It is sort of a dilemma: You’ve got costs that needs to be covered but you also want a big pool of prize money. And the entry fee should not be too high. What to do?
You can break it down into two options:
- Include prize money in the entry fee and pay a single entry fee
- Exclude the prize money from the entry fee and charge the participants for every tournament they want to participate in.
One fee for all
The first option is quite popular in regular LAN parties with a bunch of sponsors. It is like a theme park. One big entry fee to get in – but then you can use every attraction you want, for as many times as you can until the park closes. This is very convinient for your visitors but the financial risk is bigger for you. Especially if you announce the prizes of the tournament in advance.
You usually need to calculate a minimum number of registrations that are needed to cover your expenses. If you do not reach that number, you need to cancel the event. Well, unless you want to pay the difference with your own money. But cancelling an event is never fun. The guys that are already looking forward to the event are disappointed and you may need to pay a partial fee to the venue’s owner depending on the contractual terms.
Entry fee and Buy-In
The second option is a lot easier to deal with when you do not know how many people will decide to participate. Especially if you do not plan to sell food and/or drinks. And it is quite common for smaller Fighting Game torunaments in Switzerland.
Assume a slightly pessimistic number of guests. Then add all the costs you have for the venue, the internet connection, staff and crew members (in case they do not volunteer), electricity, ads, posters and all that stuff and divide them by the number of guests. You may want to round up or down a bit to get a nice even number.
That was the first part, now the second one: Define a buy-in for every tournament. If someone wants to take part in a tournament he or she has to pay that buy-in additionaly to the entry fee. That buy-in should go straight to the prize pool of that tournament. Please refrain from removing money from the pool to cover expenses that should already have been covered by the entry fee.
Important: Please make sure that it is clear from the beginning that there is an entry fee AND a buy-in for every tournament.