the game will survive the time in-between? Wizards of the Coast will not accept any answer other than 100%. Can you guarantee that number?
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    And what's the risk/reward scenario of de-monopolizing the PTQ system. If it works, it makes the sytem better in a non-zero, but certainly not massively improved, form. it is a minimal to possibly moderate gain.

    If it fails (e.g., a good TO gets undercut by a terrible one, which then causes a significant setback in Competitive Magic in that area) Wizards of the Coast is significantly impacted. I see there being far more risk than reward to this system.

    Riki Hayashi also chimed in, pointing out the (often painful) learning curve of running large events. Even in a best case scenario, we're taking steps backward to possibly take steps forward. more reasonably, we probably end up very close to where we were while having suffered painful transition periods.

    Additionally, what are the criteria for potentially being a PTQ host? Where do you set the bar? Set the standards too high, and you're just marginally widening the monopoly while not actually opening up competition. Set them too low, and you see devastating results. I would even contend that these overlap, and that there is no actual amount of potential TOs you can add that both helps competition and does not expose significant risk.

    Finally, I still don't see how this is a needed change. Magic is thriving, and players are still engaging in voluntary transactions. Some choose to attend, others choose not to. Many of them seem, if not satisfied, at least not dissatisfied. You seem to want to increase PTQ attendance for its own sake.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    Quote from Smmenen

    My call is to get wizards to create greater competition between TOs for PTQs, not for Wizards to demonopolize. I'm not sure why you think I would be asking WOTC to demonopolize it's trademarked product.

    We're talking about PTQs, why would you assume a non-sequitir to the de-monopolization of the entire product? I'm referring to de-monopolizing the PTQ assignments. As it is, they are a monopoly for a region.

    So, you do want Wizards of the Coast to de-monopolize the PTQ system. Please address the reasons I provided why this would not work, specifically

    The ability to award invitations to the Pro Tour must be closely controlled and regulated, thus a Monopoly. Take Boise, ID. There should not be more than one invitation per season coming out of that "area" (and some might argue less than that)

    Finally, to address your thoughts on players, players are entering into a voluntary transaction with the PTO.

    Your argument boils down to "The TOs could make less money and make more people happy!" Yes, and Sears could cut the price of lawnmowers so that more people could get a new one, but they would MAKE LESS MONEY, which is not the goal of businesses.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    Quote from Tom Martell
    This story as a 1 act play.

    On a SCG forum far far away....

    You: TOs are GREEDY and BAD PEOPLE.
    Us: Why?
    You: They make too much money! They should give us more prizes!
    Us: Why?
    You: We need more players in PTQs or the game will die! More prizes = more players = yay magic!
    Us: That does not logically follow from any set of facts you've identified or assumptions we've agreed to.
    You: I have a degree in economics! What do you have?
    Me: Snap Call. Sup?
    You: You are a BAD PERSON and MEAN.
    Everyone: That was so funny!
    You: The community sucks! What jerks!

    [100 Tweets later, scene change to mtgsalvation]

    You: TOs are GREEDY and BAD PEOPLE

    Great, now I have to explain why I'm laughing during the discussion of Aristotle and Plato.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    I kept looking for the like button on that post, Tom.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Revamping the PTQ Delivery Model
    Perhaps I don't have enough understanding as you, Smennen, but why would a business willingly lower profitability?

    If your call is to Wizards of the Coast to de-monopolize, then your argument is absurd. The ability to award invitations to the Pro Tour must be closely controlled and regulated, thus a Monopoly. Take Boise, ID. There should not be more than one invitation per season coming out of that "area" (and some might argue less than that)

    So, then, who is your call to action to? Players? If they truly felt gouged, they wouldn't attend. shockingly, they still have the ability to not attend events. No one is forcing them to go to the PTQ's. Players are making decisions on their own, with no guns held to their head. I know plenty of players who believe it is too expensive to attend, and thus don't.

    Also, your pricing model assumes a sealed PTQ (that's the only $30 ones I've ever attended, and thus I assume your model based on said facts) yet you don't factor in the cost of the sealed product.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on [Compiled] Upcoming Promo Information
    Whoops, I meant May. Guess someone's a little excited for Summer.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [Compiled] Upcoming Promo Information
    The June FNM promo is cloudpost. I have a pic, but can't upload from my Droid.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Priceless Treasures in ZEN packs??!
    Quote from Annorax
    Factory? Not Workshop?

    No, my bad, it was Workshop. I just love Factory so much, I apparently Freudian Slipped it into the post.
    Posted in: News
  • posted a message on Rob Alexander artist proof binder stolen at GP Paris
    As a person who has done volunteer work for WotC, they have on occasion had staff members on hand to assist/help artists. I know both US Nationals 08 (Chicago) and PAX 08 had them, but one was WotC staff, and the other was an extra volunteer who wasn't as experienced as we had hoped.

    I imagine that it's feasible, however often they bring along a spouse or helper for this exact reason (Not to mention, couples vacation is always nice.)
    Posted in: News
  • posted a message on Priceless Treasures in ZEN packs??!
    I hit a Mishra's Factory in a draft last Sunday.

    As for WotC acknowledging it, from what i understand, acknowledging it may require certain legal duties (like release of odds, similar to gambling and chase cards in sports packs) Either way, they're silent. I don't think it would have made a difference if MaRo put it in his article for random kids not knowing. If you read anything online, you know by now.
    Posted in: News
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